10 questions to ask yourself before asking a family member or friend to babysit

To prevent an emergency situation happening to you, here are 10 questions to ask yourself before asking a family member or friend to babysit.

Read last week’s blog about a babysit gone wrong? Read here.

Whether you have a cousin, mum, family friend or nephew available to babysit, you need to ask yourself these 10 questions before asking them to care for your children…

1.  Can you trust them?

You may be able to trust them with your house, but can you trust them with the well-being, care and safety of your children?

Will they be able to make the right decisions if there is an emergency? Would they know what to do if a child seriously cut themselves or choked on something? Have they done any first aid training? How will they discipline them?

** If the answer is no to any of the questions above, or you feel unsure, it is very important to read on, to avoid putting your children at risk because you hadn’t thought of these situations…

2.  Are they reliable? Are you sure they will arrive on time and stay until whatever time you need? 

Alternatively, if they get a better offer will they decline and stay committed to babysitting for you? You need to feel assured that you have a committed babysitter so you will not be stressing at the last minute trying to find a replacement.

3.  Who’s doing the travelling?

Will the babysitter be caring for them in their own home? If so, is there home safe?  Will your children be exposed to other adults in their home – strangers?  Will the babysitter be driving your children around – another whole can  of worms!  Think about it!

Will the babysitter expect you to pay for her travel time – petrol?  You may also need to supply food and snacks. And is there a deadline to collect them afterwards?  Be very clear with all the arrangements, your expectations and the babysitter’s qualifications.

4.  Do they know what to do? Are they experienced with your children’s ages?

When you find a nappy on backwards, and the 3-year-old in the cot, you have found out too late that they are not experienced. Look at the ages of your children and recognise the skills needed for a babysitter. There are many young women aged between 16 – 23 that have never had to deal with a dirty nappy, and some adults do not have the patience with a 2yo tantrum.

5.   Will they interact with your children?

Is the babysitter just going to ‘be there’, or will they actively interact with the children? Will they spend their time watching television, play on their phones or social media and leave the children to their own devices?  Or will they engage with them, play games, get down on the floor with them, chat, and read stories to your children?

6.  How will your children cope?

As much as you may trust your babysitter, do your children feel safe with them? Maybe they don’t like them – it is always a good idea to ask your children how they feel.

7.  Will your routines and rules be followed?

If you don’t allow cool drink and junk food, excessive ‘screen’ time on their devices and you have a set bedtime?  How will you feel when you find out they drank coke and went to bed late?  Not to mention having to to deal with the consequent behaviours? Is it worth the anxiety? Will your babysitter understand your rules and guidelines, and follow them?

8.  Will the babysitter act appropriately in front of your children?

Do you want your children learning the words to inappropriate music, be watching M rated movies, over-hearing babysitter phone conversations with their friends, or, even worse,  will the babysitter invite their friends over?  Does your babysitter understand what is considered appropriate for the ages of your children?

9.  What is the real cost?

It may be cheaper financially to have a friend or family member babysit, but sometimes it pays to book a reputable, screened and professional babysitter through an agency.

If you ask a friend or family, will you be expected to reciprocate or not?  Will you have to listen to the passing remarks over the next few visits?  Will you be judged or feel like you owe them? Will you feel guilty that you are overusing the same people too often? Is it worth it?

10.  Will you feel comfortable about your choice when you are out?

We all need to go out and can be anxious about leaving our children with someone we don’t know. There is a difference between parent nervousness, and a concerning gut feeling.  If you are thinking and feeling something is not quite right with the babysitter you have in mind,  will you listen to that inner voice?

Your children are precious. Your time out is very important.

If you can confidently answer all the above questions with the family member or friend, you have in mind, then ask them to babysit. Otherwise, there are alternative options available such as; a reputable creche, day-care and babysitting agencies where the needs of your children are put first, and your children are in safe hands.

If you would like to book a babysitter through a very reputable agency, then Cherished Cherubs is your go to agency.

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