My favorite babysitter was both mature and silly. She
followed my rules and probably broke some too (sometimes sweet treats and late
bedtimes are a sitter-must – otherwise, what’s the fun of Mom and Dad going
out?). She also loved my sons.
As summer ends, the school year begins, and life as we know it seems to get back on track. This is when Care.com sees a surge in families hiring babysitters for date nights and daily help around the house. So a few of us started talking about what qualities we’ve loved most about babysitters we’ve hired (past or present). Here is what some said:
You’ll want to feel like your kids are in good hands no matter what gets thrown
their way. During your interview, make sure to ask your sitter what he or she
would do if there was a power outage or a knock at the door. And how would she
respond if your child fell off his bike or had a bad reaction to a food?
This was huge. No one likes coming home to a messy house after a long day or
night. Especially if it’s the sitter’s mess!
Parents often dread having to tell a sitter or a nanny what to do in each
situation. It’s so nice when the sitter jumps in and tries a trick of her/his
own. Take separation anxiety, for example. One mom said she knows she’s hired a
great sitter when she leaves the house hearing squeals of joy instead of
screams and tears because the sitter has created a means of distraction.
When Mom and Dad hire a sitter,
it should mean something fun for the kids. So what better than a silly sitter
who can get the kids laughing or bring some shy kids out of their shells?
Kids have different temperaments, even within the same family. So it’s nice
when a sitter can be patient, calming, loving, fun and compassionate all at
once. It can help the kids warm up to him/her and shows she/he really cares
about the kids – rather than just wanting to make money.
cook. A number of parents said they ask their sitters to either cook or
help their kids eat dinner. So fun tricks to get kids to eat their meal -- and
their veggies – is important. (See
tricks to solving kid problems >>)
- Keeps you
in the loop. It’s hard for parents, especially those who work, to feel like
they might be missing out on some of the fun and milestone moments in their
kids’ lives. Parents love when a sitter sends them pictures and updates from
outings and playdates. Parents who hire daytime sitters, whether they’re
nannies, part-time nannies or help for the stay-at-home parent truly appreciate
when the sitter plans exciting (active) activities and field trips for their
kids. It’s nice to feel like their kids are having a great time and meeting new
people even if they’re not with them. It’s also nice to know they’re getting
- Rule-abiding. Your sitter is paid to act as you would if you were with your kids. With that in mind, she should follow the schedule you have created and stick to the family rules. This said, most parents agreed that the sitter can “break the rules” to give the kids an extra treat with something small like a lollipop, a 15-minute extended bedtime or an extra computer game – but this should still be run by the parents first.
Tell me, what would you add to this list? What is your favorite quality you look for when hiring a babysitter?