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Baby looking very happy

Leaving your little one with a babysitter (who isn’t your mum or dad) for the first time can be hard – even if it is to go and spend quality time with the other love of your life, your partner! Follow these tips on finding the right person – for you and your little one.

Ask for recommendations

Your mummy and daddy friends will probably have a few babysitters they like and keep asking back (and a few who they won’t!). Your public health nurse may be able to make recommendations too.

Try your childminder or nursery

If someone looks after your child during the day, it’s worth asking them if they offer babysitting services. Not only will your little one know them already, but they will also have lots of experience with children.

Look for experience and training

It doesn’t matter how much you like a potential sitter, you need to be confident that they have experience with little ones, and know how to change a nappy, give a bottle and burp a baby. A general rule of thumb is the younger your baby, the older the babysitter should be. Sitters who have childcare qualifications and who have been trained in infant CPR and first aid are ideal.

Check references

It’s worth making sure they have good references. If they aren’t offered to you, don’t be afraid to ask for them – and make sure you follow them up. Knowing that other parents have been happy with their services will reassure any nagging doubts you may have.

Invite the babysitter round and lay ground rules

Before the actual day/evening, invite your sitter round so your little one can meet them and you can tell them about any allergies as well as where to find things like nappies, spare clothes, milk, bottles, blankets, tea/coffee, etc. Also let them know what you expect from them, eg no smoking and they can’t invite friends round. And now’s the time to agree a rate of pay – the last thing you want is to come home from a lovely night out and find you have the most expensive babysitter on the block!

Don’t forget to…

  • Leave your contact details in case of an emergency
  • Make sure you’ve got enough money to pay the sitter
  • Offer refreshments and maybe a little extra towards the cost of travel
  • Buy some Alka Seltzer – babies and next-morning hangovers aren’t a good mix!