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The first time I left my son alone with a babysitter was err, nerve-wracking, to put it mildly. My brain was consumed with one too many scary scenarios, but I’ve slowly learned to tell my type A personality to chill out. What I didn’t mention is that the “babysitter” was his grandmother. Now that he’s becoming a little boy, I realize how important it is for him to socialize with new people. So I’m making an active effort to find a “real” sitter that I feel safe leaving my son with. I know, tall order.
Here are a few tips that I hope may help you in your search:
- Ask Around. My husband and I are currently building a home in a new development with young families. The neighborhood has a private Facebook group where you can ask for referrals. Since we’re not living there yet my husband and I will meet any potential caregivers first, but this is a great resource that we’re excited about.
- Approach Babysitters. When I take my son to playgroups I always like to watch babysitters interact with children they watch. I was recently at an open gym session with my son and saw a babysitter who seemed so wonderful. I decided to go up to her and introduce myself. This was a total score for me and she was very receptive to my approach. Seeing her in action gave me a realistic snapshot of how she cares for children.
- College Alumni Network. Many colleges have private online networks where you can interview a student to see if they may be a potential fit. You can also post a job outlining your needs and qualifications. When I was in college I was a nanny for parents who were alums. This can be a great option if you live near your former school.
- Parenting Groups. Find a local online parenting group where you can chat with other parents. You may find more than a babysitter here, but that’s the beauty of a group like this. Most groups meet in person too, so it’s a great way to make friends.
It’s tough for most parents to leave their child alone with someone new, but it’s healthy for your whole family. Parents get breaks, and kids get to meet and interact with new people. Now, I still have yet to leave my son with a babysitter, but I promise I’m getting there! I may need to get a nanny cam though.