As parents, our children are one of our life’s greatest blessings. When I first became a mom, I couldn’t even think of leaving my precious baby with a babysitter – much less a stranger! I quickly realized, like most every parent does, that finding a babysitter would be essential to creating balance in my home. But, what is the best way to go about finding (and keeping) great babysitters? Here are some ideas to help:
- Ask around. This has been my greatest source of information as a mom – my friends! Getting babysitter referrals from friends, neighbors, or co-workers is an excellent way to find a great sitter. Your friends won’t recommend someone unless they’ve had a positive experience with them as well.
- Call a babysitter service. Yes, there are services that find babysitters for you! Most can be booked with an online form or a phone call, and many are available last-minute. When you contact a service, they’ll have dozens of vetted babysitters to choose from. Usually you can also request the same babysitter again the next time, so you can develop a relationship with them.
When trying a new babysitter for the first time, we have discovered some tricks to make the job go more smoothly. First of all, have any instructions written down so that the sitter can reference them. Make sure to leave a phone number where you can be reached, as well as your preference for communication (text or call). If the child has allergies or special needs, it’s great to outline those as well. Have clear directions for what the children should eat while you’re away, and have your address written down in case of an emergency. Finally, you’ll want to make sure the babysitter knows the routine or schedule that the children usually follow.
Once you’ve found a great babysitter (or a few!), what are some things you can do to encourage a long-term relationship with your family? Appreciation goes a very long way! Make sure to respect your babysitter’s time by arriving home when you agreed to and communicating if you’re running late. Always set clear expectations, and don’t expect a mind reader. Communication is key, and more is always better! Tipping is never a bad idea, especially if the babysitter goes above and beyond.
It’s always a good idea to find a babysitter before you actually need one. Especially during the holiday season, schedules will fill up fast. You may want to try the babysitter out once or multiple times, before booking for an important date or event. This will help your children get familiar with the babysitter, and it will help you feel more comfortable leaving them. When an emergency or last-minute invitation comes up, you will be so thankful that you already have someone (or several) to call!
Are you new to town, or still don’t know where to start? We can help! Austin’s Best Babysitters is one of the oldest babysitter services in town, and we’ve been helping match clients with sitters since 1986. Give us a call at 512-345-4577 or visit us online at www.bestbabysitters.com. We do all the work (interviews, reference checks, and background checks), so you don’t have to!