Mummy and daddy time is so important, but before you can enjoy your night out, you need to work out who’s going to look after the kids. For many parents or in-laws are often happy to step in, but for others, finding someone you trust to look after your kids can be daunting. Who can you trust, what should you look for and how do you know?
Well, there is a distinction between the babysitters we choose for our little ones, and those we choose for our older, more independent kids. We also need different things from babysitters who arrive when the littlies are asleep, and those we trust to take care of their needs while they’re awake. In short, the older your kids are, and the more asleep they are, the less likely they are to need someone with advanced childcare knowledge. You really only need a sensible adult presence.
However, whether your littlies are asleep or big, you do need to satisfy yourself that your babysitter is switched on enough to cope with an emergency. Babies wake, and big kids do get sick and have nightmares. So be sure that your babysitter is experienced with kids, knows what to do and when to do it, and if possible, that they know your littlies and your littlies feel comfortable with them. Just being keen and available does not suffice.
Whilst your littlies are awake, you really need a babysitter with particular skills in childcare. They don’t have to be highly trained, just very experienced, capable and caring. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, speak to referees and audition them with your little ones, so that you are absolutely satisfied that they are what you’re looking for. If you feel even a little bit unsure, find an alternative. Police checks and first aid are bonuses, but for me, the non- negotiables are common sense, experience and a genuine connection with my littlies.
Spying in this context is to be encouraged, so try coming home earlier than you’re expected, or popping back to “pick up” something you’ve forgotten. Be as satisfied as you can be that you’ve made the right choice, and act on any reticence. Try asking your kids what they did with the babysitter, what they thought of them, and if they’d like them to visit again. And don’t forget to read between the lines.
Our kids’ safety and comfort are paramount, so listen to your instinct, ask lots of questions and do what you have to to make your babysitting choices. Chanel a lioness, and you won’t go far wrong.
Here are some great babysitting resource: