As a parent, it’s important to set aside time for you and your significant other. While quality time with your children is important for developing the bond between you, you can’t neglect the person you started it all with.
Unfortunately, 67% of couples indicate they experienced a decline in their relationship following the birth of their child. To avoid falling into this statistic, you need to take action that allows you to spend time with your partner.
However, you can’t leave your young children by themselves in the home. Hiring a babysitter is the classic solution that most families turn to. It’s important to make the right choice when selecting a babysitter, though, as this is a person who will spend a large amount of time with your child. Learn the ins and outs of choosing a babysitter that will make your child happy.
Why Are Babysitters Important?
When a child is in school, their only interaction with adults who aren’t family are with authoritarian figures. Babysitters are unique in that, they represent an adult figure who is more of a mentor, rather than a parent or teacher. It also teaches your child how to bond with another person beyond just family members.
Additionally, by leaving your child alone with a babysitter and then returning later, you can help them cultivate their independence. The simple act of leaving and then returning shows that you don’t always need to be attached at the hip to your child, which can help them start to develop on their own. With that said, there are benefits and drawbacks to hiring a babysitter that all parents should consider:
Pros of Hiring a Babysitter
- Parents can get a much-needed break from their children
- Your child will be exposed to a mentor-figure
- Babysitters can come to you instead of you needing to drop your kid off
- There is no real long-term commitment, though it’s probably better to have a babysitter for a long time
Cons of Hiring a Babysitter
- A person can sometimes over-rely on a babysitter rather than spending enough time with their child
- You may not actually know who the babysitter is
- The cost of hiring a babysitter in your home may be too much for you to afford
- A babysitter may not have the necessary experience to work with your child
For the most part, the pros of hiring a babysitter will outweigh the cons for most people. With that in mind, don’t sacrifice your relationship with your child by neglecting it once a babysitter is hired.
How to Find the Right Babysitter: 10 Tips to Follow
Taking steps to learn how to choose the right babysitter can be a challenge if you’ve never hired even considered a babysitter before. Fortunately, there are ten main tips any parent can follow as they start to research and interview potential sitters:
- Conduct interviews in person
It’s impossible to gain a true sense of who a person is if you’ve never met with them face-to-face. Don’t simply conduct Zoom interviews with potential babysitters. Instead, meet babysitters for interviews in a public place to see their mannerisms and how they act in public.
- Request references on the person
Even if the babysitter you’re interviewing was found through word-of-mouth, request references that they have to prove their abilities. However, do understand that some babysitters, such as teenagers, may not have extensive references to provide, in which case you either need to trust your gut or go with someone older.
- Perform a background check on the candidate
Always perform a background check on a potential babysitter, unless they are someone you have personally known for years. Background checks can give information on criminal history, convictions, and other helpful information you need to know before leaving a person with your child.
- Determine how many hours the babysitter can commit to
Think about how often you will need the babysitter’s services before you interview them. Some babysitters may not want a large amount of work, as they may only be looking to supplement their income. While this is perfectly acceptable, you may need a sitter who can dedicate additional time.
- Consider their experience and energy levels in conjunction with your child’s personality
Choosing a shy and reserved babysitter as a match for your overly energetic child may not be a good pairing. You always want to try and match up the personalities for a babysitter with that of your child to help improve the fit.
- Ask your friends, neighbors, or coworkers for recommendations
If you don’t know where to start at all, consider starting with those around you. Ask your friends or trusted neighbors if they use a babysitter and if that babysitter is looking for more work. This will help you build an immediate wall of trust with that person.
- Give them the chance to meet your child prior to actually starting
Before hiring a babysitter, consider setting up a meet-and-greet with your child so that the babysitter can determine if it seems like a good fit for their skills. Additionally, it will give you the opportunity to see how the babysitter interacts with your kid, and if it all seems natural.
- Work together to settle on the best hourly rate
Price is obviously a factor when choosing a sitter, so consider the tasks you will have the babysitter doing. If all they’re doing is sitting in your home watching the child, a lower rate may be justified. However, if you require them to have a car to drive your kid around, then a higher rate is certainly warranted.
Find a babysitter who can become a part of the family
In an ideal world, the babysitter you choose will be around your family for years to come, especially if you end up having more children. This is a factor that should be taken into account when selecting a sitter for your child.
This babysitter should be someone you know you can trust, whether through word-of-mouth or a background check, and whose personality fits that of your child.
By choosing a babysitter who can become a part of the family, you can ensure help is there when you need time to yourself.