Real Advice For Real Life

Parenting Expert Advice from Author and America’s Nanny,

Michelle LaRowe

How to Hire a Babysitter

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You’ve finally decided to plan for that long overdue night out with your spouse. In the days before parenthood, picking the restaurant was the most challenging part of the evening. Now you are left with the daunting task of finding a provider that is practically perfect in everyway.

Whether you hear about a childcare provider by word or mouth, through a babysitting service, or even by placing your ad on the internet, one thing is for sure – if you want to know who is caring for your kids your going to have to do your homework.

However you decide to advertise your position, be sure to communicate your criteria to potential providers.

Your basic list of criteria for selecting babysitter may look something like this:

  • Over 18
  • Previous childcare experience
  • Able to provide three verifiable references
  • English speaking
  • Non smoker
  • CPR/ First Aid certified

Chances are, once the word gets out that you are looking for a sitter, you’ll get plenty of responses to your request.Be prepared when the calls come in by having a list of questionnaires printed out, along with a pen left handy by the phone.

When potential caregivers call, ask these important questions:

  • Can I have your contact information?
  • Are you CPR and First Aid Certified?
  • Tell me about yourself and your interests.
  • Have you worked with children before? In what capacity?
  • What was your best childcare experience?
  • What was your worst childcare experience? How did you handle it?
  • Do you have three references for me to contact?
  • What is your rate and availability?

You can save lots of time screening calls by setting up your answering machine greeting to say something like this:

“Thanks for calling. If you are calling about our childcare position, please leave a detailed message including your name and phone number, an overview of your childcare experience, and the title of your favorite children’s book. Please only leave a message if you have three verifiable references. Thanks.”

From the responses that you get, you’ll be able to tell if the candidates meet your basic criteria and if they are able to follow instructions. With this method, you also have the luxury of returning calls at your convenience and can choose which applicants that you want to spend the most time with getting to know. If you are satisfied with the phone interview, call the references provided.

The most important questions you can ask a reference is “Do you have any hesitations about leaving your child with the caregiver?” and “Would you hire this provider again?” If you have made it this far in the interview process, it’s time to set up a visit. Choose a time of day where your child is usually awake and in a playful mood. Be sure to observe the following:

  • Is their appearance neat?
  • Do they make eye contact when they talk?
  • Are they comfortable around your kids?
  • Do they wash their hands before handing an infant?
  • Do they seem interested in the children?
  • Do they get on the floor to interact with your toddler?
  • Do they ask to get to know you questions, like “Can you tell me about your favorite toy?” to an older child?
  • Does their cell phone go off without ceasing?

If you are happy with what you’ve observed, you have gotten stellar references, and your mothers’ instinct says “yes,” you are in a position to offer the candidate a trial run. Set up a time frame of about four hours during the day and see how it goes. Run some errands and be sure to pop in and out unexpectedly. If everything goes as you hoped, you are ready to offer her the position.

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Michelle La Rowe

Michelle La Rowe

About America's Nanny:

Michelle is an active member of the nanny community. She is the founder and president of Boston Area Nannies, Inc., a local non-profit educational organization and has served on the International Nanny Association Board of Directors.

She is called on by the media as a nanny and parenting expert and has been affectionately dubbed America's Nanny. Michelle has appeared on television and has been featured in print.

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America's Nanny

Books by Michelle LaRowe

A Mom's Ultimate Book of Lists: 100+ Lists to Save You Time, Money and Sanity - Grocery lists. Checklists. To-do lists. Lots of people love--and live by--lists. And parents are no exception. Today's families are busier than ever, and moms don't have the time or energy to search and scramble for the parenting information they are desperately seeking. This handy, practical reference guide will save time, money, and sanity for today's busy women.

Working Mom's 411 is your one-stop resource guide for navigating through the often choppy waters of managing kids, career and home.

Nanny to the Rescue - America's nanny offers a large dose of healthy parenting advice with secrets for raising happy, secure, and well-balanced babies and toddlers.

Nanny To the Rescue Again - Faced with multiple choices regarding school, friends, and activities coupled with the ever-widening influence of the outside world, parents of 6-12-year-olds need help. America's nanny is back to offer a large dose of healthy parenting advice with secrets for raising happy, secure, and well-balanced children.
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Michelle La Rowe La RoweAmerican NannyElementary School Age Children,Parenting,Parenting ToddlersReal Advice For Real LifeParenting Expert Advice from Author and America's Nanny, Michelle LaRoweHow to Hire a BabysitterYou've finally decided to plan for that long overdue night out with your spouse. In the days before parenthood, picking the restaurant was the most challenging part of the evening. Now you are...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids