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Babysitting Agencies in General

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

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      08.12.2009 22:03
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      It has to be right for everyone

      Having read an interesting review on this subject I decided to write my own

      Despite been in my late 30's I do still have memories of both my sister and I been babysat when we were young children and I think people who generally did only really did once and to those people I apologise.

      I do remember many of my teen friends babysitting for children they didn't; even know although I was far too busy looking cool or so I thought hanging around on street corners

      Now as a parent myself I do have to think about who I allow to care for my children. I don't have any family to care for my son so is left to rely on friends or professionals.

      Why have baby sitters?

      It is a chance to go out and be something other than a parent and the frequency does vary from parents partly down to choice and finance.

      Who to trust?

      I find the concept of a young teenager who doesn't know my son looking after him incomprehensible. If I am to leave the house to go out and enjoy myself then I do need to know that my son is feeling happy and safe. This is not to say he wouldn't prefer me to stay home but to know he is with someone who he can feel secure to meet his needs is not only important for him but also for me.

      I do have huge trust issues as a result of his Dad's treatment towards him. When he was only six weeks old I left him with his Dad while he slept in his Moses basket so I could go and lie down and also get a nap. I woke an hour later and found my husband staggering all over the garden as he had decided to take an overdose while my son slept. So from that day I have always taken responsibility for my son no matter where I went I took him with me.

      My experience

      My son did suffer from this by the fact he developed severe separation issues far beyond the normal child and if he would glance around a room and not see me he would panic.

      I was lucky to have the support of a sure start worker who came in and would play with the two of us and then slowly he would interact and gained confidence in her. This grew until he was able to cope with knowing I was upstairs before then he progressed to going to nursery.

      It took my son over six months to really understand that when mommy goes away she always comes back and it has only been since he was over two that I have considered leaving him with anyone else other than professionals.

      I have only left my son twice, which was over the summer with a husband of my friend who my son adores. On the first occasion he took him down to the local playgroup which my son had visited regularly with his own son who is a little younger.

      On the second he stayed at the same friend's house with their two sons and 3 month daughter while I went out for two hours with a few friends to the pub in the afternoon .While my son apparently stayed at the gate for five minutes shouting for me he soon got on with the important job of playing.

      For me though I did have a little guilt at passing the responsibility of someone looking after my son I did actually relax a little and enjoy myself and I think this is down to the fact that I waited for my son and myself to be ready and having confidence in the person I left my son with. I knew that my son would have the confidence to go to this man for comfort and reassurance and it was someone who was capable of coping in a crisis.

      I do think these experiences have been very positive in building my sons confidence and Despite my worries he actually enjoyed himself without me. When he returned to nursery after a long break for the summer seems to adjust much better than he had previously done.

      While I don't have a great deal of experience of leaving my child with others I do know that if you want to relax and enjoy yourself you need to have faith in the babysitter.

      I am planning to go out again to the cinema next weekend when my sister comes to visit. This is actually my friend and not her husband who is coming to her house. She is a very competent parent and has told me if there is a problem you will be last to know I shall dial 999. This is surprisingly reassuring for me.

      I will no doubt have intrusive thought wondering how my son is and a little guilt but know he is in safe hands.

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        21.11.2009 22:51
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        Loving doing it, if you need a babysitter in SW or SE London, contact me!

        I am writing this review of the babysitter point of you. I am nanny, I enjoy doing evening babysittings for families and doing it regularly through an agency or private.

        Advanteges for the babysitter:
        ~easy money, babysitting usually starts when kids are already in bed,so all you have to do is to check on them every half an hour

        ~you are in a warm and safe place, families either provide taxi for you to get back home or you have your own transport

        ~there is plenty of tea/coffee available

        ~you can watch girlish movies if you want to-there is no one there to say don't

        ~you can build up your clients and they will call you first if they need a babysitter

        Disadvantages:
        ~you have to be punctual-mustn't be late as parents usually have something booked up

        ~it's a very responsible job- you do need to safeguard children at all the time

        ~children can wake up during the night and if they don't know you, they can freak out and scream for hours (or minutes but it seems like hours)

        ~can be a bit awkward accepting money from a drunk parent (if it happens)

        I have a proper liability insurance and have current paediatric first aid certificate so if anything happens, I know what to do, who to contact.

        I always make sure I have at least 2 contact numbers of the parents and they know my contact details as well, always have emergency details at hand. You have to be very mature and concentrate on what you are doing.

