Every parent is keenly aware of just how challenging it is to manage children. Establishing a rapport with, devising ways and means to entertain children and keep them from getting into each other's hair is not everyone's cup of tea.
Naturally, the first choice when it comes to babysitting is the tried and trusted family members with whom kids would have an existing relationship. But, the good fortune of having family members living in the vicinity is rare. The alternative is to hire a babysitter.
Hiring a Babysitter:
One option is to hire a babysitter based in your neighbourhood. The advantages are that the sitter would most probably be already known to your children and it would be easier to procure feedback about the prospective babysitter – the ability to bathe children, change diapers, feed them, the engagement level with children, etc.
Babysitting is usually compensated on an hourly basis and the rates charged by neighbourhood babysitters are generally reasonable. Most neighbourhood babysitters are older teenagers looking to shore up family finances or boost their own income levels for vacation expenses, etc.
The second option is to search the internet or the yellow pages for babysitting services. Or you can take the help of mobile apps who will provide verified and secured babysitters. These agencies retain babysitters for assignment to households who seek their services.
Babysitters from Agencies:
There are pros and cons for contracting a babysitter from an agency. While there is a general view that it is easier to make arrangements for a babysitter from among the families in your neighbourhood at short notice or for single occasions, there are professional agencies that also satisfy the short notice and single request calls from parents for babysitting services.
With the neighbourhood arrangement, hiring any babysitter for repeat occasions is not a complicated issue. Agencies may not be able to guarantee that the babysitter, with whose services you were so satisfied that last time, will be available for your current requirement.
The upside is that the babysitters on the rolls of the agencies are qualified in childcare and have considerable experience in looking after children of all ages. When you make a local arrangement for babysitting, you are restricted in your selection and compelled to make the most of the skills available.
Dealing with a professional babysitting agency makes it easy to spell out any specific requirement that you may have, any skills that you would like the babysitter to have and any peculiarities or idiosyncrasies of your children which the sitter should be equipped to deal with.
Agencies are professionally managed and your inputs will be carefully documented and taken into consideration while assigning the babysitter. It is advisable to intimate your requirement to the agency at least 5 to 7 days in advance, as the process of matchmaking and getting a babysitter who is the right fit for your children may take time.
Assessment and Feedback:
Whatever the modus operandi you decide upon for appointing a babysitter, remember to carry out stringent reference checks. You will be handing over your children into the care of a third person and, therefore, you just cannot be too careful about the character of the babysitter. This is usually taken care of when you hire a professional firm, who do such checks on your behalf.
Even after the reference checks come out clear, if you experience an indeterminate feeling of discomfort when interacting with the babysitter, go with your gut feeling and look for another sitter. At the end of the sitting, if your children are old enough, get feedback from them about the sitter that will contribute to a decision regarding the future appointment.