Help finding a sitter - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-22-2010, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is 2.5 and I've never had a babysitter. I've asked neighbors/friends/family to watch him here and there, but other than family he's never been left for more than and hour or so.

After reading some of the posts here and elsewhere, I really don't want to find a sitter! DH and I should have a date night each week, but we only do it once a month or less, whenever DS is with his grandparents for a weekend. The only neighbor he knows well enough is now sickly, so she doesn't have the energy to stay with him after a long day at work. A trusted friend had her niece staying/working with them this summer. The woman is in her mid-twenties, never finished school due to a lack of commitment, has never held a job, has no idea what she wants to do with her life, etc. So the friend took her under her wing for the summer, and hired her to work for their business. She apparently was only part-time, b/c she introduced herself to me, and let me know she's available for dog- house- and baby-sitting.

Since I trust my friend, I figured I could trust her family. Yeah, the niece has had some personal issues in her past, but I don't hold youthful mistakes against people. Or at least I try not to. Something just didn't sit right with me, and I just never got around to introducing her to DS to see if he'd be comfortable being left with her.

Come to find out weeks later, the niece has not been showing up for work at the family business, stopped taking her meds cold turkey, and turned out to be so irresponsible that my friend's 20 year old son had to go stay at their house with her to make sure nothing went really wrong while they were away. They are sending her home next week.

I feel bad for having hesitated, b/c I think I was a little prejudiced about her past. But now it seems like I was right! So how am I supposed to find a sitter when I am suspicious of everyone, and have been proven right too many times to count (this being only one example)?

Does anyone else wait til their kids are old enough to stay alone before they leave them for a night out?
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Old 07-22-2010, 10:55 AM
 
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If you really do want a sitter could you check into someone more "professional" via a reputable source? Maybe something like www.care.com?

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Old 07-22-2010, 11:13 AM
 
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I have a nanny for our kids, who watches them 3 days a week. I found her on sittercity.

I know how hard it is to find the "right" person. But, I interviewed everyone and the ones who I really liked, I brought them back and introduced the kids to them. The kids picked their favorite nanny so I was comfortable with that. I love our nanny...she keeps them outside...she is very athletic, so keeps the kids preoccupied in sports...gets them things whenever they are hungry...takes them swimming, to friends' houses...she's very gentle but firm with them. Seriously, I couldn't have found a better nanny.

But, you definitely have to listen to your gut feelings. If they don't "feel" right, chances are they are not...nothing prejudiced about that!
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Old 07-22-2010, 11:29 AM
 
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We use a teenaged babysitter (or have used - she leaves for college this fall ), and have been so happy with her. Honestly, I picked her based on her family, too. She is the oldest of 4 kids, and I met her mother at some community events (we live in a small town). I was so impressed by how loving, calm, respectful and in control she was with her kids. When she mentioned that her oldest daughter was looking for babysitting jobs, we jumped on it. I first hired her as a mother's helper (she was 14 at the time) to watch DS1 while I worked from home in the summer. She did great, and we started using her for actual babysitting. She's never let us down!
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Old 07-22-2010, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe the title should be "Help DECIDING ON finding a sitter!"

I have thought about professional agencies before, but honestly, after the awful experience I had with "professional caregivers" for my grandfather, the handful of nurses I know personally, and one or two weird interchanges at the park, I'm even more leery of them than I am of the teenager around the corner!

I do have a middle-schooler who can watch him for short periods during the day, but she has an early curfew, so date nights are out for her. I'm just starting to feel like it's more aggravation/angst to find someone than it is to just wait a few more years.
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Old 07-24-2010, 04:38 AM
 
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It may not be the solution you are looking for, but have you considered a "date day"? Then you could hire the middle-schooler.

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Old 07-24-2010, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, we can do that on the weekends, and we will, but I'd still like an evening once in awhile! He stays with my parents occasionally, and hopefully we'll be able to keep doing that (and maybe a little more frequently), but it'd be nice to have someone closer who can just come on a Tuesday night for a couple of hours if we decide we want to go out to dinner or something. (He usually just comes with us, which is great, but certain places just aren't kid-friendly or as easy to have him there...)
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Old 07-24-2010, 06:00 PM
 
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We have no plans to hire a sitter or even allow family to watch DS... We just aren't comfortable with it (yet) but he's only a toddler. But, I have heard some places like the YMCA or the community centers or local gyms do "parent's night out" things once a week or once a month -- maybe you'd be more comfortable with something like that?

