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Leaving your little one with a babysitter (who isn’t your mum or a sibling) for the first time can be hard – even if it is to go and spend quality time with the other love of your life, your partner! We’ve got some great tips on finding the right babysitter – for you and your little one

Ask for recommendations

Your mummy and daddy friends will probably have a few sitters they like and keep asking back (and a few who they won’t!). Your health visitor or GP may be able to make recommendations too.

Try your childminder or nursery

If your little one goes to nursery or to a childminder, it’s worth asking them if they offer babysitting services. Not only will your baby know them already but they will also have lots of experience with children.

Look for experience and training

It doesn’t matter how much you like a potential babysitter, you need to be confident that they have experience with little ones, and, depending on your child’s age and stage, know how to change a nappy, give a bottle and burp them. A general rule of thumb is the younger your baby, the older the babysitter should be, but babysitters who have childcare qualifications and who have been trained in infant CPR and first aid are ideal. It’s worth looking at Sitters.co.uk as they use only approved childcarers.

Check references

Many childminders, nursery teachers and nannies are OFSTED-registered and hold a current DBS check (previously known as CRB – Criminal Records Bureau) but for those who don’t, it’s worth making sure they have good references. If they aren’t offered to you, don’t be afraid to ask for them – and make sure you follow them up. Knowing that other parents have been happy with their services will reassure any nagging doubts you may have.

It’s worth knowing that babysitters are not required to hold a current DBS check or be registered with OFSTED. 

Invite your babysitter round and lay ground rules

Before the big day, invite your sitter round so your little one can meet them. You’ll also be able to tell them about any allergies as well as where to find things like nappies, spare clothes, milk, bottles, blankets, tea/coffee, etc. Also let them know what you expect from them – for example, no smoking and they can’t invite friends round. And now’s the time to agree a rate – the last thing you want is to come home from a lovely night out and find you have the most expensive babysitter on the block!

Don’t forget to…

  • Leave your contact details in case of an emergency
  • Make sure you’ve got enough money to pay the sitter
  • Offer refreshments and maybe a little extra towards the cost of getting your babysitter home at the end
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