The fast-paced environment of today has created busy lives to many, especially to parents who need to provide for their growing family. They must work harder, sometimes doing a couple or more jobs or unsociable hours to provide for their family’s daily needs. Working parents are heavily reliant on childcare and often a babysitter is their only option.
In addition, parents may occasionally want a night out away from the kids for a social event or perhaps a romantic evening together. This is only natural and actually healthy for parents' well-being and relationship. These situations also often need the help of a babysitter.
Luckily technology, which ironically is the same reason for this uptick in pace of life, has brought the solution for parents to find a babysitter online. There are many professional childcare or babysitting services that are available on the internet for parents and guardians to source according to their needs and preferences. But a major concern for parents is how to use these babysitting websites safely to ensure their child is not put at risk.
The Online Solution To Your Babysitting Needs
Have a search on the Internet and you will find dozens of online companies that cater to childcare services. Both local-based business and bigger networks of online childcare and babysitting facilities are taking advantage of the online benefits of increased visibility and accessibility due to the ever-increasing need for their services.
With the many options of online childcare and babysitting companies to choose from, the concern for parents or guardians is how to find the best service provider to help them with their child care needs that would be suited to their overall family situation.
Is It Like ‘Finding Nemo’ Online?
So, how can you actually pick a safe match for your babysitting needs in the sea of choices online? Finding the right one, could yes, be very much like looking for Nemo in a deep blue sea. In short, it can be a tedious process as you only want the best for your child. Of course, you would choose someone that can be your other self while you are away, as if you are the one tending physically to your kids. Trustworthiness, experience, and competence would be major factors that you will look for in a babysitter or a nanny to tend to your children.
As trust is a major issue here, online platforms must be reliable and verified as safe and credible to deliver this kind of a very personal service to families. More importantly, can the babysitters and childcare attendants from these websites be trusted to provide utmost quality care for babies and children.
With a child’s care, trial and error can’t be the case. You can’t afford to have your child’s welfare at risk by trying which one will work and won’t. You need to be absolutely certain when hiring a babysitter.
The Online Fear
Bogus and fake dwellers proliferate the online environment, and so there is a huge mistrust issue in using the Internet, most especially with money and security concerns. It’s no wonder why this is a red flag for you as well in dealing with online childcare services. With these being real concerns, businesses must take it very seriously to ensure their client’s safety in their online dealings. They initiate steps and measures to avoid mishaps and improve the level of trust in their services. They even use software and apps to make sure every process is secure and the people they employ are trustworthy. For some time now, online transactions are getting safer with measures taken by businesses, though they are still not absolutely secure so you need to approach any online transaction with caution to avoid scams.
With web-based childcare services there are many already established companies such as:
to name just a few.
These babysitting websites work by connecting families with their database of local sitters, complete with profiles, satisfaction reviews, and easy-to-access background checks. And not just that, the entire process involved in hiring a babysitter is covered by the online facility, from applying and scheduling to paying and communicating, and other services unique to each provider.
As you can see these care providers have procedures established and have been in the business for quite some time and so provides some confidence about their credibility. However if you wanted to be 100% sure of getting a trusted sitter, you need to do your own checking and background research. Remember that the promises from these online childcare providers are only trustworthy if you can verify them yourself and it is very easy for companies to make claims
So, how would you do that? Here are nine basic steps that could guide you in finding and hiring a babysitter in your area that is not just trustworthy, but also, experienced, competent, and will lovingly care for your child.
1. Do your own background check
The online babysitting company already did their background check of their nannies in their database. They have complete profiles and references to aid you in selecting your prospects. But that shouldn’t stop you from doing your own.
You can begin with checking your applicant’s records for any criminal offense, misconduct, or unruly behavior. You may require them of police clearance, community certificate, school records, and any other documents that will prove their good standing. It might also be an idea to check on their online profiles on social media sites such as Facebook or Instagram if you are able to and if they are publicly visible.
2. References are handy
As profiles or resumes will be provided to you by the online childcare company, go ahead and check references they have provided. These references are proofs of your prospect’s work experience, behavior, strength and weaknesses, and other relevant information that will help you on your selection process. It’s good to talk to previous employers to ask these kinds of information or to people your prospect had a working relationship with.
