You’re so excited! You’re finally going to have a night out with some friends. But your happiness ends as soon as you call up your regular trusted babysitter. She won’t be in town the night you want her to watch your kids. Now, you have to find a back-up babysitter, and fast!
How can you find a great babysitter in a pinch? It doesn’t have to be an impossible task. Here are 3 sure-fire ways to find a great babysitter and the advantages and disadvantages of each:
• Word of Mouth: One way to find a great babysitter is to ask around to see if your friends know any excellent childcare providers you could use. Personal referrals can be great for finding quality babysitters since your friends have had direct experience with the babysitter. Your friends may trust the babysitter completely, which can give you a lot of confidence and peace of mind.
However, it can be harder to take a reference from an acquaintance. You may not have as good an understanding of what they might value or expect in a babysitter. The bottom line is that any time you hire a babysitter based on the recommendation of a friend or acquaintance, you’re not sure what criteria they used to choose this caregiver. So, make sure you conduct a thorough interview and make your expectations clear if you hire a babysitter this way.
• Advertisements: Another option is to look for advertisements for babysitters who offer their services in your local area. You might find flyers at places like libraries, grocery stores, or community centers. These flyers should include a basic outline of the services the babysitter offers, how to contact them, and any certifications or credentials they hold.
It will take a bit more work (and time!) on your end to vet a babysitter this way, as you’ll probably want to hold an interview and call references. Also, if you go this route, you may consider comparing several candidates rather than going with the first advertisement you see.
• Use an Agency: When you need a babysitter fast, one of the best, most reliable ways to find a great caregiver is to use a nanny or babysitting agency. Look for local agencies that have good online reviews. In addition, you’ll want to make sure that all of the agency’s babysitters are screened. For example, a reputable agency performs background checks, requires certifications such as CPR, and ensures that babysitters have relevant experience. Many agencies go the extra mile and set up an interview so that you can meet your babysitter before deciding to hire them. With an agency, you save time having to screen babysitters yourself but still have peace of mind knowing that the caregiver is highly qualified and trustworthy.
Finding a new babysitter can be stressful, but once you find a great sitter, you can go back to making plans with confidence. You’ll be relieved to know that you can leave your children in the capable, caring hands of your babysitter while you enjoy some kid-free time, go to an important meeting, or run errands. Which method will you use to find a great babysitter?