Hiring a Babysitter for the First Time? Here’s What You Need to Know

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If you’re hiring a babysitter for the first time, it is natural to be a little nervous.

There are all sorts of questions to ask, and you might be (understandably) concerned about leaving your child alone in someone else’s hands for the first time. The hiring process, then, is more than just picking one babysitter out of a lineup to come to your home. It’s a chance for you to thoroughly vet and get to know your child’s potential newest caretaker.

However, as a first-timer, you may need a little help assessing their qualifications. Consider these important tips when searching for your first babysitter.

Seek Out Reputable Sources for Hiring a Babysitter

When it comes to your little one’s safety, you should not leave any stone unturned. It is important to ensure that the babysitter you hire comes from a known company or service, or can otherwise prove their credentials. Babysitters who come from a reputable agency are more likely to have all the qualifications of an expert care provider. It is also more likely that they’ve been previously vetted, with all the expected background checks and then some.

Hiring babysitters from a reputable source ensures optimal service and safety for you and your little one. Make sure to scout for a company or agency you can trust.

Provide a 101 Guide for You Child and Household

When hiring a babysitter, it is important to provide them with guide rules to help them navigate your home and care for your child to the best of their abilities. A cheat sheet can make the whole experience much smoother for the first-timer.

Provide your chosen babysitter with a list of the most important things to know. For example, list down the appliances or accessories they can find around your home and provide them with a guide to use them. You can also list down the types of snacks your child likes (and more importantly, any food allergies or intolerances), as well as their favorite games and activities. If your little one follows a strict schedule, provide your babysitter with a written copy of it to keep the day on track.

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Allow Time for a Smooth Transition

When it comes to hiring a new babysitter, the transition period is crucial. You shouldn’t just drop your child with your babysitter right away. Your child needs some time to get acquainted with their new care provider—and your babysitter would benefit from getting to know your little one with supervision.

To accommodate a full transition process, spend some time with both your babysitter and your child. Introduce them to one another, and supervise a playdate of sorts between them. This will help them become more comfortable with one another, and could also build more trust between you and your new sitter. You can even conduct a dry run before the actual day, to get them more well-acquainted with one another.

Provide a Checklist

Every child and every household is different. That is why providing your sitter with a checklist is a must. Your child may have a set of needs unique to your babysitter’s other clients, or there may be specific things that your little one needs to do while your babysitter is watching over them.

Alongside your household guide, preparing an extended checklist for your babysitter is the best practice. This will help them know what to do and how to best take care of your little ones. This checklist may also include the things your babysitter may need to do during their day with your child.

References and Background Checks for Hiring a Babysitter

As mentioned, your child’s safety should be your top priority. When hiring a new babysitter, it is important for you to secure a background check on them. With your babysitter’s consent, take a look at their criminal history, social media platforms, driving records, CPR training (if any), and ensure they are not listed on any national registries.

You should also phone your babysitter’s listed references. When contacting a reference over the phone, take note of their tone of voice and demeanor. The reference who sounds excited and is ready to answer questions is usually a good sign. If they try to avoid chatting with you and cannot give you a direct answer about the babysitter’s service, it may be a sign that you need to hire someone else.

Emergency Plan

No matter the situation, it’s always helpful to have a backup or an emergency plan. While your chosen babysitter may have all the qualifications you can imagine and is well-equipped to care for your child, you must always be prepared for something to go wrong. Accidents can happen—and your babysitter needs to know how to respond appropriately.

Having an emergency plan is crucial in situations like these because it can help your babysitter come up with an alternative solution or steps to address the problem. It will also give you peace of mind because you know you have your bases covered.

Emergency Contacts

No one wants to deal with an emergency—especially when it concerns their children. However, as mentioned, anything can happen. To provide your child with an extra level of security, make a list of emergency contacts for your babysitter. List down the standard hotlines for the nearest hospital, the fire department, and the police station. You should definitely leave your contact number with your babysitter as well. However, in the event that they cannot contact you, provide them with the number of a trusted friend or family member who can respond immediately, should the need arise.

Hiring a Babysitter with Nanno

Hiring a babysitter for the first time can be quite daunting. Hopefully, these suggestions can help! Working with a reputable agency with highly qualified and exceptional care providers can also alleviate the hiring stress.

Nanno is here to connect you with a network of pre-vetted, experienced sitters who are ready to go. With babysitters and nannies across most metro U.S. regions, you’re sure to find your perfect childcare provider close at hand. You can even filter that app for specific qualifications!

Find your next babysitter with Nanno to ensure peace of mind whenever you head out without your child. Sign up for Nanno today!

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New York, NY
Stacy is a former nanny and currently director of user success at Nanno. She loves to find fun new solutions to complicated problems. Fun facts about Stacy: She is the oldest of 8 children.