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Finding the Right Babysitter

Read what our moms have to say and join the discussion yourself.

You met the  and have come back each Wednesday to read what they have to say on the newest parenting question. Recently, we invited Wantagh-Seaford Patch parents to join the discussion. 

How do you find a babysitter you trust? How do you know when the right babysitter comes along, and how do you make sure your rules are enforced and your child behaves while you're gone?

Jane Cappiello

“Hurry up! Let’s get out of here!” These words resound in my memory. I picture my husband and myself escaping into darkness, running across our front lawn, jumping into the car, riding away (quickly) leaving our children (family A) with a baby sitter.

Our children’s babysitters consisted of family members, teenagers from the neighborhood, especially from our own street (it was a short escort home after 12 a.m.), reliable ex-students, my children’s classroom helpers and siblings of my children’s peers. I am truly resourceful when it comes to hiring the perfect sitter.

When family B was formed, (he is now 12 years old), my older children took the place of neighborhood employees. Now that they are grown and live their own plans-as it should be- I am seeking a new round of young adults (usually, my older children’s friends) to help with our youngest son. 

Relying on my instincts in choosing a baby sitter always works out best for me. I make a conscious effort to hire a teenager. These young adults are innovative, reliable, honest, have a great sense of humor and do not allow little upsets to bother them. They are looking for some extra cash also. Family members are a big help in a pinch, but in my opinion, teenagers as babysitters rule.  

Kathleen Vaughan Ware

Personally, I have only had family members babysit for my children. This of course meant none of my rules were enforced while I was out.

After 23 years, I have come to the conclusion that my sainted mother has no idea how to say “no” to her grandchildren. It never ceases to amaze me how this former no nonsense, take no crap, tough Irish parent has morphed into a teddy bear.

When my sisters and I were kids, we had a strict 8:30 p.m. lights out bedtime, at least until middle school. Rarely did we even get up to go to the bathroom after that for fear of the “Why aren’t you sleeping!” yell. Oh how the tides would change once my mother took on the title of “Nana”.

Nana Rules are the only ones enforced when she babysits, and they are often created by her as my children get older. Once, when my daughter Erin was a few months old, I remember Nana coming to spend the weekend with us. As my husband and I were leaving, I clearly remember telling my mother not to take the baby out of the crib if she cried. We returned a few hours later to find Erin sound asleep on my mother’s chest. I looked at her and rolled my eyes. “Babies like to fall asleep to the sound of a heartbeat” she matter of factly stated.  

When she babysat a few years later, I came home to find Nana and my children inhaling pints of ice cream way past their bedtime curfew. I glanced in disbelief at my mother. “They were practically starving to death,” she deadpanned, and quickly retreated into the guest room.

My friends use local teenagers to babysit, and they love them. Some of the teens have Red Cross babysitting certification, and a few even bring crafts for the kids. I recently told my daughter I was thinking of hiring one of the girls to babysit, to which she quickly replied, “You can’t! That will hurt Nana’s feelings!” When I asked her why she thought hiring someone for a few hours would hurt my mother’s feelings, she simply said “Cause Nana told me there’s no reason anyone else should ever watch me”. Nana Rules.         

Eileen Patrich April 27, 2011 at 07:13 PM
Another Wednesday chuckle!! I look forward to your column each week, I just noticed the comment section, keep up the good work! Life is so stressful sometimes it's nice to enjoy a midday laugh.
Candi April 28, 2011 at 04:27 PM
You are preparing to hire a babysitter for the first time. What all do you need to do to be well prepared for successfully employing a babysitter? A brief list follows. Determining what job tasks you want the babysitter to perform (just childcare? feeding? house cleaning? transporting? administering medications?) Determining what traits and skills you will seek in a babysitter (based on the job tasks above) Determining what you are willing to pay a babysitter (usually expressed in dollars per hour worked) Determining what you are willing to do for your babysitter (transporting her to/from your house, allowing her to snack on items in your fridge, etc.) Determining your preferred method of recruitment (word of mouth, advertising on a school campus, conducting an on-line search, etc.) Determining your timeline (by what date do you wish or need to have a babysitter hired?) Preparing a list of interview questions to ask prospective babysitters Begin recruitment Select the candidates that possess the traits and skills you seek . . . schedule those candidates for interviews, and send polite rejection letters to the non-selected candidates Interview the selected candidates Narrow the pool of candidates to two or three that are best qualified for the job Schedule those two or ... http://tinyurl.com/y9vhrv3
CariAnne April 28, 2011 at 07:26 PM
Very funny! My mother "Grammie" babysits for us and we know as soon as we close the door she will spoil our children rotten. We are lucky to have her.

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