• How to Pick the Best Sitter for Your Child

    Posted on July 11, 2014 by Stephens Family Daycare in Crib Notes, Working Parents.

    This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sittercity.

    It’s tough to get out of the house once you have kids – finding the right sitter for your child can be a daunting, not to mention expensive, task. Sittercity makes this task easier by connecting families nationwide with caregivers who meet their unique needs, connecting a family and a caregiver every three seconds! In July, Sittercity is helping families ease the cost of finding a sitter by offering 30% off a three-month membership (just use code JULY30 when signing up). This offer is good through July 31, 2014.

    sittercity post
    We’ve partnered with Sittercity to bring you these tips on selectingthe best caregiver for your child:

    1. Start by screening potential candidates and reading parent reviews.
    When you receive applicants for a job or search local caregivers, closely review their experience, education, certifications, and hourly rate. Be sure to check out what other Sittercity parents have to say about past caregivers. Their insight about a caregiver’s performance and personality can help you decide if someone is a good fit for your family.

    2. Run Basic Background Checks.
    It is important to know that background checks are not automatically run on caregivers. So once you have a short list of candidates, we recommend you run a Basic Background Check on each one. This preliminary check will search county court records to see if their names appear. If a candidate does not pass this part of the screening process, we’ll remove them from the site for the safety of all Sittercity families.

    3. Interview candidates to identify your top picks.
    Once you’ve narrowed your search to three to five candidates, it’s time to conduct interviews. Not sure what to ask? Check out Sittercity’s Interview Questions Guide for every stage of the process. Start with a brief phone interview with candidates you’d like to get to know, then once you have narrowed down your candidate list, meet your final list of candidates face-to-face to ask more in-depth questions. Remember that it is always necessary to act with caution when communicating with anyone you do not know. We recommend when you connect with a potential caregiver, you communicate through the Sittercity website and don’t provide them with any personally identifiable information. For your initial in-person interviews, you should meet the caregivers at a coffee shop or other popular public place with other people around. Always provide your own transportation and tell someone in your family or a friend where you are going and when you will return. Also, don’t hesitate to stop communicating with anyone who pressures you for personal or financial information and notify member services immediately.

    4. Get kid approval.
    Even if you’re already leaning towards a particular candidate, be sure to introduce them to your children to see how everyone interacts. If things go well, your kids could help you identify the top candidates. And if a caregiver has trouble handling your kids while you’re around, she probably can’t handle them while you’re out.

    5. Verify your caregiver’s history and background.
    Reach out to the references listed on the caregiver’s profile to gain additional insight, and don’t hesitate to request more references. Be sure to verify the information your potential caregiver has given you is correct and ask questions about how she performed on the job. In addition, you should look for clues online because chances are your potential caregivers have several online profiles that can provide clues about their personality and hobbies. Search caregiver names online and check out social media activity to spot any red flags. Lastly, if you’ve only run Basic Background Checks on your short list of sitters, before selecting your final candidate you should run an Enhanced Background Check. If your caregiver will be driving your children, we recommend you run a Motor Vehicles Records Check as well. These checks can provide more information about a caregiver’s background to help make your final decision.

    6. Monitor the relationship to ensure its still a good fit.
    Once you’ve hired a caregiver, observe them on the job to ensure they’re meeting your expectations. When you get home, ask for a brief progress report on how the day went. It’s also a good idea to ask your kids how they’re enjoying their time with her; their reactions or feelings could reveal a lot about what’s happening when you’re not around.

    Here are some other potential ways to monitor your caregiver’s relationship with your child:

    1. Watch for caregiver warning signs such as lack or energy or enthusiasm
    2. Pay attention to changes in your children’s behavior
    3. Watch for child warning signs such as screaming when the caregiver arrives
    4. Check in frequently to monitor progress
    5. Ask your kids questions
    6. Ask a neighbor to keep an eye out
    7. Come home unannounced
    8. Install a nanny cam

    Leaving your child with a new caregiver can be tough; with these tips, you’ll feel more secure and confident that you’ve found the right fit for your family. In return, your caregiver will feel trusted and valued — a great start to a strong relationship with one of the most important people in your child’s life.

    We were selected for this sponsored post opportunity as a member of Mom’s Affiliate Network.

13 Responses so far.

  1. Erin says:

    I would love to find a good sitter. I have troubles because we have 9 kids.

    • Noa says:

      9 kids, that is amazing, go you! Definitely would make finding a sitter hard, probably easiest to go out after they have all gone to bed 🙂

  2. Anita says:

    Love this post. I haven’t needed a sitter yet but will def use these tips when its time to find one.

  3. Melanie says:

    These are definitely some helpful tips! I just wish sitters weren’t so expensive these days. The rates they expect are kind of ridiculous.

  4. The says:

    These are great tips!

  5. Hannah says:

    Not used a sitter before not sure if I could .x

  6. Bernadette says:

    I have never used a sitter and now my older kids, if need be, can stay home alone. I know it is very trying and can get very stressful when picking out someone to watch your kids. It is not something to take lightly at all.

    • Noa says:

      You are so lucky to have not had to use a sitter! We have our go to person right now but, with baby #2 on the way, I think we need to find someone to help out on a regular basis. Definitely not something to take lightly.

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