3. Personal interview is a MUST
Once you have checked their backgrounds and talked to some of their provided references, you now have a good amount of information with you to conduct your personal meeting and interview them. This is an essential step as you don’t want to hire solely on a desktop analysis. You need to feel completely comfortable with the person looking after your child and the only way to get this is via a face to face meeting. Note this doesn’t need to be at your home if you’re not comfortable with that, you could arrange to meet at a coffee shop or some other place in the first instance.
Ask questions about their resume and previous work experiences, which you can easily compare to notes you have already taken. Check for inconsistencies or any lapses with their answers. Ask questions on their family background such as, do they have their own family, are they the eldest and how do they relate to siblings, do they give special care to someone (child, sick, elder) home. This could give you clues on their emotional tendencies.
You can also ask circumstantial questions related to childcare to be able to see how logical and adept they are in dealing with different situations. It is good to see how they would approach a crying child, an overly active child, eating and sleeping routines, and home emergencies. “You really need to sit down and have an interview with a prospective sitter,” said Laura Davis, a franchise owner of College Nannies + Sitters + Tutors.
4. Ask someone you know, or better yet you trust
Others in your area may have tried the services of the online babysitting provider you’re on the lookout. Ask them about their experiences and the manner they deal with the provider. Were they given a good sitter according to their requirements, a ‘so-so’ good enough nanny, or a bad one? If they have mentioned positively, further ask if they can recommend someone who is working or used to work for them. Referrals are indeed a saving grace in finding the right sitter and so a good network of parents or guardians can be your big help.
5. Set your expectations clearly
In hiring a babysitter, be sure first about your needs and how you want them to be met. These will be your parameters in your selection process. Your circumstances and preferences on a sitter should also be checked. For instance, do you need a whole day sitter or for daytime only, on weekdays or weekends only? Do you want your nanny to do household chores or plainly just to babysit? Do you need someone who knows medical care or at least someone who is knowledgeable on first-aid? Self-questioning can help you clarify and substantiate what you need.
6. Talk to your family, including your kids
Most of the time this kind of decision is for a family to make, so gather yourselves and talk about this matter together. Check on everyone’s needs, schedules, and preferences. Make sure that you agree before making up a decision to hire a sitter. And if your children can already decide, include them in this process as they are the ones who will be the recipients of the decision you are making.
7. Have an observed tryout
Once you have dwindled on your options for a babysitter, invite them to your home and see how they will relate to you and your children. You can invite them on morning meals and see how they would act with you there in conversations. Then, you can leave your prospect with only your child and observe from a far (with or without them knowing).
8. First day jitters
By this time, you may have selected a sitter, but still want to make sure of your decision. Try them on their first day by giving them a checklist of simple tasks and see whether it was followed by the book or not, or they are creative and resourceful enough to accomplish those tasks.
Or conduct a training time with you on their first day. Orient them and ask them to work with you in accomplishing some tasks. Here you can start to build a rapport with them and see how they act and react, respond or be pro-active.
9. Observe your child
Even if it’s the first meeting with the sitter or their first day at work or subsequent ones, your child will be the best indicator if it will work. Even a baby who doesn’t talk yet is a good barometer in measuring the effectiveness of your nanny. Look at them, observe on how they are relating together with the sitter; talk to them and ask about their thoughts; check key indicators if they are being obedient or unruly as these are marks whether they like the nanny or not, and so on.
Hopefully these are useful and helpful tips to help you use babysitting websites safely and to find the right fit for a babysitter, however they aren’t absolute. You may find one that will work for you and others that don’t. You may even come up with your own set of selection process that can prove effective. If you have any further thoughts, comments or ideas we would love to hear from you and perhaps we could add them to our list.
Also remember that web-based childcare and babysitting services could promise to you a thing or two, but the real measure of success is the partnership it creates between you and them, the sitter and your child. Hiring a babysitter must thrive in the spirit of mutual respect. Be a good employer and your employee will be good, too. If you train your child well, more often than not, sitters will regard it highly and also treat your child with tender loving care.
To close with one final thought – once you’ve navigated the babysitting website safely and found your perfect choice, be ready because babysitting comes with a cost, both financially and relationally! So, it’s really crucial for you to make the right decision. Good luck!