Tuesday, August 26, 2008
WFMW: Finding a Babysitter
I used to have the worst time trying to find a sitter for daytime, until I found a gold mine: the College of Education at my local university. I made a flyer with the following information:
Sitter needed for (number and ages of children).
When needed (on a regular basis, occasional, or both)
I placed my contact info prominently on the flyer in the body of the message as well as included several "tear-off" tabs with my contact info at the bottom. (This was handy after all the tear-off tabs were gone.)
I then put the flyers up all over the education building at the local university, then the calls started rolling in! I had potential sitters who were majoring in child development, child psychology, early childhood education, education, you name it! (This was so wildly successful that I eventually had to go back and take all the flyers down!)
I interviewed each person by phone (see link below for sample questions), then called the references (minimum of 2, but preferably 3) for the best candidates. (See other link below for sample questions to ask references.)
Questions to ask a potential sitter
Questions to ask references
Once I had chosen a few sitters, I had them over separately to meet my children and see how they interacted together.
For those sitters who made the final cut, I tried to rotate them every time I needed a sitter so my kids would get used to them.
Other babysitter ideas:
These days, I am really blessed to have a wonderful homeschooled girl who lives only 5 minutes away who has done 99% of our babysitting since we moved here. Homeschoolers are the BEST sitters, because they are often flexible and more available than other sitters. Also, many have young siblings and are very experienced with children. Best of all, the vast majority of homeschoolers I know are very respectful, dependable, and have strong moral values.
Another thing worth mentioning is that of the pre-teen homeschooler who is mature and responsible, but too young to babysit. (These are the most eager helpers you will ever encounter!) There are many times I've asked a 10- to 12-year-old girl to come be a mother's helper for an hour or two so I could get some major projects done. It's win-win: she gains valuable experience and you get something done (all the while training a future sitter!) This was invaluable when I was working on THE DRESS. Screech is such a handful, but having someone to read to her and entertain her makes all the difference in the world!
Here are my previous WFMW posts:
Charging a Cell Phone
Swim/Shower with a Cast
Free Tech Support
Calming Injured Children
Choosing a Phone Number
What NOT to Soak Contacts In
Broken Glass Cleanup
Cheap Rolling Cart for Conventions
Tooth-Tugging Tip for Terrified Tots
Handy Earache Relief
Uses for Leftover Bread
Leaky Diaper/Pull-up Fix
Snack Mix Recipe (at the end of the post)
Awesome Stain Recipe (at the end of the post)
"Fun"damentals of Family Life
Removing Wite-Out from Everything
When NOT to Save Money
Public Service Announcement
For more WFMW tips, stop by Shannon's blog.