One of the hardest parts of parenting is leaving your kids in the care of others. Along with that, comes choosing the right person to watch your children. Like many moms out there, I was a babysitter in middle and high school. While I certainly was responsible, I never realized how hard it was for parents to leave their kids with me. Some people have the luxury of living minutes away from grandparents, so they may never have to hire a sitter. But for those of us with grandparents a bit further away, finding a babysitter who is trustworthy can seem like a monumental task. And it was also important for us to find a sitter that our kids really like.
We typically need a babysitter three to four times a month for our church small group meetings and date nights. So, finding someone who was consistent and keeping them was important to us. I’ve heard a lot of people mention the difficulties of finding (and keeping) awesome babysitters, so I thought I would compile a short list of tips for parents. Here you go:
5 Tips for Hiring and Keeping Awesome Babysitters
- Pay them well. We pay ten dollars an hour for our sitters (we have two kids: ages 2 and 4). I know this may seem like a lot, but considering that we are trusting our sitter with the MOST important things in our lives makes it worth it.
- Don’t hire exclusively because of their church or major. I know people who only hire college students who are education majors or nursing majors. Others I know only hire sitters who go to their church. For me, it’s more important that they: a.) have a good recommendation (from another sitter or friend), and b.) really like kids.
- Make their jobs easier. I always have my girls’ pajamas laid out, toothbrushes by the sinks, and beds ready for sleeping before our sitter arrives. I also don’t have expectations that my house will be cleaned when I get back home. My expectation is that my children had a fun time and are sleeping when I return.
- Avoid canceling. We try very hard to avoid canceling our babysitters. There have been times when our plans have fallen through, but we keep our sitter and just go on a cheap date. I think it’s really important to respect their time and realize that they are counting on the money they will make while babysitting.
- Trust them and take time to get to know them. We have had great relationships with many of our sitters. I think they can sense when parents trust them, and this gives them confidence. We also have enjoyed talking with our sitters and encouraging them in their studies or extracurricular activities.
Our girls look forward to nights when their babysitter comes and are extremely comfortable with them when we leave the house. We are able to enjoy dates and time with other adults without worrying about our kids. Hiring a babysitter can seem like a scary and overwhelming task, but once you find an awesome babysitter you will not want to lose them.