Genevieve Thiers: Ah, summer. The time everybody takes off for vacation ... even your regular babysitter. Unless you want to spend your ENTIRE summer with your kids (and if you do, what's your secret?!), it's time to start finding a replacement sitter NOW!
Tricky, but not impossible. Whenever babysitting season picks up, you just need to learn a few quick tips to stay ahead of the pack and secure that perfect sitter. To give yourself an edge this year, follow these 5 tips for finding (and keeping!) a summertime sitter.
1. Start your sitter search now.
Some sitters may not have their summer schedules planned out very far in advance, so they're hesitant to accept summer jobs too early. (After all, they'd still like to take advantage of their time off.) Searching immediately after graduation at the end of May is a great time to snag a sitter -- so start searching NOW. Anything later may mean that the best summer sitters have already been booked by eager parents, leaving you in a babysitter bind.
2. Ask about schedules/vacations upfront.
During the sitter interview, ask potential sitters for a write-up of their scheduled vacations and absences. If one is planning on taking a two-week trip to the beach as soon as you get back from your own family vacation, you could be left hanging at the most inopportune time. Getting a written schedule allows you to see if the sitter will be around when you need her and also helps you keep better track of all the caregivers you interview.
3. Consider vacation pay.
If your family is planning on taking any vacations in the middle of the summer, you have to think about how to handle that in terms of paying your sitter. To keep sitters loyal to the family, some parents offer a vacation pay stipend while they are away. It's a great idea if you can afford it, but if you want to be able to justify the cost a little better, think about using your babysitter as a pet sitter or house sitter to make use of her availability while you're out of town.
4. Write out the details.
If your children will be attending day camps or will be participating in any other scheduled activities this summer, write out all of the days/dates and times that the sitter should be aware of. If your children would like to have friends over (or would like to go to a friend's house), write out the friend's parent's contact information, address, and details so the sitter can schedule a playdate with ease. Having all of these details in front of her will help your sitter stay on task each day and keep the schedule running smoothly.
5. Plan for fun.
Kids tend to get bored during the summer, so it's a great idea to give your sitter the tools she'll need to keep them entertained during these warm months. Providing her with a jar of "fun money," for example, allows her to take the children bowling or to the movies, helping her to do something special with the children in between the usual bike rides, outdoor picnics, and water balloon fights.
Looking for a place to start your summer sitter search? Try Sittercity.com!
|Genevieve Thiers is the founder and CEO of Sittercity.com, the country's largest and most trusted online source for child care. Through Sittercity, she has been able to transform her vast child care experience into an award-winning company and the industry leader in online care. She also literally wrote the book on child care, titled "Love at First Sit."|