        I charge 8 pounds an hour for a minimum of 4 hours booking in South-West London, but do babysittings for less through Sitters agency. I have my own transport,so families don't need to worry about how i get back home. I always wash up teacups/spoons as well after myself and have change at hand if parents only have paper money.

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        27.07.2002 05:55
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        Note to parents: Most parent's are a little bit reticent at leaving their children with a babysitter at first, but this is a common thing - most working parent's leave their children in day nursery's during the day (like from 8.00am till 6.00pm), so you shouldn't feel too bad about leaving them for four or five hours in the evenings to go and spend some well deserved time out to relax and take the pressures away from being a parent. If you have children of your own, then you will understand how important breaks from your children are, and just because you leave them with a babysitter doesn't mean that you are not showing them your love, in fact, the children might love you even more for it because you would of given them the chance of a new experience. My Babysitting Stories I have been babysitting myself for quite a long time (probably since the age of 14 or younger), so it's been a good few years. I don't have the time much anymore due to lots of studying but on the odd occasion, I have been known to look after my nieces and nephew when my sister or brother need the spare time. A few of my experiences? Family Number One This family were the nicest family ever, they always used to offer to pick me up from my house to get to their home in the first place, and even offered me a lift home in their car (if they hadn't drank any alcohol) after babysitting their two young babies. Another good thing about this family were that they were fairly relaxed. They showed me where the fridge was and where the phone was and told me not to hesitate to ring them if I was unsure of anything, they even told me that if I should feel peckish then I could help myself to some food and cola. They were very kind in that way, and the two babies weren't too bad themselves although they could be a handful at times. When I first started looking after the babies (twins), they were aged approximately 9 months. Babie
        s are so cute as this age and extremely easy to look after - it was my first proper babysitting job and I thought 'wow, this doesn't seem like hard work', especially after reading the week or so before about that case in America with Louise Woodward (the Au pair) and how she couldn't handle the child who was meant to be in her care. Anyway, the twins were really cute - when I got to their house they were usually awake but on the way off to sleep (dozing) in their cots. This meant that I didn't have to feed them or anything like that, just change their nappies when required, keep an eye on them (especially if I heard crying through the baby monitor), and give them bottled milk if they cried for it. The reason why I stopped babysitting for that family was because when the babies were about a year and three quarters, they all moved house to somewhere up North and so it would have been a bit far for me to travel (seeing as I'm all the way down South in London). Family Number Two This family was awful, they expected something for nothing. They wanted to pay me lousy rates of money for doing so much hard work. I mean, it wasn't as if there was only one or two children either - there were three, and if I was very unlucky, the friends of the parents (who also had children) would leave their children with me too, and I wouldn't get paid any more money for doing much more work. Do you know how difficult it is to amuse up to five toddlers? We're not even talking babies here, we are talking about proper little brats aged between two and five - the type that could drive absolutely anyone up the wall within a few hours. The other thing I didn't like about this family was that they weren't very relaxed, they didn't show me where the fridge was, or the toilet (I had to ask before they went out) and they didn?t leave me any contact numbers (which I classed as essential, and thought that any good and sensible parent w
        ould think of). The children were spoilt and always used to ask for chocolate and try and push their luck with me by being cheeky and rude. It got to the point where the parents were ordering me about, and I felt like I had lost the sense of being in control, so I soon finished with that job. Family Number Three This was a different sort of babysitting, one from the comfort of my own home. The only problem with this was that once the kids had settled off to sleep, they didn't like being woken up by their parents coming to my house to pick them up, sometimes even in early hours of the morning. I much preferred babysitting at my house though, because I had my own home comforts, didn't feel uncomfortable or that I couldn't move around, and was able to get on with other things (such as a spot of cleaning) whilst looking after the children at the same time. This sort of babysitting wouldn't be for everyone because there are no set ideas of the times and also if the parents have had a lot to drink, it then becomes difficult because there is no one to pick up the children. I found that the children were more comfortable at my house though, they brought along a few of their favourite toys such as teddy bears, puzzles and books, and I managed to keep them amused for hours. The whole different surroundings was better for them too because it was something new to them. An important point to note is that if you are not happy with the family you are working for, then you have as much right as they would if they didn't like you, to tell them and to finish working for them. How can I look for babysitting jobs? If you want to start babysitting then the first thing to do is sort out all of your details (which I go on to talk about later on in this opinion). You then write down important key facts about the service you are offering, such as a contact number (I recommend mobile numbers so that they can get through to you
