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100 Tips for Nannies and Families

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Hiring a Babysitter for the First Time

You are preparing to hire a babysitter for the first time.  What all do you need to do to be well prepared for successfully employing a babysitter?  A brief list follows.

  • Determining what job tasks you want the babysitter to perform (just childcare? feeding? house cleaning? transporting? administering medications?)
  • Determining what traits and skills you will seek in a babysitter (based on the job tasks above)
  • Determining what you are willing to pay a babysitter (usually expressed in dollars per hour worked)
  • Determining what you are willing to do for your babysitter (transporting her to/from your house, allowing her to snack on items in your fridge, etc.)
  • Determining your preferred method of recruitment (word of mouth, advertising on a school campus, conducting an on-line search, etc.)
  • Determining your timeline (by what date do you wish or need to have a babysitter hired?)
  • Preparing a list of interview questions to ask prospective babysitters
  • Begin recruitment
  • Select the candidates that possess the traits and skills you seek . . . schedule those candidates for interviews, and send polite rejection letters to the non-selected candidates
  • Interview the selected candidates
  • Narrow the pool of candidates to two or three that are best qualified for the job
  • Schedule those two or three candidates for a second/final interview . . . plan to have your child present at that second interview to observe interaction between child and babysitter and, where age appropriate, allow the child input in the selection of his/her babysitter
  • Interview the selected candidates and get signed authorizations to perform background checks
  • Perform background checks and check references on the selected candidates
  • Narrow the pool of candidates to one candidate, offer the job to that candidate, and schedule a start date
  • Send polite rejection letters to the subsequently non-selected candidates
  • Orient the babysitter to the job by using the job description you’ve prepared
  • Train the babysitter to perform to your expectations
  • Observe the babysitter’s performance and provide praise and redirection as appropriate
  • Pay the babysitter as agreed at the time of hire
  • Have regular communication with the babysitter about the expectations that you have of each other, how those expectations are being met (or are not being met), what questions or feedback need to be addressed, etc.

By proceeding as indicated above, you can set the stage for successfully employing a babysitter that will love your child and attend to him/her according to your wishes.

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