Do You Really Trust Your Babysitter?
Every time you turn on the TV or pick up the newspaper, it seems like there’s a story about troubled people mistreating kids, and even killing, kids. As parents, these types of things can make you skeptical about whom you leave in charge of your kids. And you should be. But in today’s busy world, parents are juggling more than just motherly/fatherly duties, making it almost impossible to raise kids without help. Finding a trustworthy babysitter can be a tricky task, so take a look at these few pointers that will help alleviate some of the stress when it comes to choosing who you let monitor your little ones.
Ask a Trusted Family Member/Friend
Whether it’s your mother, sister, niece, best friend or favorite cousin, asking a trustworthy family member to watch your kid is often the best option, especially if they’re close to you. You know their personality, are familiar with their history, they already have a bond with your kid(s), and they are already aware of how you run your household—which means you don’t really have to explain much when it comes to what is and isn’t acceptable around your child. Come on, leaving the kiddies with mama, you can’t go wrong! Just ask Michelle Obama.
Go with a Recommended Caretaker
If you can’t get a reliable family member to do the job, the next best thing is someone they know and trust. Ask around. Make sure the person has experience working with kids in some form, preferably someone who has a long history of babysitting experience, and you’re good to go.
Do a Background Check/Check References
Luckily for us, we can easily go online and check people’s arrest records. Just Google their names or type in their government at LexisNexis, or any other background check search engine, to see if you can scoop any dirt. Interview them to find out what type of person they are, their experience and how they handle kids. Lisa McCullen from babysittingworld.com says that it’s crucial that you make sure any potential caretaker can provide solid references. If not, that person shouldn’t even be an option.
Avoid Men Caretakers
I don’t want to sound like a male-bashing sexist, but truth is, a man is more likely to sexually abuse your child than a woman. (Just watch the news or check the statistics). Not to say that there aren’t some sexually perverted women out there, and that all men are child rapists, but I wouldn’t advise anyone to take the chance. Just an extra precaution.
Lay Ground Rules
Experts at Committee for Children say that it’s best that you let your child’s new supervisor know what is and isn’t acceptable in your household, including rules for discipline, food choices, curfew, appropriate TV shows, safety instructions and regulations regarding the babysitter’s visitors.
Always Have Them Work from Your Home
This especially holds true for someone you nor your child aren’t familiar with. This way, you can pop up any time of the day, your child is comfortable with the environment, and you won’t have to worry about who’s coming in and out of the house. (But if you feel like you found the perfect sitter who, for whatever reason, can’t get the job done at your home, make sure they live in a safe environment. This means a place where there’s not a lot of traffic coming in and out of the home, a clean, kid-friendly place, and somewhere your child will feel secure).
Ask Your Child about Them
If you have a child who’s old enough to talk, question them about their sitter’s behavior and treatment toward them. Ask your kid whether or not they like her and what goes on when you’re away. It’s important to make sure your baby is not only safe, but comfortable with the person as well.
Install Security Cameras
This is the beauty of having the sitter come to your home: you can watch their every move and they wouldn’t even know it. Installing security cameras is an extra step you can take to ensure your child is safe when you’re not around. Hey, you never know.