Tips on hiring a babysitter

I love children, and I love babysitting. I have always loved working with kids (I want to be a first grade teacher...shocking..I know ;) so when I got my first babysitting job, when I was 8, I was on cloud 9. 
I have babysat A TON over the years..I mean A TON. I have learned so many things about being a good babysitter and how to be a good parent when hiring a sitter. Obviously I am not a parent, so I don't actually need to hire a babysitter but, I have been asked to babysit a gazillion and one times. Over the years I have made up some "Do's and Dont's" for when it comes to hiring a babysitter.

So here it goes...6 Things you MUST Know Before Hiring a Babysitter--from a babysitter's perspective

Tips on hiring a babysittter

This is a biggie.. 

Make the babysitter feel comfortable! 

Remember they are taking time out of their lives to come watch your kid. If they are at your home feeling very uncomfortable, chances are they wont want to come back. 

Tips on helping your babysitter become more comfortable:
 Let them know they can eat whatever they want. (if you are worried about them eating too much, stop worrying. Chances are they too nervous you will see how much they ate so they end up not eating anything. But it's good for them to know they can if they wanted to.) Reassure them that they are the ones in charge after you leave. When you are getting ready to leave and the babysitter is awkwardly just standing there waiting for you to walk out that door and leave your child with them, talk to them! 

hiring a babysitter

Give them instruction on the big stuff!

I have been to plenty of babysitting jobs when the mom gives me hardly any instruction. Not having enough info can make it very hard to take care of your kids well. If your child has to have a blankie and a binkie while they go to sleep, for heaven's sake TELL THEM THAT! Let's talk about instruction about food. A lot of times I babysit around dinner time. If the mom doesn't give me instruction about what to fix for dinner, it makes it very hard to find something. Remember this isn't my house, this is your house. I don't know where the strainer is, where the wooden spoons are, I have no clue. So please, give instruction.

**If you have this sitter over regularly, or older kids that can help the babysitter find something, no need for a huge speech about the meal. Maybe only say what she can cook for dinner and that the kids can help her get stuff out.**

Be careful about giving instruction about the little stuff. This can make your babysitter feel that she is in adequate to be tending your kids because, you feel like you have to give her instruction about everything. You need to find that line yourself. (What's too much? What is too little?) If this is the sitter's first time babysitting..ever...than go right ahead and instruct all you want. If the babysitter is older and you know she has babysat before, there is absolutely no need to explain how to water down apple juice, or even how to change a diaper. (Believe it or not, that totally happened to me.)

tips on having a babysitter

Prep your kids ahead of time!

Make sure your kids know that mommy is leaving and, a new friend is going to come over and play with them. If your kids have never had a sitter before, relate the babysitter to someone they are familiar with, like grandma (who probably watches them all of the time). Talk to your children about how you wont be home during lunch (dinner, bedtime, naptime..etc.) but,  this new friend will be here and is so excited to play with you.  Remind your kids that when you leave, the babysitter is in charge and to be nice to her.

Nothing is worse than a child being left at home with a stranger with out mom and dad. To make it a good experience, prep your kids so they know whats going on.

how to hire a babysitter

Leaving your house a mess // How much you pay

 Babysitters (the good ones at least) are going to have this instinct to clean your home. They want to help you out and they want your house to be clean when you arrive home. If there are a few dishes in the sink + the dishes they used for their meal while you were gone and, some toys out..not a bid deal. A good babysitter will clean that all up. If you leave your sitter at your home that has dishes filling the sink, important papers everywhere, or just your stuff all over the can't expect them to clean for you. They don't want to mess with your things, they don't know where anything goes (unless you have older kids) and they don't want to feel like they are a fish out of water when cleaning your house so chances are they wont do it. If you want your sitter to clean your home, it's simple. Before the babysitter comes over put away your things. Only leave the obvious things out, like the kids toys and stuff. If you want your babysitter to really clean your home, you need to tell them that. I know that sounds awkward but, they think they are just watching your kids while you go to dinner, they don't know you want your house spiffy clean. To be honest though, I wouldn't have them clean up your messy house, especially if they are a new sitter. It's not worth it.

 Let's talk pay. I combined these two together because, if you get home and the house is clean, pay them more. If you have no idea what to pay a babysitter, ask your friends that have sitters a lot. A lot of times, I have parents ask me how much I charge. I never tell them an exact amount because every family is different. Another thing, once you have the money out and handing it to them, don't ask them if that amount is okay. Do you really think they are going to tell you no? Even if they are thinking it, they wont say it. Make sure you aren't under paying them, if you want them to come back pay them a good amount. That makes them feel that your kids had fun and you liked them.

**remember paying them is different if you financially can't pay them a good amount. I know it might be hard for you to tell them, just do it. If you hand them $10 for 4 hours, they wont come back. If you say I am so sorry but right now we can't afford to pay all of it right now, can i pay you in a few weeks? They will totally understand! Chances are they will just turn down the money after all.  (I you can't afford a babysitter, maybe just stick to the free grandparents) .**

how to hire a babysitter

The drive home

 This kinda goes back to number one. You want the babysitter to be comfortable. If they can't drive than you will have to take them home. The drive home can be terribly awkward. Small talk is key, it's your job to make them feel comfortable. Talk to them about how the kids were, how school is..etc.

What about who drives them home?

If your sitter is your husband's cousin, niece, or something like that, than obviously have your husband drive them home. If it is just a girl in your neighborhood or a friend of a friend, you drive home. I honestly really dislike driving home with the dad. It is just a lot easier talking to a mom rather than the dad, I don't know why it just is.

Obviously if they have a car and a license, you don't have to worry about this step. :)

tips on hiring a good babysitter

Don't worry!

This might be kind of hard, if this is your first time having a babysitter. All I can say is, this babysitter loves children (they wouldn't be babysitting if they didn't). She is going to take good care of your kids. If you leave the house all nervous and frantic, your kids will know and they wont be happy when you leave. If you leave calm and happy, your kids will pick up on that. Don't stress. Your kids will have fun!

If you have any more questions about this subject, leave me a comment!

I have been babysitting for years and am kind of passionate about this subject..hence the long post.

Now go out and hire that babysitter!! You need a date night!