Friday, July 5, 2013

Avoiding the Child Care Nightmare

As a working mom it can often be a nightmare finding a good babysitter.  Say good bye to all those images of Mary Poppins floating around in your head.   Even if you're looking for someone to provide child care for a night out, you really need to do your due diligence.  Of course,  you can never guarantee the person you hire will be a great fit but it sure helps reduce the chance of a bad fit.

Here are a few questions that you should ask when interviewing a person who will potentially be providing child care to your children.

1. Why do you want to care for my child/children, besides the obvious reason (you will learn a lot from the answers you receive).

2. Experience level:  how long has the person been looking after children?  In what type of environment (home, daycare) and what ages are they accustom to?  Some won't be able to handle the high energy of a toddler but can do very well with a baby or an older child.

3. What is your family like?  This can be a great way to tell if they are cut out for the job of babysitting your children.  Are they able to handle all that it entails.

4. What do you like to do with your spare time?  Find out if they are active, like the out doors, or rather stay in an watch TV or read.  The sedentary type may not fit well with busy kids.

5. Ask about their driving record, if they will be expected to drive.  You really want someone who has a clean driving record and responsible in charge.

6. Do you  have CPR/First aid?  Any job that entails looking after children should require both the CPR and first aid courses.  Accidents can happen too fast and this can mean the difference between saving or losing your child.

7.  If you have a pool or expect your children to be spending time around water with the babysitter, it would be expected she/he could swim.  Again, CPR and first aid are very important.

8.  Do you have references?  Make sure to get three references from former employers, school, or church.  Do call the references and ask questions.

Make sure your expectations are very clear and agreed upon before hiring your new child care provider.  A good provider will ask you many questions also.  Beware of the one that asks more about the salary and the days off. 
Do not feel like you're some obsessive protective parent by conducting a thorough interview and calling  all the references.  This will ensure you pick the best fit for your family and prevent having to go through the hiring process several times before the right person is found.  Most importantly, your children trust you to keep them safe, so the more homework you do in the hiring process the more likely you will find that wonderful person who will enjoy being with your children and take great care of them when you are away.
Have you found your Mary Poppins?  Maybe you have a few tips you can share?

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