MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest nights of the year for babysitters, but unfortunately not even cupid can arrange a sitter to watch your children. So if extended family or friends are not available, many parents will have to hire a new sitter to look after the kiddos.
When hiring a new sitter, experts say ask about their experience with children. What age group are they equipped to watch and what are they most comfortable with?
“Just like a job interview, ask questions about how the sitter would handle certain situations. For example, how would they handle an emergency if a child needed to be driven to the doctor or ER?,” said Laura Davis, with College Nannies + Sitters + Tutors.
Child experts say mothers and fathers should go over screen time expectations for both the kids and the babysitter. “Let the sitter know your screen time rules. At College Nannies, Sitters and Tutors, we train our sitters to ask each family about their rules. They also ask what exactly “screen time” means. For instance, does it include TV, iPads and phones or is it just TV,” explained Davis.
College Nannies +Sitters + Tutors recommends that moms and dads call a new sitter the day before so they are not trying to have a conversation during the parent hand-off. “Go over all the house rules, all of the emergency numbers, any neighbors who can help and all allergy issues or treatment. You should also make sure the sitter knows of things to watch out for. If your child is always trying to sneak candy, let them know to watch for that," said Davis.
Child experts say all of these things are extra steps every parent should take before leaving their kids with an unfamiliar face. Setting clear rules for both the children and the babysitter will help eliminate extra stress for the parents. Davis says 'sitter rules' are constantly changing in the digital age. For information about College Nannies, Sitters and Tutors, click here.