Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching, and couples are planning their romantic date ideas. Couples with kids are searching for that perfect babysitter. Some are lucky to have family members who live close and are willing and able to offer childcare, but for those of us who have to rely on hiring someone, here are some tips for finding a great babysitter.

Finding a Great Babysitter

1. Ask for referrals. Some parents don’t want to “lose” their babysitter by referring them to other people, but many are happy to share when they’ve found someone amazing. Finding a babysitter through someone you know is an easy way to find a tried-and-true babysitter.

2. Look at babysitter databases. You can sign up for websites like Care.com or sittercity.com and have a whole host of babysitters to choose from. You can set your ideal rate, add your requirements, and find the perfect match.

3. Check out your local college. Reach out to someone in the Early Childhood department of your local college. Students there already have an interest in teaching young children, and they make wonderful babysitters.

4. Church is a great place to look. Not because only people who go to church are great babysitters, but I’ve found that there are many young people at church who are willing and excited for babysitting jobs. Some already volunteer to work with the children on Sundays, and might already be familiar with the children they are babysitting, which makes it even easier.

5. Try swapping with friends. Certainly an economical way to get a night out would be to trade babysitting with another friend. Both families’ children will be excited for a fun play date, and both sets of parents can get a few hours away without breaking the bank.

6. Look for people who already watch your children. You can ask the employees at the childcare program of your gym, teachers and staff at the school, etc. They may do babysitting as a side job for extra money and would love to babysit children that they already work with.

And when you have some candidates in mind and are ready to interview…

7. Ask real life questions. When you’re interviewing potential babysitters, it’s great to ask them questions about themselves, but it gives you a better idea of who you’re hiring if you ask them how they would handle real life emergency situations. Try questions like, “What would you do in case of a fire?” or “What would you do if someone came to the door or tried to get into the house?”

Hopefully these tips will help you find the perfect babysitter, whether it be for a romantic Valentine’s Day date with your significant other or just to give you a break during the day so you can run errands.

What do you look for in a babysitter?

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