Whether it’s occasional or last minute, if you are going to leave your children with a friend, family member, or neighbor, make sure he or she is reliable and responsible. Your child is in a safe environment. Trust? Of course. But verify too. When it comes to the safety and security of your loved ones, it’s just a smart thing to do.
WHERE TO FIND A BABYSITTER
1. Ask Your Friends
Word-of-mouth referrals are often best. Do your friends have a babysitter they love and would recommend? This is the easiest method to find a babysitter because your friends can vouch for the sitter.
Of course, just because someone recommends a sitter to you doesn’t mean they’re the right one for your family. The International Nanny Association recommends that a background check should be completed on all caregivers who are with a child of any age for any length of time.
2. Advertise in a College Paper or College Online Job Sites
Many students are looking for flexible, part-time jobs, so a college paper (or online) that will get you in front of the eyes of thousands of college students is a good place to start. Another option is to advertise your job at the college employment office for students.
3. Search at a Local Nonprofit Agency
Larger cities and suburbs may have local, nonprofit agencies that will help you find a sitter. They often can give you information both about individual sitters and people who offer daycare out of their home.
4. Try an Online Service
One site I have found to be particularly useful is SittingAround.com. This babysitting website aims at both the expense and stress of finding a reliable babysitter by rethinking the whole enterprise. When you create a profile on SittingAround.com, you’re then able to join “co-ops” of parents in your neighborhood who exchange sitting for sitting rather than for cash. Aside from the savings, you get to embrace the whole “it takes a village thing” and talk to your neighbors.
5. The Best of All? Free Babysitting By Friends, Family, and Neighbors. Just Make Sure It’s a Safe Environment
The bottom line, most people genuinely love kids. For a caretaker that is a friend, family, or neighbor, babysitting now and then may be very enjoyable to them and give you a well-earned break at the same time. BUT, unlike a “for hire” relationship, where the babysitter may be pre-screened and pre-background checked, in this “free” relationship, you may be in the dark to a person’s past, including about children.
Trust? Of course. But verify too. When it comes to the safety and security of your loved ones, it’s just the smart thing to do.
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