Casual Babysitting

Choosing a babysitter

Once you've established a core group of reliable babysitters, you'll wonder how you ever did without them. But how do you choose a babysitter? How do you know you can trust them with your children? And how do you leave your kids with them for the first time?

Choosing a babysitter:

As a general rule of thumb, the younger the child being cared for, the more mature you want the babysitter to be. You need to find someone who has the right amount of maturity, but who can still have fun with your child. And while there is no legal minimum age for babysitters and young people mature at different ages, generally a young child needs a mature adult who is capable of attending to all their needs.

The older the charge, the less hands-on help they need, so the younger the babysitter can be. Generally, a sixteen year-old who can easily look after your eight year-old, will find caring for an eight month-old beyond their capabilities.

Obviously, age isn't the only thing you need to consider when choosing a babysitter. If you are considering employing a babysitter who is unknown to you, ask for references - and then make sure that you ring and check them.

What should I ask a prospective babysitter?

While you interview any would-be babysitter, always keep in mind that they will be spending time with your children, so ultimately you've got to try to judge whether your child will enjoy there company - do they have a suitable temperament? Do you think your child will click with them? Are they engaging to talk to? Beyond that, you should also ask some practical questions to see if they tick all your boxes:

  • Do you have any references?
  • What is your previous experience looking after children? What ages were they?
  • Do you have any first aid training?
  • What would you do in an emergency?
  • What do you like best about babysitting?
  • What would you do if you were unsure about how to handle a situation?
  • What are you interested in doing with my child while I'm absent?

 

REMEMBER!

This is your chance to get to know your babysitter - ask all the questions you want to, even if they do seem trivial.

 

How much should I pay my babysitter?

Babysitting rates are usually hourly, and can vary from babysitter to babysitter. When you're negotiating a rate, consider the following:

  • How many children will they be looking after?
  • What are the ages of the children (how much hands-on care will they be required to give?)
  • How long will you need to hire them for?
  • Will there rate increase for any time worked after midnight?
  • What do other families in the neighbourhood pay?
  • How old is your babysitter and how much experience do they have?

If your babysitter is young (and can't drive), organise with them beforehand how they will be getting to and from your house.

Common Sense Advice. Share your experiences, tips and advice on the Kidspot Forum.

This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot.



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