I always considered the Back to School season a bit like a new
year, a new season where family routine and family arrangements are to be organized again. A new Babysitter or Nanny is often
required at that time. Finding the right person might seem like a complicated and stressful task, but in fact, with good preparation,
it is easier than you think. Follow these seven steps for a confident choice:
Step 1 - Do not rush when looking for a sitter. Before you start, take your time and think
of your household: number of children, age of children, temperament of each child, your family's working patterns, and distance
from public transport. This mental check will help you to define the type of person that would be most suitable for your family.
Step 2 - Make a list of exactly what you are looking for
in a sitter: experiences, qualifications, special skills, references and other characteristics. From the start establish the
budget you have to offer, the required schedule and the tasks a sitter will need to handle (childcare only or house tasks
as well). Stay true to what you are looking for.
3 - Different sources to find a sitter are available: be it nanny agencies, online services with detailed sitter
profiles or simply ads placed in classified sections. For a substantial fee, agencies offer a full service option with candidates'
validation and personalised matching. A much more affordable option is online services that provide families the option to
do their own matching with candidates' detailed profiles and selection tools. The free options are classified ads requiring
more time for research and bare a greater risk because the answers may come from any individual.
Step 4 - Do not rush the interviewing process. Have a list of questions that you
want to ask, and stick to it with each candidate so that you can compare apples to apples. A good interview process requires
a phone interview and then an in person interview so you can validate your feelings and see how the sitter reacts to your
child or children.
Step 5 - Check all
references. Ask for at least three personal references, and three work-related references. The number one question to ask
regarding work-related references is if they would be willing to re-hire the specific person. If the answer is no, ask for
a detailed explanation. If, by any chance, you cannot get a hold of a reference, ask for another. If that is not possible,
move on to the next potential hire. Personal references on the other hand will give you a good insight on the true personality
of the individual.
Step 6 - Request a
background check on the potential sitter that you have chosen. You must first have their consent, their social insurance number
and any aliases that they have used in the last few years. They will have to go to a local police station and request a background
check for a fee, or use services available on the Internet, also for a fee.
Step 7 - If you like what you see and hear and your instincts tell you it is the right person,
hire the sitter.
SOSsitter.ca is an online service where families can meet and contact local, experienced Babysittes and Nannies. All sitters have a Mom
approved profile for easy selection. The site provides a 4 step selection process for an informed and educated choice.