Search in the Right Places
Where do you even begin to search for a babysitter? Finding a qualified, capable person you’re confident enough in to care for your children begins with those closest to you – your family and friends. Other people you know and trust to pass on a referral can include neighbours, co-workers, and even staff at your doctor’s office. If your kids are in a daycare, you could also ask if any of the employees take on after-hours babysitting jobs. If no personal recommendations work out, there are plenty of professional babysitting agencies available. Some reputable agencies include Canadian Nanny and Care.com.
*Please note, we are not affiliated with the above-mentioned babysitting agencies and cannot provide an official endorsement. When looking for babysitting services online, always ensure you search reputable, professional agencies with an upstanding history.
Always Check References
Whether you were referred to the most “fantastic, reliable babysitter ever” or found a seemingly perfect match on your own, it’s imperative that you do some background research before making a decision. Aside from calling references, you should ensure:
• A clean criminal background check is provided.
• Young potential babysitters have completed a babysitting course (babysitting courses are most often completed through The Canadian Red Cross, local YMCA, or hospital.)
• A CPR and first aid course were completed in case of an emergency.
Have an In-Person Meeting
Have potential babysitters come to your house for a meeting prior to making a decision. This provides a great opportunity for you to, not only meet ahead of time, but assess how your kid(s) interact with the person, and if he or she shows up on time!
Set Expectations Ahead of Time
Once have selected a babysitter you and your family feel comfortable with, be sure to set the ground rules before the job begins. Some things to go over with your new babysitter should include:
- Rate – Babysitters are most often paid hourly. Rates tend to fluctuate between $8 – $15 per hour across Canada, varying from community to community, experience, and the person’s age. It’s best to ask members of your community to help determine the going rate in your area.
- Transportation – Does your babysitter have transportation? If not, you should expect to either drive her or him home or provide fare for a cab.
- Routine – Explain your kids’ typical routine when it comes to homework, meals, TV, video games, and bed.
- Health information – Are there any allergies (to food, household products, insect bites, etc.) your babysitter should be aware of? Is anyone sick? Will she or he need to administer medication? If so, where is it stored and how much is required?
- Food – What food is available for the kids and your babysitter? Are you leaving extra money to order in a pizza or are certain meals and snacks available?
- Your contact information – Always write out phone numbers (including your own, a neighbour’s, or a friend’s) and the location you will be in case of an emergency.
- Additional contact information – Additional emergency phone numbers to leave for your babysitter could include your doctor’s office, the local children’s clinic, or your local Provincial/Territorial Telehealth/Telemedicine lines.
- Additional rules – Be clear and upfront guests and taking kids outside of the house (i.e. the park, McDonalds, etc.)
Finding a qualified babysitter both you and your kids feel comfortable with can be a challenge. But once you do, you’ll all be able to relax and enjoy the temporary time apart.