The perfect family babysitter. Their names and identities are protected like people in the witness protection program because we don’t want our neighbor to “steal” them. If we could, we’d officially draft them onto our “team” with non-compete clauses. When they leave us, we take months and maybe even years to recover from the breakup.
But if you’ve moved to a new area, don’t know anyone and have no family around, how do you go about finding someone to entrust with the lives and well being of your children?
Carefully and thoughtfully. Below are some suggestions to help you find the perfect fit for your family.
1. Utilize the services of a reputable babysitting website.
Websites like care.com and sittercity.com help you find reputable caretakers. Each site provides you with profiles, pictures, reviews, pay rate and background checks on individuals in your area. If you are in a new area where you know no one, this is an excellent fee-based resource to find a trustworthy sitter as you begin your quest to find an additional member of your family.
2. Check your neighborhood newsletter.
Many neighborhoods have newsletters or websites that help neighbors connect with each other. Many times neighborhood teenagers (who are Red Cross certified) are seeking employment as babysitters for nights, weekends or summers … when moms need them most! This is a great way to connect with your surrounding community and create ties with those closest to you.
3. Consider your church nursery and preschool teachers.
If you child attends preschool or the church’s nursery during services, many of these individuals will be willing to work hours outside of those venues and work privately for families. Often they have already established trusting relationships with your children so it would be natural to nurture that relationship.
4. Look into the child development programs at your local college or university.
In the Midlands, we are lucky to have two post-secondary institutions that educate and train professionals to work in child development. Professors at Midlands Tech or USC may have contacts with students who need to gain experience working with children. These students have access to the latest theories and techniques on early childhood development.
You found the perfect sitter. Now what?
When you find potential babysitters, make sure you conduct reference checks, an interview and “dry-run” with your kids. Once you’ve vetted your potential babysitter, your maternal instinct and your kids’ reactions will tell you when you have found the perfect match.
When you do find that additional member of your family, cultivate that relationship because the bond between your children and a babysitter can become such a wonderful support for your family.
I recently had the opportunity to represent the Columbia SC Moms Blog and talk in more detail on finding the perfect sitter with WACH Fox 57. Here are additional things to look during the process.