As parents, we seem to make a lot of excuses not to hire a babysitter but it’s important for parents to take time out – whether it’s a relaxing time for yourself or a night out to watch Ed Sheeran. Every parent should have a babysitter or two up their sleeves.

One of the most common excuses is that they find it extremely difficult to find a suitable babysitter, especially when family members are not available to help. Where do you even start and what do you need to look out for?

Here are 4 non-negotiables when hiring a babysitter to minimise any heartache and give you peace of mind

1. Safety first my friends – ensure your babysitter is current in their first aid, CPR & police checks.

No one likes a bad egg (and sometimes hard to smell one) so always ensure your potential babysitter is current in their first aid and CPR certifications.

Accidents happen, so knowing what to do in an emergency is important. Ensure your first aid kit at home is well stocked and a list of emergency contact numbers is well within reach.

And of course, if you’re in Australia then your babysitter must have a current working with children check (WWCC). A WWCC is a requirement for people who work or volunteer in child-related work. It involves a national criminal history check and a review of findings of workplace misconduct.

2. Got the skills? Ensure your babysitter has relevant experience and check their references.

The Babysitters Club were a bunch of 11-13-year-old babysitters in the US. It maybe worked back then but times have changed.

Most parents ask for referrals from friends which is helpful to know. But be cautious with referrals from social media groups such as Facebook parenting groups. Make sure you still dot the i’s and cross the T’s by checking their credentials and references.

No matter how ‘mature’ he or she may seem, make sure they have experience with looking after children the same age as your child. Treat it almost like an informal interview. It’s perfectly reasonable to ask questions like, “if my baby is screaming and crying, what would you do?”

To take some stress away, you can find formal babysitting agencies such as FindFran who can provide experienced babysitters, often at short notice. Agencies conduct police checks to find out whether potential employees have any prior convictions recorded against them. They also ensure the people on their books are of good character reference checks and have a current WWC

3. Try before you ‘buy’ – Invite the babysitter over before you actually need their services.

Hire your babysitter as a ‘trial’ before you need them. You can have them come over at least 30 minutes before you need to leave.

A trial ensures you see how they interact with your children and allow them to become familiar with each other.

4. Show and tell – make it easier for the babysitter by showing where everything is.

Make your babysitter’s job a little easier by showing them where all the supplies are such as first aid kit, nappies, milk and food. Every child is different so your babysitter should know whether your baby has any allergies, medical conditions, best way to soothe them to sleep and their eating habits.

Don’t be shy about giving detailed instructions on how you’d like things done. It’s better to be over-prepared.

Tell us a how you found a babysitter for your child? Let us know how easy (or hard) it was?

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