Saturday, March 24, 2012

Guest Post: Hiring Your First Real Babysitter

When Sara contacted me asking if I would be interested in having her guest post for my blog, I noticed right away that she was a nanny.  I couldn't let her expertise in childcare go to waste and asked her to write a post on a question that has been forefront in my mind: how should you go about finding a babysitter for the first time you need to leave your child?  My husband and I live far away from our family and have made only a few friends since we moved here last July, so if we have to attend a function (or want to go on a date) without Lucia, we will most likely have to find a stranger with which we feel comfortable leaving our daughter.  For me, and I assume for most moms, the idea of leaving our child with someone we don't know well is a little nerve-racking.  Hopefully Sara's tips will leave you with a little bit of peace about the process.  I'd love to hear any suggestions you veteran moms might have as well!


That first time your sister or mom can’t take care of your little one can be a scary thing. No matter the age of your child, finding a babysitter that is not related to you can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips on hiring your first real babysitter:

Where to find: Word of mouth. Ask around your neighborhood and family for reliable babysitters that they trust and use. Most of the time babysitters work for several different families and are happy to share their information if you want to contact them as references. If asking around your neighborhood doesn’t work there are plenty of professional sites that can help you find a babysitter online. Most of the sites do offer background and reference checks. 

What you should look for: There are a few things to consider when looking for a new babysitter, here is a checklist:
  • Age
  • Maturity level
  • Experience
  • Certifications
  • Love for children
  • References

Be prepared: Don’t overwhelm your new babysitter but be sure that you go over what is expected from them. Have a list of emergency numbers and notify your neighbor that is closest to you of your situation. They will most likely be happy to help if something were to happen. Keep calm and confident, your babysitter has done this before. And remember it is okay to call and check on the babysitter and your child but also be aware that you may drive the babysitter away if you doubt them too much. 

Test Run: If you are uncomfortable leaving your child at home with a babysitter for the first time, try a trial run before the actual day you need the babysitter. Run to the local grocery store for an hour and let the babysitter have some time with your child. Choose to run an errand that is within minutes of your home and choose to be gone no more than 2 hours and no less than hour. Once you arrive back home, speak with the babysitter and ask how they felt. If you sense hesitations then you know the babysitter was not comfortable. Slowly build your trust in your babysitter.  

Keep calm, be confident and prepared; your sitter knows what they are doing. It’s time to let go and let them do their job. The first time is always the scariest but no need to worry. Ask around for the right babysitter for you and good luck in your search!

Author Bio
Sara is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She also helps in providing information on nanny jobs through her writing. Contact her at


  1. Hi Mandi! I've been happily reading your blog for a couple of months now but decided to chime in since I, too, am a nanny. I work full time for one family but on weekends will sit for one of a few other families, all of whom I met through my employer and recommendations in our neighborhood playgroup. Besides CPR/AED and pediatric first aid certifications, recommendations should be the #1 consideration in choosing a nanny or sitter. Even if YOU personally don't know the sitter, at least if you can verify that someone else does, your mind will be at ease. Another way to go about it is to hire someone first as a "mother's helper", which is how I obtained my nanny job. I only worked a few hours each day alongside my employer, but during that period of a few months, she was able to share how she liked things done around the house, observe my interaction with the children, and allow the children to build a bond with me before leaving me for longer periods of time. Anyway, I certainly understand your reluctance to leave your daughter with a sitter you don't know! 

  2. Sarah, thank you so much for your comment.  I'm not ready to leave Lucia with someone we don't know yet, but I know it's going to come up sooner or later, so I'd like to be prepared.  You are so right about the recommendations being of utmost importance.

    Thank you for reading my blog.  I'm also glad you commented because it led to me hopping over to seeing your blog (and loving it).  I'll be keeping up with you as well!


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