Tips for Finding the Right Caregiver
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Finding the right person to care for your children while you’re away from home can be a daunting and sometimes a stressful task. Use these tips to help find the perfect sitter for you and your family:
1. Set your priorities
What’s most important to you and your family? Ask questions related to your parenting style to address topics such as discipline, safety, learning activities, and engagement.
2. Discuss the job basics
You should treat this interview like any other job interview and discuss pay, vacation, sick time, hours and schedule, etc. Laying out these details in advance will provide clear expectations on both sides, as well as help avoid future issues.
3. Come up with an appropriate pay rate
Nanny and sitter pay rates depend on many different factors. Is your nanny full-time or part-time? Do you live in a city or out in the suburbs? How many kids do you have and what are their ages? A good way to determine the going rate in your specific area is to ask around to find out what other families in your area are paying.
4. Listen to your instincts
When you talk to a candidate, try to get a good sense of their personality. Trust your initial instincts on whether a potential nanny would be a good fit or not.
5. Practice open communication
In any successful working relationship, communication is essential. Issues often arise when clear expectations are not set from the start. If you’re uptight about a spotless house, say so. If you’re a stickler for teeth brushing, say so. The easiest way to avoid this is to discuss all relevant topics during the interview, and again after they’ve been hired.
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Here are some more tips below. You can also find more tips on the Sittercity.com Website.
Watch for caregiver warning signs
Warning signs include lack of energy and enthusiasm, a patronizing attitude, or reluctance to change. Additional signs include the caregiver blaming your child for problems or issues they didn’t cause or demanding a level of perfect behavior no child could meet.
Watch for child warning signs
The following signs could indicate something more serious than a poor match:
Child’s behavior changes drastically (becomes excessively clingy or aggressive)
Child cries, screams, and begs you not to leave when the caregiver arrives
Child develops unexplained bruises, cuts, or burns
Child loses appetite or starts having recurrent nightmares
Child acts disinterested when caregiver arrives
These are just a handful of examples. If you observe any warning signs, take action immediately.
Check in frequently to monitor progress
Good communication with your caregiver will lead to a good relationship. Be sure to get at least a five-minute report when you return home. Once a month, sit down with your caregiver and get her perspective on how things are going.
Ask your kids questions
Ask your children open-ended questions about their day, but try not to judge or lead during the discussion. Respect your children’s feelings and always take them seriously, especially negative comments.
Pay attention to changes in your children’s behavior
Keep an eye out for sudden behavioral changes, drastic mood swings, or any of the warning signs we mentioned above. As for your caregiver, pay attention to suspicious decisions or actions.
Ask a neighbor to keep an eye out
Enlist a trusted neighbor to keep a casual eye on things when you’re gone. Ask them to let you know if anything seems questionable.
Come home unannounced
An unexpected drop-in lets you see how your caregiver interacts with your child. It’s a great way to get a feel for how things are going when you’re not there.
Install a nanny cam
Installing a nanny cam often helps parents ease any fears about leaving their child with a caregiver.
Leaving your child with a new caregiver can be tough; with these tips, you’ll feel more secure and confident that you’ve found the right fit for your family. In return, your caregiver will feel trusted and valued — a great start to a strong relationship with one of the most important people in your child’s life.
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