Nate is almost 2 and I am ashamed to admit that I've never left him with a babysitter. We sometimes have family watch him for doctor's appointments and such but they are not always available on a regular basis. The hubby and I have not had a night out alone since Nate was born over 20 months ago. I know. Crazy, right? At first, I was uncomfortable with the idea of leaving my baby with someone I didn't know and trust. Then, when I became a stay-at-home mom a year ago, I grew so accustomed to taking care of his needs that I abandoned my own. I began to think I was the only one cut out for the job. But, seeing as Nate's separation anxiety is basically nonexistent, I feel it's time to reconnect with my husband and make some time for biweekly or monthly dates at places other than Cracker Barrel.
So, how exactly do you go about finding a good babysitter? You can ask friends and family for recommendations or do your own research with a resource like Care4Hire.com. Care4Hire.com is an online family and caregiver database providing babysitters, housekeepers, tutors, pet sitters, elder/companion care and more. They're not just a new kid on the block; Care4Hire has been matching parents and caregivers since 1987. Care4Hire has even been featured on Dr. Phil and The Doctors! Whether you're looking for someone for just a few hours or if you need them for a few days, Care4Hire.com can help.
Care4Hire is run my a mom who knows you don't have time for complicated. You need a service that is fast, easy and efficient. Care4Hire delivers. With their neighborhood mapping system, you simply type in your zip code to preview available caregivers in your area for free. And for a small monthly fee, you can become a registered member and receive immediate access to caregivers' contact information, references and availability. You can even obtain background checks through Care4Hire.com! You'll also find helpful tools such as sample interview questions, sample reference forms and a sample contract to facilitate a mutually enjoyable experience between you and your sitter.
Care4Hire.com is perfect for us since we are new to our area and because we're rural, we haven't met too many people yet who could offer suggestions. I took the liberty of perusing Care4Hire and found 3 quality, certified caregivers within 30 miles of my home (remember we're in the sticks so I thought this was quite good!). The site was very easy to navigate. I like how they show photos of the caregivers and provide lots of information such as past experience and interests free of charge.
Seeing as I am venturing into new territory, I need all the advice I can get to make sure my future babysitter is the perfect fit for our family. Well, Care4Hire.com has given me their top 10 tips for hiring a babysitter:
- The babysitter should be able to relate easily and bond well with your children while maintaining a clear distinction from them. Babysitters must be able to play with and enjoy your children (peer-level interaction) while also maintaining discipline. It is easy for a babysitter (and a parent) to feel more comfortable in one role or the other: to be most comfortable being friends with the children, or to be most comfortable supervising the children and redirecting their errant behaviors.
- The babysitter must be able to relate with your family and administer discipline to your children in a manner that is appropriate and consistent with your family’s boundaries. If you have a prospective babysitter that uses social isolation (sending a child to his/her room, for example) as a method of behavior modification, and you are not comfortable with that method of behavior modification, then the prospective babysitter may not be a good fit for your family.
- The babysitter should ideally have years of experience, solid references from prior employer-families, a clean background (pursuant to background checks), and completed training on babysitter basics (CPR, first aid, the Heimlich maneuver, basic nutrition and food preparation, and general personal and home hygiene). You can obtain background checks through Care4hire.com. The babysitter should not represent a risk to your children in any way; thus, in addition to the foregoing, the babysitter should be current on his/her vaccinations.
- If you need your babysitter to drive, then your babysitter should have a valid driver’s license, a clean (or as close to clean as possible) driving record and a reliable car.
- The babysitter should be able to develop and carry out fun, creative, and educational experiences for your child.
- The babysitter should be willing and able to comply with your rules about what constitutes appropriate television viewing, when (s)he may use his/her cellular telephone while babysitting, when (s)he may use your telephone for his/her own purposes while babysitting, when (s)he may have friends over while babysitting, etc.
- The babysitter should be capable of handling small “crises” on his/her own. You and your babysitter should come to an agreement about what issues may warrant a call to you and what issues the babysitter is authorized to handle on his/her own. Your babysitter should be able to act comfortably within the boundaries you have provided.
- The babysitter’s expectations regarding terms and conditions of employment should be close to the terms and conditions of employment that you are offering. If you wish to hire a babysitter in a smoking home, a non-smoking prospective babysitter may not be a good fit for your family. Pay rates for babysitters should be discussed up front to ensure that the prospective babysitters are willing to work for the income you offer.
- The babysitter should not have fears or concerns about the non-negotiable aspects of the job with your family. If you have a cat, and your prospective babysitter is severely allergic to cats, the prospective babysitter may not be a good fit for your family. (Side note: some allergic reactions can be treated with over-the-counter or prescription medications or other accommodations that may be used by the allergic babysitter.) If the prospective babysitter is unable to work specific hours or days and you need your babysitter to attend to your children on those days or in those hours, then the prospective babysitter may not be a good fit for your family.
- The babysitter should be a positive, loving influence in your household.
Looking for a more long-term childcare solution? Check out their sister site Nannies4Hire.com!
WIN IT: One lucky reader is going to win a gift certificate for 1-month's full access to Care4Hire.com - a $30 value!
MAIN COURSE (MANDATORY ENTRY): Go to Care4Hire.com, conduct a search and tell me how many caregivers are in your area. Remember to please leave your email address in your comment if it isn't visible on your profile to prevent disqualification!
SUGAR ON TOP (BONUS ENTRIES): To maximize your chances of winning, you may do any or all of the following. Be sure to complete the above mandatory entry or your bonus entries will not count! Remember to leave one comment per entry.
1.) Follow my blog and/or subscribe via reader or email. If you already follow and/or subscribe, that counts! (1 entry each)
2.) Follow me and Care4Hire on Twitter and tweet about this contest. You can do this daily! You may use the tweet below or come up with your own:
Need a night out? Find a babysitter with a 1-month membership to @Care4Hire from @kris10chumley Ends 4/13 http://bit.ly/aA3EuN
Just leave a comment with your tweet link. (1 entry per day max)
3.) Become a fan of Care4Hire on Facebook. (1 entry)
4.) Subscribe to the Care4Hire blog. (1 entry)
5.) Add my blog button and leave a comment with the link to where I can find it. (1 entry)
Giveaway will end on April 13, 2010 at 11:59pm EST. Open to U.S. and Canada. Winners will be chosen via Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond to congratulatory email or prize will be forfeited and another winner will be chosen.
Disclaimer: In exchange for this review, I will receive 1 month's access to Care4Hire.com free of charge. I was not compensated in any other way for this post. The thoughts and opinions expressed are purely mine. Your experience may differ.