I am all about the woo woo stuff in life. Human Design, crystals, raising my vibe with essential oils, etc....But I am still a mom and need to get stuff (like finding good childcare) done!
I have found that summertime is full of transitions for kids and parents. School is ending, crazy activity schedules are put on hold and summer (or mom) camp is beginning.
These can be great things or it can cause a bit of stress. For me, my biggest challenge of summer is that both of my regular sitters (who I freaking LOVE) are not going to be available. They are moving on to bigger things and I am totally excited for them.
This also means that it's time to find a new sitter for the nights I have work.
Here was my process.
You will notice that I really included my kids in a majority of the steps because THEY are the ones who will be spending the most time with the person. It was super important to me that they felt like they had some control over who watches them when I am unable to be home.
Step 1: Tell kids that we are looking for a new sitter. This not only gives them an opportunity to process the fact that their past sitter won't be coming anymore AND when they come across a caring adult they can see if they babysit. :) You will also want to create a post on Sittercity that states exactly what you are looking for in a caregiver with specifics about WHEN you will need them to be available. The more specific you are the less time you will have to spend on step 2.
Step 2: Weed through the 100's of applications you get to make sure they are free when you need them AND they will be free through the school year at the same time so you don't have to repeat this process in 2 months. Create a list of your favorites based on bios, past experience, and general vibe. I prefer people who have some college education and ideally a background in education or summer camps.
Step 3: Show the pictures and read the bios of your top 5 candidates to your kids. Reach out to schedule a phone interview. You will probably end up speaking to 2 or 3 of them. If you get a vibe set up a time to meet in person with the kids present so you can see how they act around them.
Step 4: Create a "Mary Poppins" like list that includes questions that are important to the kids as well as questions that relate to safety or caregiving skillset.
Here is our list:
What would you do in the event one of the girls got hurt?
Do you know CPR?
What would you do if the girls were being unkind?
Do you yell?
What would you do if the girls were bored?
Are you ok driving with kids in the car? Do you have a good driving record?
Do you know how to make mac and cheese and other kids food?
Are you ok with cleaning up?
Are you ok with giving baths?
Are you ok with using an epi-pen?
Are you allergic to anything?
Do you know how to do hair?
What kinds of crafts are you good at?
Do you know about slime? What about cleaning up slime?
Do you like to play family or dolls?
Are you patient?
Do you know how to change a diaper or have experience with potty training?
Do you like playing outside?
Do you know how to look for ticks?
(feel free to add your own)
Step 5: Meet in person and go through the questions. My 9-year-old was intent on leading the interviews so she asked the questions while I listened in and asked for specifics. Part two of the interview also included having the sitter play with the kids to see how she (or he) handles them. Use your gut. If something feels off, find someone else. After they leave tell them you will be in touch after checking out the references.
Step 6: If they pass step 5 then move onto checking their references and running a background check.
Step 7: Offer position and finalize salary and work hours.
Step 8: The first few times stay home and use sitter as a mothers helper. This allows her to get to know the kids better and they feel more comfortable. Only leave sitter alone with kids once you feel 100% in her ability to be mature and care for them.
Step 9: Check-in and address issues or concerns as they come up. Make sure they have all necessary contact info and emergency numbers. Check in regularly and ask for updates.
Over time you can introduce them to your woo woo ways and suggest they have a Human Design reading or try meditation, but I wouldn't do it until you have established a good rapport and they know what an awesome mom you are. :)
Step 10 (ongoing): Praise sitter for all her amazing work and give bonuses as needed. This ensures they are happy and don't leave prematurely....causing you to spend more time to find someone else....and avoiding more stress in your life. :)
Hope this helps you if you are in the middle of looking for extra childcare.
I am proud to admit that have a pretty great track record of finding great sitters so I know they are out there! :)