Choosing someone to care for your most precious possession (your child) in your absence is a major decision and should not be entered into lightly. You know that you will take care of your children and keep them safe. Transferring that responsibility for your child’s very life into the hands of another person is absolutely terrifying for some of us.
First of all, where does one look for a baby sitter? Is the teenager who lives down the block responsible and mature enough to take care of your little one? Does she know CPR? Is she cool enough to handle a crisis?
The best way to find a competent baby sitter is to ask your friends. Ask the people with whom you attend church or those you know through civic organizations. If they have kids, they hire sitters from time to time, and they are the people who are in the best position to know who is a competent baby sitter and who is a better than just competent baby sitter.
The things that you need to do before you leave your child with a sitter, no matter how highly recommended he or she comes, is to have a face-to-face meeting, with the children to be cared for present. Note the interaction between the sitter who is being considered and the child or children. You can spot a phony a mile away. All moms can. Note how the children relate to the person being considered. Get references and check them.
Be sure that you leave emergency contact information with the sitter. Be certain that you give explicit instructions about food, bedtimes, etc. Call home at least once while you are absent. A constantly busy phone is an indication that the children aren’t being cared for.