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Q&A: Hiring a Babysitter

The following was published on SupportForSpecialNeeds.com.

Candi Wingate

Candi Wingate, Found and President of Nannies4Hire.com/Care4Hire.com

Candi Wingate is the founder of Nannies4hire.com, Babysitters4hire.com, Care4hire.com and a Nanny Agency. After becoming a nanny and working in a nanny agency for several years, she purchased the successful Nannies4hire.com, one of the largest, most successful online nanny and family database serving the United States and Canada. Babysitters4hire.com/Care4hire.com is an online database for families and caregivers to search babysitters, housekeepers, tutors, elder/companion care, pet sitters and other miscellaneous service. She hasn’t stopped there. Besides relationships with Dr. Phil, Supernanny, TLC, receiving the Mom’s Choice Award and a Finalist for the Stevie Award, Candi has plans for more growth to be announced soon. Since 1987, Candi and her services been helping wonderful families and nannies.

1. How can parents figure out the going rate for a babysitter with a few more skills than a regular sitter?

The going rate for a babysitter is going to depend on their past experience, job duties involved and geographic location. If the babysitter has college education or special medical training they are going to earn more than another sitter.

2. What special attributes does a babysitter for special needs kids need? What should a parent look for?

Parents should look for a patient babysitter who will accept the child for who they are and has the ability to stay calm during any special situations that may arise.

3. What sorts of things should I do to make it easier for an occasional babysitter? For example, if kids need a lot of meds — how can a parent make sure her kids get the right dose and get it on time?

Have an organizational chart – charting out the times the child needs their medicine. You will also want the babysitter to know the specific schedule of the child, so they can stick with a routine.

4. For parents who are nervous about leaving their kids with a new sitter, what kinds of things they can do to feel better about it?

Have the babysitter come over on a separate day while the parents are present for trial period. Make sure they leave detailed instructions with the sitter, so they know exactly what to expect and do while the parents are gone.

5. How can parents prepare kids for the sitter?

You may want to have your child be present during babysitter interviews. You can observe how the babysitter candidates interact with your child and an initial connection can develop before your child is alone with the babysitter. If your child is old enough, your child may actively participate in the selection of his new babysitter. Make sure that you exhibit love for your child as soon as you return home (or as soon as he wakes up after you return home). Tell your child that you missed him. Ask him how he spent his time while you were apart.

6. How can parents get out the door easily without setting the kids off?

Do babysitters mind if parents have to leave while a child is still crying? Be empathetic but firm. As you prepare your child for each babysitter visit that may generate separation anxiety, acknowledge how difficult it is for him and remind him how brave/strong/independent he is. Remind him of other things he has done which fit the descriptive(s) you have used. Draw a parallel between his situation and how he thinks his hero (a fictional or real character that he esteems) would handle the situation. Do not make fun of or punish him for his feelings. Also, do not attempt to bribe him out of his feelings. Choose your departure times wisely. If he is hungry or needing a nap, or if he is experiencing stress or restlessness for any reason, he will be more prone to separation anxiety than if you departed after nap and snack time, for example. Babysitters do not mind the parents leaving a crying child. In most cases, the children are fine a few minutes after the parents are gone.

7. How often can a parent check in with a sitter without making her nuts or feel micromanaged?

When you first use a babysitter, plan a brief outing. Go out for dinner with your spouse and return within two hours. As your child adapts to being babysat, you can increase the amount of time you spend away. You may also want to return home at an early, unplanned time – to check in to see how the sitter is doing.

8. What can parents do to make their home welcoming for a sitter?

Show the babysitter where things are, how to reach you if he/she has questions and leave clear directions and expectations.