Tips On Selecting The Perfect Sitter
Sittercity is the leading online child care solution, connecting families nationwide with babysitters and nannies who meet their unique needs. We are the largest and most trusted source for families to find local in-home caregivers quickly and easily. Every three seconds, we connect a family and a caregiver.
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1. Start by screening potential candidates
Review caregiver profiles: When you receive applicants for a job or search local caregivers, closely review their experience, education, certifications, and hourly rate.
Read parent reviews: See what other Sittercity parents who’ve hired a particular caregiver in the past have to say. Their insight about a caregiver’s performance and personality can help you decide if someone is a good fit for your family.
Run Basic Background Checks: It is important to know that background checks are not automatically run on caregivers. So once you have a short list of candidates, we recommend you run a Basic Background Check on each one. This preliminary check will search county court records to see if their names appear. If a candidate does not pass this part of the screening process, we’ll remove them from the site for the safety of all Sittercity families.
2. Interview candidates to identify your top picks
Reach out to your short list: We recommend when you connect with a potential caregiver, you communicate through the Sittercity website and don’t give your last name, personal e-mail address, home address, phone number, place of work or other identifying information in initial messages.
Conduct phone interviews: Start with a brief phone interview with candidates you’d like to get to know. Just ten minutes over the phone can help you determine a lot about their professionalism, personality, and experience.
Meet for in-person interviews: Now you should have a good feeling about which caregivers might be a good hire. Meet your final list of candidates face-to-face to ask more in-depth questions. You’ll want to make sure you’re both on the same page about job specifics, discipline, responsibilities, and any other expectations you may have. For your initial in-person interview, you should meet the caregivers at a coffee shop or other popular public place with other people around.
Get kid approval: Even if you’re already leaning towards a particular candidate, be sure to introduce them to your children to see how everyone interacts. If things go well, your kids could help you identify the top candidates.
3. Verify your caregiver’s history and background
Check references: Reach out to the references listed on the caregiver’s profile to gain additional insight, and don’t hesitate to request more references. Be sure to verify the information your potential caregiver has given you is correct and ask questions about how she performed on the job.
Look for clues elsewhere online: Chances are your potential caregivers have several online profiles that can provide clues about their personality and hobbies. Search caregiver names online and check out social media activity to spot any red flags.
Run a more comprehensive background check: If you’ve only run Basic Background Checks on your short list of sitters, before selecting your final candidate you should run an Enhanced Background Check. If your caregiver will be driving your children, we recommend you run a Motor Vehicles Records Check as well.
4. Monitor the relationship to ensure its still a good fit
Watch for caregiver warning signs: Warning signs include lack of energy and enthusiasm, a patronizing attitude, or reluctance to change. Additional signs include the caregiver blaming your child for problems or issues they didn’t cause or demanding a level of perfect behavior no child could meet.
Watch for child warning signs: The following signs could indicate something more serious than a poor match:
- Child’s behavior changes drastically (becomes excessively clingy or aggressive)
- Child cries, screams, and begs you not to leave when the caregiver arrives
- Child develops unexplained bruises, cuts, or burns
- Child loses appetite or starts having recurrent nightmares
- Child acts disinterested when caregiver arrives
Check in frequently to monitor progress: Good communication with your caregiver will lead to a good relationship. Be sure to get at least a five-minute report when you return home. Once a month, sit down with your caregiver and get her perspective on how things are going.
Ask your kids questions: Ask your children open-ended questions about their day, but try not to judge or lead during the discussion. Respect your children’s feelings and always take them seriously, especially negative comments.
Pay attention to changes in your children’s behavior: Keep an eye out for sudden behavioral changes, drastic mood swings, or any of the warning signs we mentioned above. As for your caregiver, pay attention to suspicious decisions or actions.
Ask a neighbor to keep an eye out:Enlist a trusted neighbor to keep a casual eye on things when you’re gone. Ask them to let you know if anything seems questionable.
Come home unannounced: An unexpected drop-in lets you see how your caregiver interacts with your child. It’s a great way to get a feel for how things are going when you’re not there.
Install a nanny cam: Installing a nanny cam often helps parents ease any fears about leaving their child with a caregiver.
Entrusting someone with your children is a difficult process indeed, however Sittercity is here to make it significantly easier. They are here to ensure that you find only the best possible candidates that fit your family.