School is back in session. And for many moms that means finding a reliable babysitter. Perhaps you had one that has moved onto other endeavors and therefore has returned back to school. Or maybe this is the very first time that you have taken the leap of faith to actually leave your child with someone other than family. Yikes!

Regardless of the reason, finding the right fit for your child can raise a lot of anxiety for many mothers. After all, we want someone that will offer them the care and attention they need while we are gone, and simultaneously help them to forget that we are actually gone! The search for this special person can feel very overwhelming. There are so many questions that must be answered: Do I want a grandmother type, young adult or teenage? How much is the right amount to pay? Do I pay per child or just per hour? Do I allow them to actually drive my children somewhere or do they need to stay home? Should they be expected to do some housework or just spend time with my child? What if we don’t get along with one another?

And to raise the anxiety level even higher, we have all heard our fair share of Sitter Horror Stories. So let’s hear it Moms! What solutions have you come up with regarding babysitters?

  • Susan has helped me in the past and I have passed the site on to a friend as well who just found a great nanny there. Potential sitters and nannies post a “profile” (sort of like e-harmony for babysitters) and moms can post an “ad” for whatever needs you have at the time. You wait to receive responses and reply to the applicants you feel are a good fit for your family. You can set up initial interviews and go from there. The site can conduct basic background checks for an additional small fee. I think Marcie made some great comments about asking tough questions in the beginning in order to find the right person for your family. If you think you can’t ask those questions, perhaps hire a boutique agency to help you with your search.

  • Marcie

    I am a community counselor for an Au Pair agency, so I have a lot to say on this subject. The first thing I do when I talk to a potential host family is find out as much as I can about them, their lifestyle, values, etc…and although they have access to a list of all the available au pair’s, I hand select a few I think may be a right fit for their family.

    A lot of times families think an au pair looks fun or pretty, but doesn’t notice potential red flags. I will give them an honest opinion about things I see that could possibly be an issue. Then, not only does the host family interview the potential au pair, but I have them give me a list of anything they want to know, but may not feel comfortable asking themselves, and I interview each applicant they’re considering. It’s so important to be clear about expectations from the beginning.

    So often, we interview sitters as potential friends rather than an employee who will also be a part of the family. I find that the families who allow me to conduct a second interview have au pair’s who fit their family like a glove and those who choose one they just “fell in love” with, often have issues during the year.

    I guess what I’m saying is to get someone who isn’t afraid to ask tough questions to conduct a second intervew and give you honest feedback and be clear and firm about your expectations. A sitter cannont follow your rules if they’re not clear.