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Thursday, October 05, 2006


I've only babysat for friends, or when I was younger, my parents friends.

I think if you're hiring someone young CPR and First Aid, plus one of those nifty babysitting courses might be good.

I would think you could interveiw them and ask around for sitters, the same way you do any service....

Plus, I wouldn't let that website scare you too much. It's the same mindset as constant "stranger danger" warnings or a 13 week run of "To Catch a Predator" -- fear sells, unfortunately. Now granted, I say this without having had to brave the treacherous babysitting waters yet, since my family all lives in town and they fight over who gets to watch Justin. But still, I think using common sense and doing your homework is the best that you can do. Ask parents at preschool or the playground who they use. You probably know all that stuff anyhow though, I'm sure. Best of luck!

My own opinion on this - college students, or mature high school students are your best bet. Often they're people who are interested in working with kids, motivated, and intelligent. I'm very wary of adults who babysit, sadly. I have a friend who lives in the chicago area, who was looking for a sitter, and happens to work in a hospital. She looked up the medical records of her potential sitters (yes, ethically questionable, but...), and found *most* of them had histories of drug abuse/ or mental illness. It often seems like adults in the business are there because they can't get stable/real jobs. I really hate to generalize and think that way, but when it's your kid, fairness doesn't really matter anymore.

Hmmm just food for thought:

You could secretly monitor them on cameras for a 2-3 days to see what they really up to? *Shrug* I wouldn't want a babysitter who sits on the couch with the TV on while the kids are running around wild.

You know, this may sound odd but...

As a Girl Scout were were trained to work with younger kids. Games, songs, activities, crafts, etc. Not just babysitting, but counsler type responsibilities. At from 14-21 I was helping with or leading groups of girls (4 to 30 girls at a time - with proper ratio, of course.)

Maybe you could find someone with that training. Check you're local girl scout counsel even. they can direct you to girls who have had babysitter training (which most councils offer) and some with more exstensive counseling training.

we used people who friends of ours knew or had already used. we never had a problem. good luck!

I second the mature high school/college student rec. Call your local university's student services center. They probably have a list of students who are interested in babysitting. I know our college does. They've already identified that they want to work with children (often they miss their siblings) and are generally fun with the kids.

Girl Scouts are another great recommendation.

So it sounds like high/school college kids with a Girl Scout background are winning ... except the ones who live next door to us.

Have you tried Craig's List? Might help, couldn't hurt...

Hmmm, that seems to be a risky choice.

Who in their right mind suggest Craigs List? DANGER DANGER DANGER!

I agree. I might find a job on Craig's list, but not a nanny or babysitter.

I am a professional nanny and thought I could help you out on this issue.

To find the right person, first and foremost, trust your gut instincts. If they don't feel right, whether you're wrong about them or not, you will never really like them, and if someone is spending alot of time with your children, then more then likely you want them to be like a part of your family, and they can't very well be that if you don't even like them.

Next is that you require a 3 reference minimum for the nanny/babysitter. No matter how long they will be with your children, whether it's full time or just for a night out, you want to know that there are other people that can vouch for them that they are good with children. Previous employers are the best to ask for, but keep in mind that they probably won't give you references of people that they know will say bad things.

A backround check is the next thing. This way you know that the person you hire was not in jail for 3 years and they forgot to tell you. Be sure to let them know when interviewing that you are going to do a backround check if that's okay with them. If it's not okay, you know that's not a good sign.

The best babysitter/nannies, are the ones with alot of experience. Now I'm not saying that there aren't bad ones who have experience, but I'm sure you'd rather have someone who knows what they are doing, and enjoy doing it. Experience let's you know this. So if they don't provide a resume, try and get them to list their previous childcare experience.

I'm not going to lie, it's very hard finding someone that you feel fit to care for your child as you would. But you will find your golden nanny, and you will probably know when you meet her that she is who you want. Hope I helped!

I also wanted to comment on the mention of Craigslist. As I mentioned, I am a professional nanny and a very good one I might add with plenty of great references. I work at a daycare and I was just hired to be a full time nanny for a great family. Guess where I found the job? Craigslist! I'm not saying that you won't find any weirdos emailing you, but they won't even have any of your information unless you provide it. Even your email address is confidential when they email you, until you write back and then they get your address. But I'm assuming you wouldn't write back unless you were interested. I have also found occasional babysitting jobs through craigslist. Go under childcare and you can either post your own ad, or respond to sitters that are in your area and fit what you are looking for. It's really not that bad!

Can we hire you, Liz? You sound great. I know, I know, you already have a gig.

Thanks for the advice. I will put it to use as soon as I can afford a nanny. ;--)

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