What’s In A Sitter?

I recently had a sitter over for what I like to consider a trial run.  I found her using a web site that I have used in the past with good results and her application and profile looked pretty good!  Our first hiccup, I should have known, was when I called her phone and was told it was a wrong number.  All I did was hit re-dial since I had previously spoken with her.  I still decided to have her over for a second chance and boy was I disappointed to find that I should have left it at “wrong number.”  I have decided to share reasons I did not hire her just to give a, my, parental opinion.

Dress Appropriately:

Although you will probably be spending the evening at my house and this is a fairly relaxed job, you should still take the time to dress appropriately!  Friday evening I discovered that the sitter was wearing a tiny shirt under a half-unbuttoned larger shirt and I was able to see her belly ring.  I understand everyone has their own personality and fashion sense but you are here to take care of young children.  Dress comfortably but keep the midriff covered!  The way you dress can change my mind on whether I will hire you or not.  I want someone who presents themselves well, not someone who looks set to go to a party after sitting for my kids.

Be Involved:

If you claim in your application or in a first interview that you are comfortable watching infants and toddlers, and that you have watched infants and toddlers in the past, I expect you to be confident with infants and toddlers.  I like to have a sitter show up and spend an evening with us at home so that I can have full confidence in her and know that my son will also enjoy being around her.  I also want to know that you are ready to step in, if the baby is crying and you are right next to her pick her up.  Grab a toy to entertain her.  But DO NOT sit there and stare as the baby gets louder.  I realize that I am at home with you for the trial, but I need to know that you are comfortable handling an infant.  If you are uncomfortable with a specific age group, say so.  When I go to hand you a 4 month-old you should not recoil nervously.  Jump in with enthusiasm.

Ask Questions … Please:

This is a two way street.  I dislike when I am the only one asking the questions.  You should be interested to know what my toddler likes to do, how many ounces does the baby take and when does she eat, what is our nighttime schedule like, will the kids be fed by the time you arrive, etc.  If you are not sure of appropriate questions, ask your friends, parents, friends who are parents, or take to google.  Yep, google.  But please, ask questions so that I know you are in some way truly interested in my kids and in working with our family!

Personal Information:

I know that teenagers sometimes have difficulty getting started as sitters.  So, when we are talking, please do not tell me that you sneak around behind your parents backs.  It makes me question how much trust I can put in you and will have me constantly wondering if you are completing tasks or caring for my children the way I would like you to.  Also, if I ever have to question whether you are using drugs, you have probably shared something that should have been kept to yourself.  You should, however, share if you are involved in sports or extracurricular activities at school, discuss what you plan on majoring in if you are going to college soon, or explain why you chose to work as a baby sitter instead of at another part time job.  As a parent, I want someone who is genuinely interested in kids.

Phone and Timeliness:

And of course, the two big ones, having your phone readily available and being on time.  You should always have your phone ready so that you can contact emergency services if an accident occurs, so you can call if you are running late, or so I can get a hold of you if I need to.  The last thing I want is to call for a check in and not be able to reach you, or know that if an emergency were to occur you would not be able to contact emergency services.  And always strive to be on time!

These are my personal opinions and some of the things I consider when looking for a potential sitter.  Remember, I am asking you to be in our home and am trusting you with the people who matter most in my life!

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