The people we surround ourselves with have a huge impact on our day-to-day experience. Thoughts, feelings, and actions are directly influenced by the company we keep. The same holds true for your kiddo. How they experience the world around them is directly influenced by the people we surround them with. This fact alone can help direct our search for great babysitting options and also inspire us to see babysitting time as an opportunity to inspire, versus a utilitarian need to fulfill. Here are a few insights on how to find and introduce the best babysitter for your crew.
Look at Basic Details
If you are seeking a consummate professional, or at least someone with babysitting experience, look for the following details in a potential sitter: taking shoes off upon arrival, asking where to place personal items, washing hands before interacting with your kiddo, and asking questions in regards to routine and protocol. These details speak to experience in babysitting 101 and the ability to navigate the childcare space confidently and professionally.
Pay Attention to People Stuff versus Kid Stuff
Kid stuff, like learning about someone’s previous childcare experience, is important in knowing that a potential sitter can navigate anything that could pop up during the day. For example, CPR certification is certainly a useful qualification to have, but hopefully, there is a slim to none chance that they will need to use it with your child. However, people stuff, like discovering someone’s hobbies, quirks, interests, and goals, gives you insight into the type of person they will be around your kiddo and the type of behavior and experience they can offer. A sitter’s interests, personality traits, and life experiences will be a huge part of the time they spend with your child and should definitely be factored in, heavily, when finding someone to be with your family.
Find Out if You Really Like This Person
If someone is great on paper but you simply don’t perfectly gel with this person, then they’re not for you. For one, you are going to have to interface with this human a lot! The easier and more enjoyable this is, the better. Coming home 3 glasses of wine in after date night is much easier if you actually enjoy the interaction you are going to have with this person. Most importantly, though, children are receptors for their parents’ emotions and gut feelings. If you don’t jive well with a sitter, your child will, consciously or subconsciously, pick up on this and feel similarly.
Remember That Communication is Key
Once you’ve found a great fit, build in wiggle room so you can make sure it actually is a great fit versus sticking with a commitment for commitment’s sake. If you plan to do a recurring schedule, suggest a month-long trial to make sure it’s a great fit for everyone. Don’t be afraid to chat your head off early on. Assume nothing goes without saying. Are you neurotic about how the toys are put away? Do you strongly prefer your child wash their hands for 2 minutes before every snack? Make your needs known. Acknowledge that you know you may be a weirdo but want to share all the details. Most sitters truly appreciate explicit guidance. To boot, it’s far more difficult to course correct than to set clear expectations. As long as expectations are discussed kindly and respectfully, everyone appreciates and benefits from them.
- Make a list of all the things you want to share with a sitter (where you keep your kiddo’s extra clothes, where diapers and favorite toys can be found, how to find emergency and back up contact info, etc.) when you are focused and have a clear head. Cover these bases prior to the moment when you’re actually leaving so you are fully present to say goodbye to your wee one since the first time you leave your kiddo with someone can be overwhelming for you and for them.
- Subscribe to quick goodbyes & long hellos. Lingering when you are trying to leave is counter-intuitive to getting your child settled and happy. The more confident, quickly, and kindly you can leave the more confident and settled your child will be.
- Request in advance whatever is going to make you feel best while you are away. Some parents want hourly text updates. Some prefer not to be bothered at all unless it’s an emergency. I, myself, love getting photos via text throughout a babysitting session. Whatever you want is a fair ask. Make it known by specifically requesting the type of correspondence you’d like while you are out.
- Consider working with a team of great people versus one sitter only. Variety keeps the experience fresh for your sitter and for your kiddo, and it provides options if you or your sitter has an extenuating circumstance. Most importantly, though, working with multiple options empowers you to make the best decisions for your family. Rather than sticking with someone because they are your go-to or only available option, you are able to choose who is truly the best fit for your little one for any given situation.
Have fun! If you did all these things it means you are having “me” time, even if it is for work or running errands (NYC parents have crazy schedules!). And also, you found great babysitters in New York your kiddo is stoked to spend time with! That’s enough to put a smile on everyone’s face.