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May 3, 2011 / Anna (NannyShare)

The process of hiring a babysitter

After 3 months of back to back visits from family to “help” with the baby, my husband and I were exhausted.  So we told our families that no more visitors would be allowed until after I had gone back to work and we had established an ongoing routine.  Which has been great, but it also means that we no longer get the benefit of grandparent-sponsored date nights out.  And that means that we have to get a sitter.

You would think that hiring a sitter would be far easier than hiring a nanny.  I mean,  I babysat for neighbors all the time growing up.  From the age of 11 or so on, I watched up to 3 kids at a time, as young as 2 years old.  So being/finding a sitter never struck me as all that difficult until it was for my own baby. And I realized that it is just as arduous as hiring a nanny.  While a sitter will spend far less time with the baby than a nanny will, that time will most likely include BEDTIME.

Bedtime is not for the faint of heart.  We personally haven’t really mastered sleep training (although we are working on it, more on that later).  So the bedtime routine, as well as the quality of the swaddle and the delicate dance of actually putting him down in his crib are all critically important in determining whether it will be a great night or a nightmare.

So how have we gone about finding a sitter?

1.  I joined sittercity.com and posted there (there are several sites for finding caregivers, care.com is another one).  I ended up with about 20 applicants, and narrowed it down to a handful for phone interviews.  From there I set up time to meet in person with a few, and finally narrowed it down to a couple that I thought would be good caregivers. Iwas looking for someone who seemed reasonably intelligent and even-keeled, had experience with younger children, was well-educated, and energetic/enthusiastic about babies. The in-person interview was also key for me because I  rely heavily on gut feel about a person, as well as how they interact with my baby.

2. This should go without saying, but we also called and spoke to all references, and ran background checks.  I would suggest googling people too.  You would be surprised what a simple google search will pull up that even a background check won’t surface.

3. I strongly suggest inviting a sitter over to “sit” for your baby while you are home just like you would with a new nanny so that they can get to know each other in a stress-free environment .  Max is only 4 months old and already has severe separation anxiety.  A stranger can hold him for approximately 4.5 seconds before his bottom lip is out and quivering, and then youhave about 2 more seconds before he is full on wailing with giant tears streaming down his face.  Its heartbreaking.  So we have  set up multiple sessions with the sitter for her to just come over and play with him while we are here so that he can get used to her.

We just had our first of these sessions.  She was here for an hour and a half, and it wasn’t until the last 15 min that he would allow her to hold him without busting out the quivering lip.  Baby steps, but progress nonetheless. We will probably have on more play session with her before we move on to having her shadow us through the bedtime routine.  it may seem excessive but it is so worth it to be able to go out for a night without worrying about or baby having a meltdown while we are gone.

Its definitely a long slow process, but we are hoping to actually get that date night out before his first birthday.  Wish us luck.

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