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How to find the right babysitter

How to find the right babysitter
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For many parents the idea of an evening out seems like a pipe dream as extended family aren’t around to babysit. However, taking time to do things as a couple is important to maintaining a healthy relationship with your partner, as well as helping to keep you sane! If you’re unsure of how to find the right babysitter or are a bit nervous about leaving your children with someone you don’t know well, here is our guide to finding the right one for you.

The law

There are no laws stating at what age a child can be left alone but the NSPCC recommends that children under the age of 13 are not left unsupervised. If you’re going out then young kids should always be left with a responsible person, preferably over the age of 16. No regulations exist for babysitters to be registered with OFSTED or have a CRB disclosure, but it’s sensible to do your own checks just as you would if you were employing a childminder. Ideally, the perfect babysitter will have a CRB check, references, proof of identity, first aid training and have experience or qualifications relating to childcare.

Teenagers

Older children can be left alone but use your own judgement. Just because one 14-year-old is fine on her own doesn’t necessarily mean the same of every 14-year-old. Consider the maturity, responsibility and confidence of your teenager when you decide whether to leave her alone or employ someone to sit in with her.

How to find the right babysitter

Explore your options

This means interviewing a few different babysitters. The chances are you won’t click with the first one you meet so arrange to interview a few to make sure you find someone that you’re comfortable leaving your children with. Consider including your kids in the interview and allow them to offer an opinion so that you know your child is happy with your choice. It’s also a good idea to keep the numbers of two or three of the sitters that you like so that if your first choice is already booked for a particular evening or lets you down you have a back up plan.

Research rates

It would be a nightmare to find a babysitter who you trust and who gets along brilliantly with your kids, only to lose them because you’re not offering enough in the way of payment. Do some research and find out what the going rate is in your area. You may also wish to consider contributing to travel costs, such as petrol money or taxi fares home.

Ask around

It may seem obvious but if you have friends who use babysitting services, ask whether they would recommend them. Obviously this isn’t ideal if your planned night out is with the very same friends, but by asking for recommendations from people with similar parenting styles to your own you are likely to be able to come up with a shortlist of babysitters who will fit in well with your family.

There are also some websites with reputable babysitters you may want to consider using. Sites such as www.childcare.co.uk has over 1 million users where parents can look for trusted babysitters, nurseries, nannies, Au Pairs, childminders etc. Just as you would with a nursery or childminder, ensure your potential babysitter meets all the requirements for your family and trust you judgement.

Trust your instincts

Someone may appear perfect on paper but if your gut feeling doesn’t match that then it’s best to step away. If there is something holding either you or your children back, even if you can’t put your finger on it, then it’s best to find another babysitter. Don’t be afraid that the person will take it personally, even the best babysitters will find there are families that they just don’t gel with and that’s okay.

 

 

 

 

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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