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Whether you're returning to work after having a baby or just need someone to watch your child while you run errands, you'll need to find a sitter. And finding someone trustworthy to care for your child when you can't be there can be a major challenge. How to begin? If family or close friends aren't available to help, ask them for recommendations. You can also check with your local high school, YMCA or church or synagogue. The American Red Cross, which offers babysitting training courses, is also a good source for qualified sitters. Qualities to look for One general rule: Don't hire a sitter under the age of 12. And it's best to find an older sitter for babies and very young children. You don't need to hire the first sitter who offers her services. Keep interviewing until you find someone you are comfortable with. Make sure to check references. Look for someone who comes highly recommended and has CPR or first aid certification. During an interview, look for the following traits: Maturity and self-assurance A respectful manner Flexibility and willingness to adapt to the family's routines A calm demeanor, which comes in handy if there's a crisis Ease in answering any "what if" questions you ask Potential to be a positive role model to your child The interview Make sure to ask the following questions when interviewing a sitter: How much do you charge per hour? Is your rate negotiable? Do you have reliable transportation or would you need a ride? If one of my children was behaving badly, how would you handle it? (If you get the feeling the sitter would yell at or spank your child, trust your gut.) If my child got hurt, what would you do? Schedule a visit Have a potential sitter visit your home and meet your child before actually hiring him or her. Introduce the sitter to your child, then take a step back and observe. If your child is a baby, let her hold him, then watch how she acts with him. Your instincts will tell you whether she is comfortable with babies. Make sure she likes children. Is she animated and engaged with your child or does she seem uncomfortable? See if she's patient with your child. Watch your child's reaction to the babysitter. Does he tell her his life story? Does he show her his favorite toys? Does he ask her questions about herself? Is he shy, but comfortable? If your child misbehaves, watch the sitter's reaction. Does she try to discipline him? If so, is it in a positive or negative manner? Is she rough or harsh with him? Be sure to follow up Take a few moments to ask your new sitter how things went after the first time she watches your children. Answer any questions she may have and give her advice on any problems she may have encountered (such as, what to do next time little Johnny throws a tantrum at bedtime). Most importantly, talk to your child. Ask him how he liked the sitter and if he wants her to watch him again. Ask if anything happened to make him upset or uncomfortable. When you take extra care in choosing HealthLinerx.org your sitter, you are much more likely to find the perfect match.
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