Working parents have a constant and recurring need to hire baby sitters. Even stay-at-home moms will also encounter instances where they will need to get the services of one. Before I became a full-time stay-at-home mother myself, I had considerable experience with baby sitters and not all of them were good. Knowing these, here are my suggestions to parents before they leave their child/children with a baby sitter.
Have the Baby Sitter Start While You are Available to Observe
Whenever applicable, it is always best for parents to have the chance to observe for themselves how the babysitter interacts with the child before leaving them entirely on their own. It can provide a gauge of whether the baby sitter can cope with the responsibility, although this is not entirely fool-proof. There is always the chance that a baby sitter is just being in her best behavior because of the presence of the parents. Some parents have taken an additional precautionary step of putting surveillance cameras especially in the room of the child.
Provide the Baby Sitter with All the Important Information
This part is very crucial. There are many types of information that baby sitters need to have before being left alone with a child. These include specific medical conditions of the child and corresponding actions to be done, contact information of parents especially in cases of emergency, proper handling of misbehaving child, and other special instructions. It would really be such an advantage if baby sitters have at least basic knowledge of first aid and safety practices at home.
Consider the Background of Baby Sitter
In the US, it is very common for 12-year-old girls to accept baby sitting jobs. Given the choice however, it makes more sense to choose those who have more experience in baby sitting especially if the child to be taken cared of is very young or has special needs. One thing to consider here is the capacity of the baby sitter to make sensible and responsible decisions in emergency situations. A trusted friend is the most ideal baby sitter but this option will not always be available. The next best option is to get recommendations from friends.
Older Children Issues
Many older children will insist that they do not need a baby sitter and can handle themselves alone at home. Parents are the best judge for this. There are situations which can make this acceptable while there are some that will make such unthinkable, no matter how insistent a child is to be left alone.