If you have just started looking around for right babysitter for your child and are quite anxious then don’t fear. There are lots of ways to find a qualified person to care for your child. A good strategy would be to spread a word in your social circle. Calling professional babysitting agencies and placing ads in the newspaper can also help you search for one.

How do I choose a babysitter?

It obviously depends on your needs. If your child is going to be alone with the sitter, then probably you need a sitter who is old and has enough experience in doing her job. However, if you plan to be at home and just need an extra pair of hands, preteens can also be a good choice.

Age isn’t the only factor, talk to her about her previous childcare experience and gauge your comfort level with her personally. Collect references and contact them. When you call, ask detailed questions about how long they’ve known the sitter, the ages of the children the sitter cared for, and what responsibilities were involved.

Most importantly, if your child is an infant, be sure your babysitter is experienced in caring for very young children and has taken courses in infant CPR and first aid.

Apart from other basics, ask how she relates to children. Ask questions that are open-ended to get a more complete answer. Try asking questions like “Why do you like working with children?” and “What do you like best about babysitting?” Try to judge her from the responses.

Lastly, ask her about her personal habits — like smoking or drinking — that you’d object to. If language is important to you, be clear and ask.

Remember, there’s no such thing as an irrelevant question when it comes to your child’s safety and well-being.

How much should I pay?

Babysitting rates depend on a lot of factors. The spending capacity, your demands and expectations from the sitter, whether there’s any cooking or driving involved, all affect the cost one would have to pay for hiring a sitter.

Ask neighbors and other parents how much they pay to get a good idea of the ongoing rate. At times, the sitter may also set her own rates, or her references may help you determine what to offer.

How can I prepare my babysitter for the job?

The first time a sitter works for you, ask her to arrive half an hour before your scheduled departure. This will give her time to learn more about you, your house, and, of course, your child.

Alternatively, you can try upon the sitter for a few days before actually fixing up. Ask them to come over and play with your baby a few times while you’re at home. Use the time to take care of household and personal tasks, knowing that if trouble erupts, you’re only a room away. Walk her through the kitchen and show her where you store all the baby care supplies.

Give her all the information about important numbers before you leave on her.

How do I establish a good relationship with my sitter?

Remember to treat your babysitter with respect. Don’t ask her to do things beyond the scope of what you originally discussed. Tell her specifically what you’ve noticed that she does well. This will increase her confidence and reinforce your instructions. She’ll understand better how you want her to behave with your child.