One of the toughest decisions to make as a parent is that of child care arrangements for your child if you return to working outside the home. There are several child care options available and a different set of things to look into and ask about for each child care option on the list. As an in-home babysitter for several years, and currently, I want to offer some tips on what to look for if the option you choose for your family is a personal babysitter-babysitting service offered in the home of the sitter.
Particular things to look for and ask about when looking for a babysitter that watches your child in their own home:
- Look around the home, most especially the areas designated for your child to sleep, eat and play in throughout the day and be sure age-appropriate safety measures are in place before you ever leave your child at the babysitters. Be sure there are outlet covers on unused electrical outlets, stair gates where necessary, no furniture or accessories that will fall on children or can be easily broken by little hands…this of this sort and that the area is generally ready for your child.
- Basic first aid training and a basic first aid kit handy are both a must for any babysitter, ask enough questions to feel sure the babysitter can handle minor emergencies as they occur and will know what to do in the case of sickness or accidents.
- If there are pets in the home, ask about not only the pet’s shots but whether or not the pet has been around children of your child’s age as well as if the pet will roam at will about the house or be put away from the children’s area.
- It is best that no babysitter smoke around the children, don’t take this by sight, be sure and ask if not only the babysitter but if anyone in the home smokes.
- Be sure to be clear about what hours your child will be at the babysitter’s and what exactly you will do if you will be later than the agreed-upon time to pick up your child from the babysitter’s.
- Payment rates and dates need to be set, agreed upon and double-checked to avoid any confusion at later times.
- Realize that the babysitter needs to be contacted if, for some reason, such as illness or appointments, you will not be bringing your child to the babysitter and have how that should happen in mind to tell the babysitter what to expect.
- Ask the babysitter what the plan is if your child should become sick or hurt and you need to be contacted quickly-are the necessary numbers and a phone nearby and easily reachable?
- What if for some reason the babysitter cannot care for your child, whether it be sickness or appointments?
While a babysitter does not necessarily have to offer a choreographed, detailed daily agenda, you should be able to feel comfortable that the children will play happily and somewhat freely with plenty of interaction from the babysitter. Some television is definitely fine, but not to the extent that the children sit and zone out the entire day. Interaction is important, the babysitter can simply join the play going on and provide lots of learning and fun.
- Does the babysitter smile and greet not only you, the parent but your child as well upon arrival? The babysitter should appear to like her job, to enjoy the children and their play.
- Enjoyment factor–while working parents often feel like they have no choice as to whether or not their child likes the babysitter and has a good time while there, this is simply not true. While a babysitter’s job is not to song-and-dance routine for the children, their happiness and contentment while in the babysitter’s care are important and a telltale sign of what kind of job the babysitter is doing in caring for the children day-to-day. While some upset in the child is expected when being left at the babysitter, you as a parent know how to tell separation issues from fear or extreme distress. Over time, a child’s upset at being left should lessen to some degree.
These are all general ideas of the types of things to consider when leaving your child in a babysitter’s home, whether on a daily basis or now and again. You will find all these features and facilities at The Heights Daycare. This will help you in avoiding all the hassle that you go through as you look for a daycare service provider for your child.
The most important key point of all is that the babysitter truly enjoys being with the children and the rest should then come naturally, for if a person genuinely cares for children, their safety and happiness is the goal.