        anytime - therefore meaning more work if your phone is answered compared to your home phone keep ringing while your out and them getting inpatient)...although if you do not have a mobile phone then a home phone is fine (would be useful if you had an answer phone for them to leave a message on. Include your first name only, and a little bit about yourself, such as your age, the area you wish to work around and the furthest you'll travel too, and a few bits about your hobbies. You can put these cards up in places like newsagents or even your local Woolworth's or supermarket, which should have a special designated notice board. You can even put advertisements up in your local newspapers. References Having references from places where you have been employed before or even from your school (if you are still in education, which most babysitters are) help you to find jobs much more easily. On your cards that you put around, if it says 'references included', more people are likely to think 'ohhh, we'll check her out because she has obviously had past experience with this sort of thing before'. A good idea would be to get references from people you have babysat for before as well, even if it is family or your next-door neighbours. How much should I be paid? How much do you think that your services warrant? It is your call to decide how much you charge, don't feel like you are being bargained with here. Childcare does cost a lot, I know of nursery's, which charge up to a tenner an hour...so by you charging half of that wouldn't be extreme. In my opinion, I think you should work out how much to charge, on an hourly basis and also depending on how many children there are. Say for instance your hourly rate is £5 including the first child, and then a pound for any children after that, i.e £7 an hour for three children. If you set your prices as too low, people will just take you for granted and although
        money isn't everything, you will feel as though you have nothing to show for your hard work, and think about it from this view - if the parents can afford to go out and have dinner or do whatever they are doing whilst you are looking after their children, then they can afford to pay you with a reasonable wage. After all, it isn't like babysitting is your main source of income, but it is nice to feel appreciated. What to do whilst babysitting? The whole idea of babysitting is that you are as involved as possible with the children and are helping them to interact by you sitting there reading a book or watching the TV, isn't going to set a good impression and the child might even tell mummy or daddy that you wasn't playing with them, which won't look too good on you. What I recommend doing is either reading books, sitting down and letting them tell the story for you and that when they get stuck or tired that you continue it for them. If the children are tired and want a quick activity before going to bed, then you can always do a small puzzle with them, helping them if you want to speed up the game. You could always put on a teletubbies or tweenie video to keep them occupied, but make sure that their full attention isn't on that alone. If the weather is warm and it is summer then the nights won't be as dark, so for the first few hours of babysitting you could play some games outside (if they have a garden), but this has to be done with great care, keeping eyes on them at all times to keep them out of danger. What do you do if the child is naughty? Well some parent's think that the best way to punish a child is to give them a smack - now I am totally against this and if any parents asked me to do it, I just couldn't bring myself to do it, the child would end up with a grudge against me and I wouldn't feel comfortable with knowing that I could do damage to a child (probably quarter of the size
        of me at least - and I'm not that big!). I prefer to use the 'lets take something away method' or 'sit down quietly until you can learn how to behave' type of discipline, one where no harm is involved and the child knows where they stand. By taking a toy away from them, yes, they might get upset at first, but then they'll know not to do it again if they want to play with it. By making them be quiet, they will soon get bored and then understand that if they had done as they were told or asked, then they wouldn't have to sit in total silence, wasting their own time (don't make it seem as if you are wasting your own time, even if you are). What should I do if the worst happens? What could possibly go wrong? You might be thinking, but believe me, the least you expec, the more it could happen. The children could get into all sorts of problems such as cutting themselves by accident on a kitchen knife, burning themselves on a boiling kettle, lots of things could happen that are potentially dangerous. Obviously at all times, make sure you are aware of any dangers and don't do anything which could be hazardous, but if it does happen and there isn't anything you can do to prevent it...then you have to deal with it afterwards. Obviously using a first aid kit shouldn't be too difficult (ask the parents where they keep it before they go out - this will make you look responsible, especially in cases where the child could be hurt). Obviously don't start performing major operations...if they are in that much pain?then seek medical advice urgently! Note: Ask the parents to leave a list of telephone numbers for the clinic, doctors and their mobile numbers (if they have them) or the place that they are going to be going. Tell them that they would be the first to know if anything was to go wrong...and possibly ask them for a relative's number in case you couldn't get through to them. If you can be tru
        sted in this way, then the parents will recommend you to all of their friends and before long, you'll have lots of work. Another note: Before the parents go out, find out what time approximately they will be back, and what the arrangements are for lifts or how you will be getting home. Never be late when you arrive at the house, because this will delay the parents and might make them less friendly towards you. Overall, I liked most of the family's that I worked for and if you find the right one's for you, then I'm sure that your experience will be equally as good as mine have been. The job can be quite fun if you like children, but make sure that you do not abuse the trust of the parents by going and inviting all of your friends over to have a party, or something like that, you can guarantee that the child will be reporting back to their parents. Good luck.

