Every parent can use a break once in a while. Whether you need to run a few errands, want to take in the latest movie, or go out for the evening with your partner or friend, a babysitter can help. How do you find the person you are seeking?
Leaving your children in someone else's care requires careful consideration. Whether you choose to contact a student from the NYU Babysitting Registry or someone who was referred to you by a friend or coworker, it is important that you speak with and meet with each individual before deciding to hire them. A sample list of questions (PDF) is provided to help you find out more about your potential babysitter.
One way to make sure you hire the right person is to check each candidate's references. Speaking to former parents and employers will give you information about the candidate's experience and how he or she will fit in with your family. A sample Reference Check (PDF) is provided for your use.
An effective way to feel more secure about your choice in babysitter is to invite them to your home and observe how they interact with your children. The age(s) of your child(ren) will determine how best to do this.
Early in your relationship with the babysitter it is also a good idea to spend a minimum of 15 minutes together before you leave for your event. This will provide the time necessary to review your expectations for the day or evening. It will also help develop an open channel of communication between you and the babysitter and to help your children feel safe. As you and your children become more familiar with the babysitter you can reduce the time spent before your departure.
Once you've selected a babysitter for your family, the next step is to ensure that s/he has everything necessary to care for your children. In addition to information about your child's likes (and dislikes) and permitted activities, make sure the babysitter has basic health and safety information including emergency contact numbers and medical insurance information.