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Old 03-21-2008, 10:08 AM
267 posts, read 1,660,624 times
Reputation: 199


I've never had anyone watch my kids other than close family members but now that we are in another state with no family around I'm thinking about finding a babysitter so we can go on dates, run errands, etc ocasionally.

Can someone give me good tips on how to find a good babysitter or what to lookout for. My husband and I are both very weary about having someone watch our children as they are very young and can't let us know if something is wrong. I know there are alot of trustworthy people out there to watch kids but still a little apprehensive about it. We don't know very many people here and some of the people we do know use teenagers for babysitters. Not that I have anything against teen babysitters because I use to do it also when I was a kid. But I'm looking more for a mom or grandma type who has alot of experience with kids and has a car.

Are there websites to find a sitter? What about Craigslist? Do I need a nannycam? What are some red flags that we should look for? What is the average pay for a baby and preschooler (2 kids)? How did you feel letting a stranger watch your kids? What are the questions I should ask when thinking about hiring someone?

Any babysitting horror stories? I've seen one too many news programs and Dateline stories about sitters hitting kids and such.

Please help us! We need a break sometimes.

Thank you!
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Old 03-21-2008, 10:21 AM
Location: In a house
21,497 posts, read 20,306,019 times
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All I can say here is to be very, very careful about anyone watching your children. Many of us fall into that thinking it won't happen to us but it can and to many times does!! You can never be to careful!!
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Old 03-21-2008, 10:30 AM
267 posts, read 1,660,624 times
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I know thats what I am so afraid of . Has anything ever happened with your kids or someone you know?
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Old 03-21-2008, 10:47 AM
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
2,868 posts, read 8,292,750 times
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I have some friends who swear by those find a babysitter web sites...They are all pre-screened and backround checked...They provide references and everything...I think it is like 20.00 to join and you have access to all babysitters...They provide pictures and everything...

Otherwise, I would only use people that my friends/family know or have used. What about girls at your church?

I have issues with having a random person care for the most important things in my life...so I need to have some backround on them...
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Old 03-21-2008, 11:24 AM
Location: Lehigh Valley
1,030 posts, read 3,732,611 times
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I have always had luck finding a sitter through neighbors and other moms I might meet at preschool, playgroup, etc.

I have had nothing but good experiences with sitters. Usually, the girls are pretty young, but they are great.
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Old 03-21-2008, 11:44 AM
Location: Las Vegas
560 posts, read 1,933,027 times
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Is there a particular reason you want someone who can drive? If not, I have to say that the best babysitters I have ever had have been in the 12-14 year old range. They will actually play with the kids and I know my kids always loved having the younger ones. Of course, not all 12 year olds are ready to babysit, it is a call only you can make. I always made sure that they had taken the babysitting class offered by Red Cross and I would always have them come over 4 or 5 times while I was home before I actually left them alone. The best advice I can give you is to go with your gut instinct. If it doesn't feel right then don't leave them. You can start with maybe an hour or two at first until you feel more secure in leaving. My brother has a nanny which works great for him, he is single with 2 kids. He found her through a service and I know has since recommended the service to others. Nanny's can be quite expensive however, we always paid our sitters well, 7 or 8 dollars and hour, but Nanny's are closer to 18-20. I am so thankful that my girls are old enough to stay alone for a few hours, it is a scary thing leaving your kids, but it really is so important for you and your hubby to have some alone time.
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Old 03-21-2008, 11:54 AM
Location: coos bay oregon
2,096 posts, read 7,899,101 times
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you might try a local pediatric unit too...sometimes they have message boards w/sitters.
also, the grade school might have a list of commenly used sitters w/references. My kids went to a little rural school once that had that.
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Old 03-21-2008, 01:15 PM
3,413 posts, read 6,189,124 times
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Follow all the great advice you've been given and then get
a nanny-cam or set your video camera to record while
you're out. That is the only way you can truly know and
if anything is wrong you can know right away!
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Old 03-21-2008, 02:15 PM
1,623 posts, read 5,651,772 times
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Local college or preschools/daycares and friends. We are similar and just used my son's preschool teacher to babysit. She's kind of a slacker type but I know she's been background checked, CPR certified and my son likes her so it was an easy choice. But we're debating using her again because of her blase attitude toward babysitting...I guess we just feel you should babysit because you love kids, not money.

I don't think I would ever use the internet. I would consider using an agency though. And if the kids are that young, absolutely get a nanny cam.

Depending on where you are, sitters average say $9 an hour for toddlers and up with a $1 premium for infants and $1 each additional child. That's the middle of the scale. I would also factor in sleeping...once the kids are asleep and if they are the type that stay asleep, I think the $1 per kid premium goes out the window for those hours. We paid our sitter $12 an hour to watch a well behaved 2.5 year old, 4 year old, and 4 month old for the 6 hours she was here...and boy did that hurt!
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Old 03-21-2008, 02:34 PM
267 posts, read 1,660,624 times
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I agree that alot of teenagers make great babysitters but I want someone old enough to drive in case there is some kind of emergency and they need to leave the house. Someone who has experience with babies. I know when I was teenager and I babysat it was usually grade school age kids. I'm sure I could have taken care of baby but I'm not sure how I would have handled an emergency even though I was mature for my age.

I guess the thing I'm scared of the most is someone hurting my kids. They're too young to tell me, "Mommy, Suzy our babysitter pinches us when we cry" or "She talks on the phone to much and brings over her boyfriend" because they are only 2years old and 5 months. I worked in a daycare once where one of the ladies was fired for grabbing small kids by the ears very hard when they were too hyper and didn't listen. But all the parents dropping their kids off loved her because she was so sweet and friendly. We (her coworkers) reported her and so did one of the older siblings, otherwise it would have gone on and the parents would have never known.

Sure sounds like I'm trying to talk myself out of getting the kids a babysitter, haha. I swear I'm not crazy and no I've never had bad experiences with babysitters when I was a kid. My husband is just as nervous too with someone else watching our kids.

Like someone on here said, our kids are the most important things in our lives and we cant have random people looking after them.
Until then, wish us luck with finding someone!
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