How to select a sitter
When the time comes to go back to work, you will have to start looking for someone to watch your child. Finding the right person might seem like a complicated and stressful task, but in fact, with good preparation, it is easier than you think. Follow these eight steps for a confident choice:
Step 1 – Rushing when looking for a sitter is not a good idea. Take your time and think of your household: number of children, age of children, temperament of each child, your family’s working patterns (working at home, hours of work, time get home, etc.), distance from public transport. This mental check will help you to define the type of person that would be most suitable for your family.
Step 2 – Make a list of exactly what you are looking for in a sitter: experiences, qualifications, special skills, references and other characteristics. From the start establish the budget you have to offer, the required schedule and the tasks a sitter will need to handle (childcare only or house tasks as well). Stay true to what you are looking for.
Step 3 – Use different sources to find a sitter: be it nanny agencies, online services with detailed sitter profiles or simply ads placed in classified sections. For a substantial fee, agencies offer a full service option with candidates’ validation and personalised matching. A much more affordable option is online services that provide families the option to do their own matching with candidates’ detailed profiles and selection tools. The free options are classified ads requiring more time for research and bear a greater risk because the answers may come from any individual.
Step 4 – Once you have found an appropriate source of sitters, be sure to understand what is offered to you: is the candidate already screened? Are background checks done? Are there any other questions that you want to ask? If you aren’t happy with the answers, move to another source.
Step 5 – Interviewing potential candidates can be a long process; do not try to make it any quicker. Have a list of questions that you want to ask, and stick to it with each candidate so that you can compare apples to apples. A thorough interview process requires a phone interview and then an in person interview so you can validate your feelings and see how the nanny reacts to your child or children.
Step 6 – Check all references, even if you go through a nanny agency. Ask for at least three personal references, and three work-related references. The number one question to ask regarding work-related references is if they would be willing to re-hire the specific person. If the answer is no, ask for a detailed explanation. If, by any chance, you cannot get a hold of a reference, ask for another. If that is not possible, move on to the next potential hire. Personal references on the other hand will give you a good insight on the true personality of the individual.
Step 7 – Request a background check on the potential sitter that you have chosen. You must first have their consent, their social security number and any aliases that they have used in the last few years. You can go to your local police department and request a background check for a minimal fee, or use services available on the Internet.
Step 8 – If you like what you see and hear, and your instincts tells you it is the right person, hire the sitter.
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