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          23.01.2002 15:01
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          Last weekend I was counting money in the cash office with Heather, one of our office staff, when the topic of babysitting came up. She’s a couple of years younger than me and still at college, and the night before she’d been sitting for 2 little girls who live near her. I was 15 before I started babysitting, and I know many people who started at a younger age, but I was still a little wary about just why this mother was willing to leave her kids with a teenager she barely knew. Still, we all survived – none of the kids died and as far as I know none complained, because I carried on babysitting for them and various other families for the following few years until I left home. Although I appreciate that most of the writers and therefore readers on this site are not going to be babysitting themselves, I still want to write this from a babysitter’s point of view – you can always work through it in reverse, telling your sitter the things I’ve said they need to know before they get round to asking. Looking after children is often one of the first jobs teenagers get, which in itself is scary – before they’re trusted with tills or stock or whatever, parents are happy to lave them in charge of children. If you’re responsible, though, it can be a fun hobby that earns you money, so follow the tips and you’ll be fine.  PAY – it might not be most important to the parents, but it often is to the sitters. There are 2 usual arrangements in this case – either and hourly fee, or a set fee for, say, the evening. I worked for both and was pretty well paid, averaging £6 / hour on more than one occasion, but I’m guessing the parents decided that if they paid me well I’d do a good job – after all, you get what you pay for. I would never be happy actively babysitting (ie for 5 hours during the day when the kids are awake at all times) for less than £3 an hour, and prefer
          ably more, but I never argued with a family over pay – they always seemed to offer more than enough when I was there.  FINDING FAMILIES – or maybe letting them find you. I used to work in a newsagents, and we had numerous notices in the windows asking for babysitters. I found one family this way, but this wasn’t the only way I got hired. Others were my teachers at school (doing foreign languages helped “My hobbies are dancing, gymnastics and babysitting”, “Really? Want to mind my two kids next week?” etc etc) and my bosses grandkids. My final family approached me at work in the shop deciding I must be local and looked responsible enough, and asked me to watch their two babies one night. I did it a few times, but they weren’t my favorite family and so I didn’t keep going back. This is an important point – parents would have no qualms about not asking you back if they / the kids didn’t think you were perfect, so equally you shouldn’t keep returning to a family or house you’re not 100% comfortable with.  ACTIVITIES – because I was often being paid quite a bit, I never felt happy watching TV. I’d do homework, but only once the children were in bed, and even then only because I often babysat for my teachers, so it looked good for them to return and find me hard at work. I generally took my lead from what the kids wanted to do – in their eyes I was just someone coming to play with them while mummy and daddy were out, and so over the years we did painting, read books, cooked, put on shows, watched special videos, played in the garden and so on, whatever they wanted really. When I was at work during the day, we’d go on the beach or for a walk to the playground for a few hours if the weather was up to it. I sometimes took my own old books along with me, since some of the kids had very limited reading material in their houses – the only
          downside here being that they often wanted me to leave the book there for them to read again – at times only promises that I’d bring it back next time got me off the hook.  QUESTIONS – no matter how persuasive the kids are, you shouldn’t rush upstairs with them (whoops, that sounds a bit kinky) the minute you arrive – there are things you need to discuss with the parents. It’s always good to have a contact number where they can be reached, and an estimated time when they’ll be back, although I learnt the hard way that you shouldn’t necessarily expect them to stick to this. You need to ask about bedtimes and snacks and medication in front of the kids, so they can’t come back with a “but mum said we didn’t have to be in bed till 11” later on.  DISCIPLINE – this is a bit of a hard one. I’ve never slapped a child I’ve been looking after, but they have been punished if they’ve been naughty (Nathan, that means you). Usually if we hadn’t discussed tactics with the parents in advance, I’d send them to sit on the stairs for 15 mins or so until they’d calmed down / decided to behave (stairs being the new alternative to being sent to their room, the latter of which contains far to many tempting treats I the form of toys, playstations and televisions.  AFTERWARDS – if it’s nighttime and the kids are in bed, there’s nothing to stop you having the TV on quietly (so you can hear them if they wake – no matter how intriguing Ali G is that night, you’re being paid to watch the kids, not relax) and having something to eat or drink, just try not to eat all the food in the house. Several of my families would leave out trays full of goodies just for me, but even little things are touching – I remember one family once bought an extra crème egg so the kids and I could each have one while wat
          ching Mulan that night, which was really sweet.  IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG – you just have to deal with it, whether it be a kid wetting the bed or the house burning down. If you think you’re sensible enough to be looking after kids, then you should be sensible enough to cope in such a situation. If it’s a major problem though, as others wrote in the comments, you might need extra help. I always knew where parents were going and usually had a mobile number so I could ring them if I absolutely had to. They usually automatically gave me a list of useful numbers (child’s doctor / local relatives / neighbours details) when I arrived – if they didn’t I would ask. If there’s a problem of any kind, make a note of it to tell the parents when they return (the ashes might be a good sign, but not all problems are so obvious). At the end of the day, I enjoyed babysitting but it’s not an easy job. Even when the kids are asleep you’re always conscious that they could wake up crying at any moment, unwilling to go back to sleep until they get a suitable for explanation for exactly why Mummy isn’t there to sooth them. One huge bonus is thew hours – you can work to suit you, and if someone asks you to sit during a week when you have loads of school work to do, you can always say no, but be warned, say no to often and they'll find a replacement rather than stay in for a month. It can be fun or stressful, well paid or slave labour, worth it or a waste of time, but find a family and kids you like and respect, and you can’t go far wrong.

