Babysitting Services – Are They Better Than the Classifieds?
When you hire a babysitter, you are usually hiring a complete stranger to come into your home, have unsupervised access to all of your personal belongings, and be responsible for the lives of your children. Choosing a trustworthy babysitter is serious business and should not be taken lightly! You hope the sitter you choose is trustworthy and she’s not neglecting your children or going through your private things. But, how would you know? You probably would not know for sure unless you were using hidden cameras. But, you can do your best to prevent unscrupulous behavior by choosing your potential sitter carefully.
You might feel comfortable hiring a particular girl just because you know her parents. Sometimes this works out, but sometimes it does not. Knowing her parents does not make the girl an experienced, trustworthy, and reliable babysitter. So who should you trust? How do you find someone you’re comfortable leaving in charge of your home and your children? Getting a referral from a trusted friend could be the answer, but if you can’t get any referrals, then you have to do the searching yourself.
Many times the newspaper’s classified section will list a few babysitters available in your town or neighboring towns. It will probably list a first name and a telephone number. It may also have a sentence or two about the sitter and why she is available, such as “college student on summer break,” or “retired teacher available after school and weekends.” Then you need to contact her for additional information.
A great place to look for a reliable babysitter is on the internet at an online babysitting service or nanny agency. Online babysitting services and nanny agencies offer benefits that newspaper classifieds cannot match. For instance:
oOnline babysitting services usually provide photographs of potential sitters. While it is true “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” people do like to see a face when searching for a child care provider.
oA short autobiography of each babysitter is usually posted with the photo. This will give you some background information and an idea of the sitter’s age and experience level.
oSome babysitting services and nanny agencies have pre-screened their babysitters and have made background checks available for members to review. If a background check is not available, most agencies offer a service that will do a background check for you for very little money.
oMany online babysitting services will also show each sitters rate of pay and possibly his or her availability as well.
oSome even have comments and referrals by other parents posted on the babysitter’s profile.
When you find a potential babysitter and are ready to interview her, consider your needs, and then jot down a list of questions. You should be sure she has had experience with kids in your children’s age group. Also be sure she is available the days and times you are most likely to need her. If you have found your potential babysitter through an online babysitting service or nanny agency, then most of your questions may already be answered for you. But keep in mind that you should always ask for references and check them yourself!
Once you have found the perfect sitter for your family, find another one as a back-up! You should try to have two or three that you can call in case one cancels at the last minute. Babysitting services and nanny agencies usually have many available babysitters and nannies to choose from. When searching for a babysitter or nanny, keep your standards high – your children are worth it!