What would we do in a world with out childcare providers? I cringe at the very thought. But finding the perfect fit for your family can sometimes be tricky. You want someone who is fun, but responsible, friendly but able to discipline. Someone your kids like, but someone you can trust…
So how does one go about finding the perfect babysitter, nanny or au pair?
Whether you are lucky enough to get a great referral or you have to scrounge through the craigslist ads, there are a few things you should always keep in mind.
Always Check References
Seems like a no brainer, but it is super important to have a conversation with the people your potential hire has listed as references. Try to see if the sitter has experience with any families similar to your own; ask questions like how many kids do they have and what ages are the kids? If the sitter has experience with a family with similar expectations to your own, you can hope for an easy transition.
Keep Your Kids In Mind
Find a nanny that can play to your kids’ strengths and weaknesses. If your little one loves ballet, look for a nanny who may have once danced. If your child is struggling with math homework, find a nanny who can help him with his math homework. It will be like getting a tutor and nanny in one!
Always Conduct An Interview
Even if you found your sitter through a referral, you should still conduct an interview. Just because a person is a great fit with your neighbour down the road, doesn’t mean he will necessarily be the best sitter for your family.
Kid Friendly Meet and Greet
It doesn’t have to be at the same time as your interview, but it is a good idea to have your nanny or sitter meet your kids when you are around. This will allow you to watch the sitter interact with your kids and also let you kids get comfortable with her before they are left alone together.
Trust Your Instincts
Perfect resume, great references, and a wonderful interviewee… but if something seems not quite right, trust your gut!
We all know how hard it is to find a good caregiver that we can trust with our kids. Interviews, reference checks, trial runs: we make babysitters jump through a lot of hoops! But once you find the perfect fit for you and your family, you want to make sure you hold on to that caregiver for as long as you can. There is nothing more devastating than your babysitter getting a full-time job or your au-pair moving back home.
The month of May is Care Provider appreciation month. And if any group of people in a mom’s world need to be thanked, it is definitely those that help lighten the load. Whether it is a local babysitter that helps out on a Friday date night or a full-time nanny that looks after the kids while you are at work, caregivers help parents balance all the facets of their busy lives.
So use this month to show your appreciation to your caregiver! Whether you give your nanny the day off, or offer your babysitter a small raise, do something nice for the person that helps look after your kids to show them how much you appreciate the time, effort and energy they put in with your kids.
Still looking for that perfect caregiver?
Try out a website dedicated to connecting families with caregivers: care.com and www.nannieswithlove.com are both great options. You can also check the bulletin board at your local community centre to find someone in your area. And as sometimes sketchy as it may seem, craigslist is a great resource for local childcare. As long as you follow our sure fire steps, you are bound to find someone you trust to look after the little ones while you… well, while you do whatever you feel like!