We all wish that we could have Mary Poppins to take over the childcare while we indulge ourselves with a night out. Unfortunately, that is not possible. So, what does a parent do to find the best person to provide childcare for their kids, for just a few hours?

Here are five suggestions for you to consider when looking for your “Mary Poppins”:

Start looking for babysitters within your family or your circle of friends. Knowing the family of babysitter will ease your concerns. Even start involving these possible babysitters in caring for your child. When you are at a family gathering, ask for help from the likely candidate. Watch their reaction and interaction with your child.

Get references. If finding a babysitter within your family or friend circle is not possible, ask other parents at your child’s daycare or school. Even ask the daycare staff. Call these references. Think about the concerns you have and ask questions. How does the prospective babysitter interact with children and even other adults? The babysitter will be interacting with you just as much as with your children. Has the babysitter taken a babysitter course?

Arrange a trial visit. Have the chosen candidate come to your house for a couple of hours. Watch how they interact with your children. Do they engage your children? Are your children comfortable interacting with this babysitter? Leave your children alone with the babysitter for a few minutes, then pop back into the room to see what’s going on.

Ask the babysitter questions. Screening for a new babysitter is just like conducting a job interview. It is a job for the babysitter. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Have they taken a babysitters course? If so, what was their grade? What have they done in the past to entertain the children they have cared for? What would they do if.... Their answer will indicate their maturity level and reliability.

Talk with your children. After the trial visit and even after the first night of babysitting, talk with your children. Ask them what happened. What was their favorite part of the night? Did anything happen they didn’t like? Do they want this babysitter to come back?

Now that you have found the perfect babysitter. What do you do next?

Negotiate a good babysitter rate. Base this on the experience the babysitter has, if they have any training. For example, a babysitters course, CPR, etc. How many kids will the babysitter be caring for? What duties will the babysitter do, other than caring for the children? Are there any special requirements for the children in the babysitters care? For example, giving medicine at a special time or in a specific way.

Leave a list of duties for the babysitter. What do you expect from the babysitter? Are they just to look after the kids? Are they to tidy the playroom after the kids are settled in bed? Can they watch TV with the kids? Can they watch TV when the kids are in bed?

Ask yourself if you are comfortable with the babysitter using their cell
phone (texting) while caring for your children? Discuss this with the babysitter and if you are uncomfortable with the idea, make that clear
and provide a solution.

Make the rules of the house clear to both the babysitter and your kids.
Talk about the house rules together with your kids and the babysitter. Explain what you want the babysitter to do if the kids break one of the
rules. Once everyone is clear on the rules and consequences, there will
be no surprises.

Leave your number for the babysitter. This is very important. The
babysitter needs to know how to contact you if they need help or have
questions. If you will not be available to take their call, leave grandparents’ number or a trusted neighbors’ number, someone the
babysitter can trust for help or advise.

Most importantly, show your appreciation for your babysitter. Let them know when they can expect you to be home. If for some reason you are unable to be home on time, call them and let them know your expected arrival. Talk with the babysitter and ask for feedback about your kids. Ask if they, are comfortable with babysitting your kids? Develop a relationship with your babysitter so that they are comfortable to talk with you about the care of your children.

Your kids deserve the best and you deserve a night out once in a while. Take your time in this process, the time you spend looking for “Mary Poppins” will be rewarding for both you and your children!

Author's Bio: 

Hi my name is Kathryn Kessler. I am a children's picture book author. My first published book is titled, Marvin Discovers Snow, and with this book I created MarvinDiscovers. At MarvinDiscovers I share my passion for families connecting with their children on a creative level. I am passionate about the precious time families spend together discovering the world through their children’s eyes. I have raised two wonderful young men who are leading their own successful lives and I am a grandmother to a beautiful little girl. I know what it takes to raise children in the busy world of schedules, practices and homework. I also write articles for families on everyday family topics. These articles have been posted at www.ideamarketers.com. I invite you to discover my website, www.marvindiscovers.com and I look forward to sharing my passion with you.