Read these 10 Temporary Babysitter Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Babysitter tips and hundreds of other topics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Before your new sitter sets foot into your home you must discuss the issue of pets with him or her. If you have no pets, but the sitter does, make sure your child is not allergic to these animals. Unknowingly the babysitter might be bringing cat or dog hair into the house arousing the allergies of your child's sensitive nose. This situation can play itself out in reverse as well. You may be a pet owner with an allergic babysitter.
On the other hand, your babysitter may not be allergic, but may be terrified of dogs, including your harmless one. This is not a good combination. During your interview of any potential babysitters, mention whether or not you are a pet owner and ask the sitter how he or she feels about this. If your pets, children and babysitter are not compatible, it is time to move on to the next candidate. Also, if you are a cat owner, and your babysitter is pregnant, never ask her to clean the litter box. Cats carry a certain sickness, toxoplasmosis, which is fatal to an unborn fetus. If you have a dog, and the dog bites your babysitter, you are responsible for the medical costs. Both babysitters and parents should keep all pets vaccinated so that we can coexist happily together.
If the word limits and abbreviations you need to apply to run a newspaper ad for your babysitting vacancy are just too complicated, you should consider posting your advertisement on the Internet. There are special websites available just for parents and sitters, such as www.babysitter.org and www.sittercity.com. Community forums such as www.craigslist.com, and employment websites like www.monster.com can help too. Both www.monster.com and www.craigslist allow you to post your resume. Monster and Craig's List are free sites, but charge a small fee for posting to the classifieds. Also, investigate the rates to advertise through the local newspaper's website.
Do not ever include photos of your children in online ads, however you may want to provide the number of children and ages that will need babysitting. Make sure to do background checks or at least check references on contacts made on the Internet as, when it comes to strangers, you never know what you are going to get.
When in charge of children, you may notice that they tend to act differently once their parents leave the room. They want to see what you will do next. Some children may even rebel against you when it comes to doing the chores their parents assigned them. The best way to encourage them to behave when their parents are out is to turn the mundane into something fun.
Take a hint from Mary Poppins and her "spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down" idea. This is especially helpful with younger children. If they are told to clean their rooms, make a song out of the chore or silly rhymes to pass the time. You could host races to see who can pick up their toys first. Turn making the bed into a contest to see who makes their bed better. Give out stickers or a button to the winner of each contest, or promise them some time at the playground.
When it comes to siblings, children are natural competitors and may be even more motivated when they are at odds with bro or sis. If you are watching a child alone, you can either help to move them along, or compete against them. Of course, if your goal is to get them to do it, try not to make it so obvious that you let them win the dishwashing derby.
It may seem low-tech but the traditional means of job hunting and searching for candidates is still basically the same. Newspapers and other periodicals still feature a classified section where ads are accessible to readers. Generally the newspaper will print your ad both on paper as well as in its online edition. Small papers will charge a small fee to run your ad over the span of a week or a month before asking you to renew. Large papers may charge more depending on which days you want to run your ad. Additionally they will charge you more for a longer ad. Learn to conserve words and space, writing in only the absolutely necessary information. Forget the words "the," "we," and "a." Write your ad in what some would refer to as caveman speak or use abbreviations.
Before submitting your ad, reread it a few times to ensure that it is easy to understand and contains vital information, such as a contact number and name. The best time to run your ad is on the weekend. If readers only read one day's paper, they almost always choose the Sunday paper. This is also the day where they are most likely to have the time to call and you are most likely to be able to answer.
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.
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.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|