This guest post is by: Melissa Bishop and Karen Berg Authors, The Caregiver Organizer for MY Child
You know what you want in a sitter: on time, dependable, reasonable
rates, can take care of the kids without calling you fifty times. But
what about the kids? What do they want?
Right away, you’re thinking, ”They want someone who will let them
get away with everything!” True, most kids would love that. But
allowing the kids to have anything they want can be a high price to
pay just for a night out. Or worse yet, what if this is the sitter you use
on a daily or weekly basis?
So how do you find the middle ground? Being an organizer, the first
thing I do is grab a pencil and paper and start listing out everything
I need and want. Then I rewrite that list in order of priority. For
example, is it more important to me that my caregiver knows CPR or
that she has a reasonable rate? The next list is for the kids. They have
to have a good time, too, or believe me, you’ll pay the next day in
your relationship with them.
For my house, I need a sitter that is firm, but a lot of fun. My son is
a child who has a great heart, but will push the limit as far as he can.
My daughter, sweet girl, mostly obedient, but with a bit of a sneaky
streak. I had to find a sitter that could handle two very different
personalities, follow my instructions and still make it fun for the kids.
After all, if I’m paying that sitter $7-$10 an hour, I don’t want to
have to put up with cranky children the next day. I learned to ask a
lot of specific questions when interviewing a sitter. That’s right – an
interview. It’s great to get a sitter referred to you from a friend, but
just because that he or she works great for another family doesn’t
mean they will work out for you. You have to ask a lot of questions
and know what is right for your family.
Enter sitter extraordinaire, LeAnn. LeAnn follows my instructions that
I leave for her, but also wears my hooligans out before I get home.
She plays games galore and takes them outside. She’s not afraid to
say no, and can play boy games as well as girl games. Also important
to me, LeAnn is Child/Adult CPR and First Aid certified. I realized the
significance of that one day when my daughter choked on an orange
and LeAnn needed to administer the Heimlich Maneuver. Good thing
I hired someone with that certification. As an additional bonus, this
sitter never leaves my house a mess either. She’s tidy and helps the
kids be tidy too. Yes, she’s my Mary Poppins, and no, I’m not giving
out her name and number!
Sometimes, one of the most important things we forget to do as
parents is find out what the kids think. The next day, after your kids’
experience with the sitter, have them rate her. Was she fun? What
did the kids like? What didn’t they like? But also, did she hold to your
standards? Keep the conversation going with your kids. It helps them
feel like they have a say in the matter, too. And that makes it a win-
win for you, your kids, and the sitter.