I don't need a baby sitter. I am one. Baby sitting is something that parents tend to worry about (and with good reason!). Here are some tips on how to KEEP a good sitter once you've found them.
1. Pay your sitter a fair price. Remember that while you may want to be as frugal as possible this is still someone else's form of income. A good sitter interacts with your child and cares for them. A worker is worth his pay. I charge a flat rate of ten dollars an hour. I feel that that is a sufficient amount of money to compensate for the time I could be doing something else. What is minimum wage? Anything less than that is just demeaning.
2. Whenever possible, tell your sitter what time you will come back, and then stick to it. Sitters have a life outside of watching your children. Nothing is more frustrating for me than to have a family tell me they will be home at one time and then get home hours later. Just because they got home later doesn't mean that I don't have to be at work any later the next day.
3. If you have your baby-sitter driving your kids all around town, give them some extra money for gas. Even if it's only five bucks.
4. Along those lines, never ask your sitter to buy anything for your kids (dinner, school supplies, dog food, etc) without giving them the money first. You never know how much money your sitter may have and if they are in college they're probably on a pretty tight budget.
5. Be ready to pay your sitter. You would be amazed at how many times parents have asked me if I have change for their cash. Pay them when you get home. I baby-sit for a family weekly and sometimes she will just keep track of my hours and pay me at the end of the month. It works for that family. Then I baby-sat for another family that never paid me. And didn't up until two months later. Only after I called twice and then had to go pick up my check. Needless to say I won't be going back there.
6. Leave your baby-sitter options. If you don't want your kids to watch tv or play outside while you're gone, that's fine. But leave them options and ideas so that they know what to do when you are gone.
7. Be approachable. Ask how the night went. If your kid has had a rough day, ask if anything happened during the night. It's very hard for a baby-sitter to tell a parent when their child was disrespectful or disobedient. Open up the lines of communication so that the baby-sitter feels comfortable sharing that information with you.
The families that I love to baby-sit for do these things. And because I know what to expect and they are so helpful I am more willing to keep my schedule open for them.
These tips are what have worked to keep me with the families I am with! :)
Check out Kristin for more Works for Me Wednesday tips!