Every parent hopes and prays that they do not welcome evil disguised as a babysitter into their home. Whereas some parents are lucky to already have live-in nannies, others need temporary help to watch the kids while they are away.
Life is hectic and as a parent you need to relax once in a while otherwise you will have a nervous breakdown. If you have a work retreat coming up that you simply can’t miss, plan to have a sitter over as early as you can. Do not wait for the last minute. If you have a family member more than willing to take on the job then good for you, if you don’t – well – start searching early.
The most important thing when choosing a sitter is to find someone who is genuinely fond of kids. Anyone with zero tolerance for the little buggers won’t handle this task. This is why you must plan early so you can invite them over once in a while, perhaps for the kids to get used to them while also privately studying them.
Another dire factor in choosing a good sitter for your kids is making sure they are non smokers. The last thing you need is having your kids exposed to passive smoking. If possible, avoid the drinkers or if you have any alcohol in the house, lock it up in a cupboard somewhere. You don’t want your nanny drinking on the job either!
Make sure they are neat, organized and well groomed. If they have so much as a cracked nail or dirty ears, rescind! Health and hygiene go hand in hand so anyone who cannot meet those standards is sure to cause you nothing but high hospital bills.
Common sense and maturity should also be taken into serious consideration. For instance if you asked the sitter what they would do if a serious fire broke out and they said they would try to put it out instead of getting the kids and finding the nearest exit, do not go any further. You are not looking for a hero, you are looking for someone smart enough to know that they are not the fire brigade!
Try and choose one with relevant references – that means one who has been hired by someone you know. Check their credibility and relationship with past employers. When it comes to the safety of your kids, you can never be too careful. You don’t want to hire someone then realize when it is too late that they have a history of kidnapping children.
The sitter must have detailed knowledge of first aid procedures and cardiopulmonary resuscitation – also known as CPR. “I once came home to find that the sitter had been electrocuted. She tried to open the fridge with wet hands and no shoes and it nearly killed her. The electricity pulled her and wouldn’t let go of her. Lucky enough, my 12 year old daughter was home on holiday and hit her hand with a dry stick – something she learned in school,” says Joanna Karungi, mother of 4.
For the sake of safety, it is sensible to have a couple of interview sessions with your prospective baby sitters, preferably with some other family members present too.