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15Nov 13

Finding a reliable baby-sitter

It had been a long couple of weeks. Being a working mum to two young boys is exhausting! Thank goodness that the weekend was finally here, and I had some long-awaited me time planned for my husband and I – dinner and a movie – and a baby-sitter booked to look our sons at home. But only a few hours before our date, I received a message from the baby-sitter: “I’m so sorry, but I won’t be able to come over after all.” There went our evening out!

When free time is at such a premium and your limited social life hangs in the balance, there is nothing quite as crushing as having to cancel plans that you have been looking forward to all week. That’s why finding a reliable baby-sitter whom you can trust is so important. I learned the hard way!

If only Mary Poppins were real! Finding a reliable baby-sitter would be much easier.

If only Mary Poppins were real! Finding a reliable baby-sitter would be easier.

Ask friends or family

No one knows your struggle like the people who really know your kids. Asking friends and family is the best solution for finding a reliable baby-sitter, primarily because the kids are familiar with the person, and the person is familiar with your kids! Luckily, I live near my mum, and she loves looking after my boys. She does spoil the children with cakes and sweets, which I have my qualms about, but sometimes as a parent you need to be lenient.

But just because they are family or friends doesn’t mean you can get away with not thanking them properly. Try to do something nice to express your gratitude and make sure that they don’t feel taken advantage of, such as buying them a bottle of wine or treating them to dinner.

Young adults in the neighbourhood

For young adults, baby-sitting is a good way to earn pocket money and learn responsibility. But don’t leave your children in the care of just any teenager! Find someone in your neighbourhood whom you trust and who has a supportive family. That way, if anything goes wrong while you are out, you know that the baby-sitter’s family can help out in the meantime.

It is also important that your teenage baby-sitter is licensed in first aid. If you have someone in mind who isn’t, suggest that he or she complete a baby-sitting training course such as one offered by the Red Cross, which includes training on accident prevention, fire safety, and handling infants. It is also a good idea to arrange a play date with the baby-sitter and the kids to see how they get along.

Word of mouth and websites

There are various websites available, such as childcare.co.uk and sitters.co.uk that can help you in your search for a baby-sitter. Word of mouth is also a great way to find a reliable babysitter. Sometimes, however, mums and dads can be protective of their baby-sitter for fear of losing him or her!

But remember, just because a baby-sitter is good for someone else’s kids doesn’t always mean they are right for yours. No matter where you find a baby-sitter, make sure that you properly vet him or her before leaving your children in his or her care.

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