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Don't Just Put an Ad In the Paper
The Best Ways to Find the Right Babysitter
When searching for someone to watch your children, ads in the paper or online might have their place, but you never know who's going to be reading them. You will have to be extra cautious with any interviewees with such an approach, and make sure their references are impeccable. Even then, it's a risk. There are better ways, however. Let someone else do some screening for you first, and maybe the extra layers of checking can give you a bit more peace of mind.
One way to do this is by getting references from people you already know and trust. If a friend has had a positive experience with their babysitter, or one they needed in the past, there's a good chance the same caregiver would work for you, too. Of course, just because someone is your friend doesn't mean you will have the same expectations about what a babysitter should be. Ask the referrer for details, and don't skimp on your interview with the actual sitter. This is especially the case if your children are of a different age than your friends were while the sitter was taking care of them. Any children, but particularly those of different ages, can have radically different needs, and these can require skills the sitter may or may not have.
... for the real maximum in choices and convenience, along with easily-viewable basic information about candidates, an online babysitting service may be your best bet.
Another place to look into are institutions that offer babysitting courses. These can be community organizations like the YMCA, libraries, community education centers or even local colleges. Such places may have lists of potential babysitters you know would at least be interested, and have had some training for the job. You may also be able to talk to the people running the programs to get their opinions on the most qualified candidates, and even advice on what to look for.
However, for the real maximum in choices and convenience, along with easily-viewable basic information about candidates, an online babysitting service may be your best bet. Babysitting services have been around for a long time, but with the internet age, they've become easier than ever to make contact with and get the needed information from. Generally a babysitter service will charge parents a fee in order to view potential babysitters, while the babysitters list themselves for free. The additional cost might well be worth it, though, as it enables you to possibly learn a lot about potential sitters before ever contacting them, saving you time and hassle.
Finding a babysitter doesn't have to be all that difficult. While it is an important decision, there are generally going to be a relative abundance of choices, regardless of the method you choose to search. There are tradeoffs to be made, of course. A more experienced sitter will be more expensive, just as with any other job. Costs will vary by region as well. In some areas, such as around New York City, the average hourly pay of babysitters is twice the national average. Get a clear idea of what you are looking for and what you can reasonably expect, and your search will likely be successful.
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