Finding and Choosing a Babysitter – Local Resources

Finding a sitter can prove challenging.  Finding one trustworthy is even harder.  This often makes going out without the kids seem like an impossible feat.  Some parents are lucky enough to have friends and family members available to watch the kids.  Don’t worry, though, if this is not the case for you as there are plenty of other places to look.  Long Island Mamas is here to help by offering a few good local solutions regarding finding and choosing a babysitter who is qualified and reliable.

 

One of the easiest and most popular ways to find caretakers is through word of mouth from friends and neighbors. Also ask other parents at school, church and elsewhere to share names of sitters they would refer. 

Many parents look on websites such as Sittercity or Care.com. Sites such as these help parents find experienced babysitters and nannies in the area. A great feature on both sites are their filters which can narrow down candidates by specific criteria such as First Aid certified, experience working with certain age groups, has a car, non-smoking, and so forth. For additional fees these sites can obtain background checks and references. 

Another option is to look for local mom groups via Facebook or MeetUp.com to meet other parents and ask for recommendations.  For example, Facebook has a Mt Sinai/Miller Place Moms Group and MeetUp.com offers many parenting groups in both Nassau and Suffolk counties. These groups are full of local moms with tons of resources and ideas among them.
When the local Pennysaver lands on our doorsteps, read through as some babysitters and nannies advertise in there.  Also look in the Help Wanted sections. Just make sure to always check references and perform background checks.
 

One of the best places to find a babysitter is often at your child’s school or daycare and even the sitters in the nursery at the local gym. Teachers sometimes will babysit after school and work hours.  Have a favorite teacher? Don’t be afraid to ask. Teachers often know other sitters if they themselves are not available.

Compile a list of all the sitters found using these resources. Schedule a time meet each sitter for yourself.  If possible have your child(ren) there as well to see how they interact.

Care.com has compiled an extensive list of interview questions to ask each potential sitter.

Basic questions:

  • Name, phone, address, age, citizenship status
  • Availability (e.g., after school, evenings, weekends, short notice)
  • Rates (different cities have different rates. For example, the cost for a Chicago Babysitter may be different from the cost of a New York Babysitter. Visit Care.com’s Babysitting Pay Calculator to find out the rate in your area)
  • References (request name and contact information for 2-3 references)

Conversational questions:

  • Tell me about your experience with children (e.g. babysat siblings, has children)? What age ranges do you have experience with, and are you most comfortable with?
  • What activities do you like doing with kids? Are you willing to go on short, nearby outings (e.g. park, library)?
  • How do you comfort and discipline children? How have you handled crying children or temper tantrums in the past?
  • What is your comfort level with cooking and preparing meals for kids?
  • Are you comfortable with bathing children and bedtime routines?
  • Have you had problems in the past following directives like discipline, development, and daily routines?
  • What have been the most challenging and rewarding parts about being a babysitter?
  • What was your scariest or most difficult babysitting moment? How did you handle the situation?
  • Have you ever had to handle a child emergency? What did you do and what was the outcome? Do you have infant and child CPR certification? Would you be willing to receive such training?
  • What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
  • For teenage sitters: How are your grades? What do you enjoy doing outside the classroom? Are your parents supportive of your babysitting?

For babysitting needs for just a few hours, click here to check Drop Off Activity Centers on Long Island.

 

By: Tara Arichabala

 

Photo credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

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