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How To Find, Pay, and Keep A Good Babysitter

Jim Garnett Jim Garnett is the CEO of AskMrG Consulting, a company focused on helping Americans gain control of their finances and get on a path to being debt free. Jim is also the "Mr. G" behind the AskMrG Financial Library and brings over 30 years experience as a counselor, speaker, and author to each endeavor. You can reach Jim at: AskMrG Consulting, 2216 SW 35th Street Ankeny, IA 50023; 515-577-1799, askmrg@yahoo.com

In an attempt to provide articles that are helpful, practical, and different, I want to share some information with you about a topic I have never written about heretofore – Babysitting.

Many who read my articles have children at home who occasionally require a sitter. So, here is some excellent advice about finding, paying, and keeping a good babysitter. The information I am sharing has been adapted from an article by Melissa Betai (see credits at end of article).

Where To Find A Babysitter

  1. Ask your friends and relatives. Recommendations from people you trust are usually the most reliable leads. Don’t be surprised, though, if this sitter is busy. Word travels fast about good sitters.
  2. Contact your local colleges, churches, high schools, or non-profits. They may have a “babysitter’s list” available, and good supply background information.
  3. Contact a local nanny agency (i.e., www.americanprofessionalnannies.com) or online childcare service (i.e., Care.com or Sittercity.com).

First Steps To Take With A Prospective Sitter

  1. Have a brief phone interview to get a general feel for the prospect and see if she sounds like a good fit for your family. Ask about her experience, family background, ages of children she normally watches, and if she is trained in CPR.
  2. Meet with her in person. Ask some hypothetical questions about circumstances that may occur to reveal her level of experience, methods of discipline, value system, and just plain common sense.
  3. Watch her interact with your children in your presence. At first you should join them, but after about 20 minutes see how she interacts with the kids independently.
  4. Ask for and contact references. Be sure to ask about their perspective of her abilities, attitudes, and availability, and possibly the average pay she received.
  5. Ask for CPR paperwork or any other certifications you deem important, and make sure they are up-to-date.

Tips to keeping a good sitter.

  1. Pay them well based on such things as experience, the number and age of kids they are watching, any special requirements she meets (like CPR certification or transporting your kids to piano lessons), your satisfaction level, your kids’ level of satisfaction, and the “going rate of pay” in your area.
  2. Try not to add a host of extra jobs such as cleaning, laundry, or other household chores unless these items were listed as part of the job description.
  3. Explain the ground rules from the very beginning about such things as friends dropping by, texting and talking on the phone, TV watching, music listened to, types of snacks that are off limits, etc. The sitter is not free to create her own atmosphere in your home, but instead is to be a continuation of the atmosphere you have already established.
  4. Supply a list of emergency numbers and post it so it easy to find.
  5. Be generous with praise and occasionally do “little things” to show how much she is appreciated like a gift card, movie passes, thank you card, or bonus pay. A good sitter will gravitate to those places where she is paid well, enjoys the kids, and is appreciated.

Final Thought

There is great value in knowing your children are safe, supervised, and satisfied while you are away from them.

A good sitter not only earns her pay, she is worth her pay.

Source: Melissa Batai is a former college instructor who recently quit her job to be a stay home mom with her three children ages 7, 2 and 1. She is a personal finance writer for several online publications, and she blogs at her own blog, Mom’s Plans, where she documents her family’s journey to live a fulfilling life on less and Dining Out Challenge, where the motto is, “Never pay full price to dine out again.” She enjoys cooking, writing, reading, and watching movies.

This entry was posted in Budgets, Helping Friends. Bookmark the permalink. Read more articles by Jim Garnett. (Also see articles by all authors and articles in all categories.)

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