Not all parents are lucky enough to have a family member (a doting granny or aunt) or friend who is willing to offer free babysitting services at the drop of hat. A lot of parents have to rely on professional babysitting services, and if you find yourself in this position and are looking to hire the perfect babysitter, here are a few tips on how you can find the right babysitter for you.
Many parents (especially moms) may find it very difficult to leave their baby in the hands of a stranger. However, before you shake your head and swear blindly that you’ll never do it – there will come a time when you need to attend a wedding or a party or where you simply need some -me’ time. Rather than rushing around hours before an event, explore the options that are available to you.
Sitters 4 U is South Africa’s very own babysitters club. The company offers supervisory care of children on an as-needed basis for an evening or over a weekend. The fees for the services are reasonable and parents have the option to sign up for a 6 month babysitting contract or a yearly contract. A contract entitles parents to use the services as often as they are needed for the duration of the contract. The cost for a 6 month contract is R700 and a yearly contract carries a fee of R1200.00. If however, parents prefer to use the services on an hourly basis, the fees range from R60.00 per hour to R75.00 (the fee charged depends on the number of children).
By registering on the club’s website (www.sitters4u.co.za) interested parents can find out how to join the club and they can also view detailed profiles of all babysitters in their area. Profiles contain detailed information on the sitter’s experience.
Advantages of professional babysitters
Since Sitters 4 U is determined to offer the best level of babysitting services, they ensure that sitters are reference checked. When making use of the services offered, parents are assured of the fact that Sitters 4 U has completed a thorough background check on the candidate. With most of the sitters having their own transport, in the event of an emergency situation, the sitter is able to react accordingly. This once again offers peace of mind to parents. The greatest benefit offered by professional babysitters is that the sitter caring for your child is trained in First Aid, and this means that should a crisis arise, the caregiver can respond in the correct manner.
Alternatives to professional babysitters
Even though the costs of Sitters 4 U are reasonable, the hourly costs for sitting may be too pricey for parents to afford. However there are other methods to find excellent and reliable babysitters.
Teen babysitters – If you have friends who have teen daughters, ask if they would be willing to babysit for a few hours. Most teen girls are more than capable of caring for children and what’s more they charge a lot less. If you are considering going this route, ensure that the teen sitter is given a list of do’s and don’ts and explain exactly what is expected of her! Arrange a get together before she babysits and take note of how she responds or reacts to your child or children.
Not all good babysitters belong to professional babysitting clubs. You can find many great babysitters on online classified sites or in local newspapers, or they can be referred by friends. Before setting up a meeting with a potential babysitter, be sure to ask them about their previous sitting or childcare experiences, if they have references and what are their hourly rates? Follow up with references (even if they have been referred to by friends) and before you hand over your precious baby – arrange a meeting. Ask important questions like how the sitter would react in an emergency.
If you are stuck for a babysitter, why not approach your child’s crÃ¨che? There are some nursery school teachers or helpers at the school who moonlight as babysitters and if your child’s teacher is a babysitter by night – your problems are solved. Your child will feel comfortable with a sitter who they are familiar with and you are afforded the peace of mind that your child will be in the best possible hands. Remember to negotiate a fair rate.
What to expect from a sitter?
When you hire a babysitter, bear in mind that her primary function is to care for the children while you are out. This means that she is expected to tend to their needs, such as bathing and feeding. Babysitters are different from au-pairs in that an au-pair will help older children with their homework and transport them to extramural activities. Some au-pairs may be expected to lend a hand with cooking and light cleaning. If you are hiring a babysitter on an as-needed basis, you’re expected to pay on an hourly basis and payment should be made straight away. Most families leave enough food for the sitter and kids and they also rent movies or have games on hand to keep kids entertained.
Don’t forget to leave a detailed list of contact numbers for the babysitter, in case of an emergency and if your child suffers from asthma or any other type of serious illness, it is critical that the babysitter is informed and she knows what must be done if the child has an asthma attack, etc.
A reliable babysitter is worth her weight in gold and her services will allow you to go out and enjoy the company of your partner or adult friends. If you have been lucky enough to find the perfect babysitter – look after her!