All parents take into copndideration what should be done if their child is hurt while under the care of a nanny or babysitter. Yet they almost never consider what will happen if the sitter is injured while serving as their employee. Most babysitters work part-time and act as indepedent agents, leaving them ineligible for health coverage. Just as other self-employed folk and freelancers, many search for their own non-employer-provided coverage. This route tends to be expensive and not cover all their needs. There is one company, however, which does offer health insurance specially designed for the working nanny, babysitter, or au pair. The company is called NRIOL. They offer short-term coverage, visitor travel insurance and other policies which can be very difficult to get. They will compare rates for you as well. You can read more about the coverage at http://www.nriol.com/insurance/nanny-insurance-overview.html. Make sure to have your own emergency plan.
Sometimes older babysitters have their own babies to watch at home. If you are thinking of selecting a babysitter who is also a parent, you must make sure your children will get along. You will also want to consider whether or not this family equation means too many little ones for the babysitter to handle. Ideally, you do not want your babysitter to be supervising more than 5 children. Truthfully, you want the fewest children possible. If your child is one of a large group, then they might be better off in daycare where there are more helping hands than just one. Plus, you chose to find a babysitter instead of daycare so that your child gets more personal attention. If your babysitter has her own children, introduce the tots at a playdate setting first before agreeing to hire her. Observe how the children interact. Do they like each other and get along? Do they bicker or do they share? Do they seem interested in becoming friends or are they intimidated by each other? Watch as well how the babysitter interacts with her own children. This will tell you a lot about the environment your child will be in. Some babysitters can only handle one child at a time. Most likely a babysitter who is also a mother will do a fine job watching both groups of children. However, taking the time to get the children comfortable with one another will be the key between facing two groups of warring kids or having the best of friends.
It may not be common knowledge but there is such thing as Babysitter Certification. The course offered by Expert Rating, is completely online. It introduces new or inexperienced babysitters to child care basics such as emergency scenarios, activities, how to get along with parents and more. The certification covers material presented in the 100 page course and only costs $14.95. Expert Rating is one of the few outlets for babysitters to get trained and prepared to be professional sitters. If babysitting is not a long term occupation for you, you may be alright by reading up on the subject on your own. However, if you take your responsibility as a babysitter seriously and want to consider it as a doorway to future options, certification is a great route to go. It will dazzle up your resume and impress parents looking for the right caregiver for their children. It will also make your resume look better for perspective colleges as it will demonstrate your willingness to learn and your overall personal and professional drive. Visit http://www.expertrating.com/certifications/babysitting/babysittingcertification.asp to register.
According to US government regulations for 2007, babysitting income is still considered income and should be reported on your tax return. If you are paying a babysitter as an employee, you must report their wages as well. Many people choose not to report this expense at all, which may never cause you a problem, but in the event of an audit, or in order to prevent an audit, it is always better to prevent trouble. As documented in Publication 529 of the IRS, in the section on Employee Compensation and Related Income, child caregivers who are US citizens must report this income.
If you are about to employ a babysitter and want all paperwork in order for tax purposes, be sure to give your employee a W-2 form to fill out and submit. Then, in January of the following year, like any other employee, they will receive a W-4. If you are not paying them extra to cover their taxes, keep notes of this in your records and ensure that your sitter knows that the wages you are paying them include what the government will take out for taxes. If you have additional questions, call the IRS for clarification at 1-800-829-1040.
Babysitters come in contact with many different people. They then come into contact with your children. However, do you know if the babysitter has been vaccinated? This is a pertinent question to ask when you have a small child at home. Pertusis, or 'whooping cough,' for example, is very dangerous to babies. All family members of newborns are advised to get this shot. It would be comforting to know that your sitter has also gotten their flu shot during the winter. Daycares recommend that teachers get tested for tuberculosis, too. You may want to consider this. Your babysitter may be the cleanest babysitter in the world and have award-winning hygeine, but this does not mean that other children she is in contact with are kept in the same standard. Let him or her know your reasoning behind your concerns and offer to pay and/or receive the vaccine yourself to demonstrate your fairness. Both you and the babysitter should hold your child's health as a major priority.
If the babysitter will be working in your home you will need to show him or her the ins and outs of your home. You could allow your child to be the tour guide for fun, but accompany them to be sure that all bases are covered. They will need to be shown all accessible rooms, however if there are parts of the house that you would like to keep off limits, it is always your prerogative. If you do have off limits areas, make this clear in your guided tour. He or she will definitely need to know where the restroom, the kitchen, and children's rooms are. Let them know which rooms you do not want your children in while you are gone, too.
They should be guided to the locations of any emergency items such as fire extinguishers (demonstrate how they work), alarm systems (think about whether or not to give out the code, and if you do give it out you need to remember that this new person now has access to your home 24/7), phones, emergency numbers, first aid kit, electricity breaker, flashlights and spare bottles of water. In case of emergency, your sitter will need to know your house as well as your children do. Tour the fun areas too, including the living room and the yard. Let the sitter ask as many questions as it takes for them to get comfortable with their surroundings.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|