Today’s guest blogger is Platinumsitters! I asked our friends there to help us out with their 5 best tips for finding a new sitter for your child(ren). These are essential, do-not-skip, do-not-miss, do-these-or-else tips that really bring out the essence of any child care search. Thank you Platinumsitters for sharing your tips with us!
For any parent, the thought of hiring a new caregiver can be daunting. Whether it be long term care - during the day - so you can work or short term care - just a few hours - for date night, finding the right fit for your family is important. Below are five things to consider when looking for a new sitter:
Experience: This may seem obvious but look beyond just “previous childcare experience” and ask for specifics. Has the sitter worked with children the same age(s) as yours? Do they have experience with multiples? Are you asking them to perform tasks specific to your child’s needs (i.e. help with homework, dispense medication, etc.)
Background Check: It is so important to run a background check on your sitter. This is standard practice in both professional childcare settings and, in today’s world, for at-home sitters. At Platinumsitters, we utilize a service that checks national, state and local databases. In addition, we check the sex offender registry and driving records. A thorough background check will ensure you have peace of mind.
Reference Checks: Any reputable sitter should be able to provide you with a handful of professional references. Most people are happy to chat about their experience working with someone and are surprisingly forthcoming. This can be done via email or phone call and the extra time it takes to vet a sitter in this way is totally worth it.
Family Fit: Particularly for a long-term placement, but even for someone who will be coming for the occasional date night, personality is a big deal. Does this person have the same philosophy on play, food, and light housework as you? Hiring a sitter should make your life easier to address these things in the beginning so it is more likely that your expectations will be met. A quick interview is helpful but an in-person meeting where they can interact with your children is even better!
Pay: Lastly, it can be uncomfortable to discuss financial terms with someone new but be honest about what you can afford and are willing to pay a sitter. Remember that additional certifications like CPR and SIDS training will make a sitter more valuable. At PlatinumSitters, we charge based on the number of children but we also negotiate rates for parents for this reason--no one likes guessing game! Be honest and upfront about salary expectations so when you find a great sitter, you know they will want to stay.
As you pursue childcare for your child, remember that there are tons of resources available to you but ultimately, it’s about finding the best fit for your family. Finding someone you trust can give you peace of mind and enable you to utilize your child-free time to its best potential.
TAPS loves sharing local resources with families. For more information about how to find the right child care providers for your family, check out these online resources!