Finding the right babysitter

So you want to find a babysitter?

For many parents, the idea of finding the right babysitter can present mixed emotions. On the one hand, the idea of a day or evening out without the children can seem exciting, yet on the other hand, the idea of leaving your precious little people in the hands of someone you don’t know can be a very unnerving thought.

The good news is that with an online search facility such as that offered by Childcare.co.uk, you can rest assured that you’ll not have much trouble in finding a babysitter, you’re more likely to have trouble deciding who to choose from the large selection of babysitters available.

It can be a good idea to select a small number of local babysitters to interview and use, that way, if one is booked you’re more likely to have a couple of back-up options. There is currently no law that states the minimum age at which a child care be left alone. The NSPCC advise against leaving any child under 13 years old, unsupervised. Many parents are comforted by the fact that their child or teen is being cared for in their absence rather than being left home alone. Babysitters provide an affordable alternative to other childcare services.

What makes a good babysitter?

A good babysitter shouldn’t be hard to find. If you start out with a list of prerequisites, you will have already narrowed down the search to those who would be potentially good babysitters for your children.

It would be wise to choose a babysitter over the age of 16 and if you have very young children, an older more experience babysitter would be more suitable. Currently, there are no regulations or requirements that apply to those working as babysitters. They are not required to register with OFSTED, nor do they need to hold a current DBS check however, hiring a babysitter who does not hold a recent DBS check is not recommended.

It is important to carry out full checks on those applying to babysit your children. You should apply the same criteria you would apply if you were hiring a nanny or using a childminder. Reference checks, DBS checks, proof of identity, first aid trained and ideally some level of children experience or qualifications would be expected.

Find out more about Checks and References

You should draw up a list of ground-rules that you would expect your babysitter to abide by while in your home and caring for your children.

You may wish to consider some of the following when looking to hire the right babysitter:

• How old are your children and is the applicant responsible enough to care for them during your absence?

• Be specific when deciding what qualities you’re looking for and don’t hire someone because they’re the first you interview, take your time to find the right babysitter(s).

• Ask for at least two references, follow these up and ask as many questions as you need to in order to make a sound decision.

• Invite your babysitter(s) over prior to the first booking, introduce them to your children and all everyone the chance to meet and be comfortable in each other’s company.

• It is a good idea to hire a babysitter who has paediatric first aid training, additional childcare qualifications are also a bonus

• Ensure that in an emergency, your babysitter knows how to reach you and who to call for example: 999, alternative contacts etc...

• If your child or children have allergies or special conditions, it is important that your babysitter is informed and is happy to care for your children on that basis.

• Be specific when laying the ground rules for your babysitter, if you would prefer that they don’t smoke, then say so and ensure that your babysitter does not invite anyone else into your home while you are not there.

• Make sure that you provide refreshments and that your babysitter knows their way around your home.

• Leave your contact number and details of where you will be in case of an emergency.

• Do your best to return as near to the stated time as possible.

• Ensure that you have researched local babysitting rates in your area, they do vary and it is important that once you have a good babysitter, you don’t lose them if you’re paying too little.

• If your babysitter drives to get to you, consider offering a token payment towards their travel costs, which can mean the difference between you getting your favourite babysitter the next time you need the service.

• Always consider your gut feeling, if you or your child are not happy, don’t use that particular babysitter.

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