When I gave birth to my older daughter, we didn’t leave her with a babysitter until she was 3 months old. I spent the entire evening at dinner with my husband weeping. How could anyone else besides me know how to hold her just so when she got to that fussy time of night? Would it be possible for her to even fall asleep in someone else’s arms?
Thankfully what I wasn’t worried about was our actual babysitter, who was a young work colleague I had known for a while and who had enough warmth and responsibility oozing out of her pores to make me feel comfortable leaving her with my firstborn.
However, when it came time to hire a regular babysitter for daytime hours, it was hard to know at first what I was looking for, as well as what I wasn’t looking for. Besides trusting your instinct, here are 5 things you should be wary of when looking to leave your wee one with an outsider (via BabyCenter.com):
1. Your baby becomes unusually anxious when the babysitter enters the house
Of course babies and kids love Mom and Dad the most, but if your child is visibly upset upon seeing the babysitter, and it seems like it’s not just because it means you’re leaving, that may be a sign that the babysitter isn’t as warm and fuzzy as you might have first thought. Not every babysitter is the right fit for every child.
2. You have no idea what they do during the day
Getting kids to tell you what they did during the day can be like pulling teeth. Painful. But the babysitter should be forthcoming about how the day was spent. Make sure you communicate to your babysitter that you’ll want to know how they spent the day. If you’re still not getting a straight answer (and it’s not a result of a language barrier), you might want to consider that maybe the babysitter is trying to hide something.
3. Bumps and bruises
Some kids are simply bumpier than others. But if your kid seems to end up with even more cuts and scrapes after a day with the babysitter, it’s entirely possible that your child isn’t being watched closely enough. Make it clear that your child is never to be left unattended during playtime and naptime.
4. It’s your kid and you’re the boss
It’s important to trust and empower the person you hire to watch your kid, but ultimately it’s your kid. How your child is raised is up to you. It’s nice to have input from others who spend a good deal of time with your baby, but make sure that your wishes are followed through.
5. Tardy for the Party
Babysitters are human and can be late or call in sick. But chances are the reason you have a babysitter in the first place is because you need to work and be somewhere on time. If your babysitter’s attendance record is spotty at best, you’re probably better off trying to find someone more reliable — particularly because who knows in what other ways the unreliable nature extends?
For more signs of a bad babysitter, and how to spot a good one, go to BabyCenter.com.