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Old 07-24-2010, 10:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post
We have no plans to hire a sitter or even allow family to watch DS... We just aren't comfortable with it (yet) but he's only a toddler. But, I have heard some places like the YMCA or the community centers or local gyms do "parent's night out" things once a week or once a month -- maybe you'd be more comfortable with something like that?
I don't know, I'd be even more leery of a group setting for a 2.5 y/o. I've heard terrible stories of the bigger kids just running amok and the little ones left to cry in the corner. I definitely wouldn't leave a pre-verbal child in that type of situation.

Of course take that worry with a grain of salt--our oldest is 5 and we've yet to get the nerve to use a babysitter, although we've been talking about it for, um, 5 years.
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Old 07-24-2010, 10:45 PM
 
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I've onlyl recently become comfortable leaving mine with a sitter so don't feel bad. When dd was 2.5 yo I almost never left her. That being said, we have a couple of women who look after the kids occasionally and are great with them. They are expensive ($15/hr) but worth every penny. Both have worked as professional nannies and go all out keeping the kids entertained and happy. I also recently called our local high school and spoke to a guidance counsellor to get the names of a couple of students she felt were very responsible. I ended up hiring one girl for the odd night. She's good (and cheaper) but I don't leave the kids with her at bedtime.

I have a friend who hires a sitter every Sunday afternoon to take her dd out to play somewhere so she and her husband can have some "alone time". Because as she puts it "I don't need to be wined and dined. I just want to get naked".

Diane, SAHM to DD (June 05) and DS (April 07).
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Old 07-25-2010, 10:21 AM
 
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I've onlyl recently become comfortable leaving mine with a sitter so don't feel bad. When dd was 2.5 yo I almost never left her. That being said, we have a couple of women who look after the kids occasionally and are great with them. They are expensive ($15/hr) but worth every penny. Both have worked as professional nannies and go all out keeping the kids entertained and happy. .
May I ask, how did you find them? I looked at a professional nanny agency where I live, but not only are they $15 an hr (doable), they want a 4 hr minimum plus a $10 booking fee, not so doable for us.
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Old 07-25-2010, 01:21 PM
 
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May I ask, how did you find them? I looked at a professional nanny agency where I live, but not only are they $15 an hr (doable), they want a 4 hr minimum plus a $10 booking fee, not so doable for us.
One I met in the playground (she was looking after other kids) and the other was a grad student that my dh taught. I've also just started asking around if people babysit or know anybody who babysits. In a province where the minimum wage is $6/hr, $15 is pretty attractive.

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Old 07-25-2010, 01:41 PM
 
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You know, dd1 here is almost 4 and we haven't had a non-family sitter yet. It hasn't yet been too much of an inconvenience but I do think we may have found someone who'd work out well (swimming teacher) and may see about whether we'll try that out in the future.

I have friends who have done part-time nannying stuff that were found by putting some ads around our college (not on posts outside and around or anything but in the office areas by other job search stuff) - that'd be a pretty reputable way to find a quality sitter. Contacting any early childhood education programs nearby might also be a good way to find someone who is really qualified and cares about watching kids too.
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Old 07-25-2010, 04:10 PM
 
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I just started using a sitter last year when my oldest was then 6.5 so it took some time to be comfortable with the idea! I found my best two sitters on a notice board at the local grocery store. I have had the best luck with college students actually, I live in a college town so finding one that is majoring in childhood development isn't *that* difficult. They have been young enough (early 20's) to follow every rule I leave and call me with a problem instead of trying to work though it, but fun enough that the kids love them. I call and talk to them on the phone, if I get a good vibe then I ask them to come over the house to meet them. If I like them then I set up the first job so that I am around, I observe, see how the kids respond, and if everything is well and I still have a good feeling about them then I proceed to a work meeting, etc... that is brief.

Another thought is to ask some friends with kids in preschool if the teachers babysit after hours, I've gone some numbers that way as well.

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Old 07-26-2010, 12:44 AM
 
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Are you a member at a church? If so, you might try your church nursery. I go to a large church that has several nursery/child care rooms for children dependon what age the child is. All of the rooms are staffed by paid, trained, and background checked workers. Many of them are college students and many of them also babysit. The lady who runs the child care program also keeps a list of thoroughly vetted babysitters.

All that said, I haven't used a babysitter off of that list. Because there is a woman (M) at my husband's who babysits. We didn't know this until another mom that we are friends with gave me the heads up that M is a great babysitter. So when family isn't available, we use her. So you might check with another mom friend and see who they are comfortable using.

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