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            12.07.2001 04:58

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            Babysiters are a wonderful thing. - Advantages: Get a break, Have some 'down' time - Disadvantages: May not be someone you trust, Are they reliable to watch your loved ones?

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            26.03.2001 00:23
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            I babysat through most of my teens, and my experiences were generally good. However, I did learn a lot along the way, and hope that some of this will be useful to parents as well as other babysitters. FINDING A BABYSITTER It can be difficult for parents to find a babysitter they trust. However, it is equally important that the babysitter can trust the parents. For this reason, it is best for all concerned if they know each other beforehand or are introduced by someone both trust. That doesn’t mean you can’t go outside your own circle of friends: someone at your children’s school may have suggestions, for example. If, as a parent, you cannot find someone by this route and have to advertise, do give careful consideration to the concerns of anyone answering the advert. You may be concerned at leaving your children with a stranger; your babysitter will be at least as concerned at going alone to a stranger’s house. Frankly, anyone who responds to an advert and is unconcerned is probably rather too naïve to have care of your children! When you, the children and the babysitter first meet, be realistic about what to expect. The babysitter cannot act as she would if you weren’t there: she is in an awkward position, not having any authority to tell the children what to do if you are present. If her behaviour or the children’s response give you cause for concern, trust your instincts; but if they simply don’t get on together like long-lost friends, and if the babysitter seems a little awkward, this is quite natural. INFORMATION There are many things the babysitter will need to know, the first being details of the children. She will be far happier and find the day or evening much easier if she is introduced to them in advance by the parents, and knows their names and ages. An honest character outline can be helpful too! Second, be clear about rates of pay from the ve
            ry beginning. Are you paying a set amount or an hourly rate? If the former, be very precise about the times involved. If the latter, do you pay more for time after midnight, for example? You should generally assume that you will pay for a full hour for any part hours: if this is not the case, make that clear too. It may all seem very cold and businesslike, but it saves a lot of arguments or disappointment later and makes sure everybody is clear about where they stand. It is also better for you to raise this, as it can be embarrassing for the babysitter to bring up the subject. Mention other rules, such as whether friends can accompany her, and whether you will give her a lift home, at the same time. Third, provide all the information the babysitter will need about bedtimes, feeding, etc. Be clear about what is a rule and what is a guideline: when you say the child goes to bed at 7pm, is 7.15 alright as it’s a special occasion? (Most children do consider an extra few minutes as a ‘perk’ of being babysat!). Do they have a biscuit at bedtime, must they have a specific drink? Children are very good at giving plausible accounts of what ‘always’ happens, and will get away with it unless you have made the real facts clear! Fourth, give contact information. Consider whether the babysitter can be told about helpful neighbours as well as your own contact details. This has two advantages: first, as a babysitter it is very reassuring to know there is someone nearby if help is needed *now*. Second, not every need for help is an emergency worth spoiling your evening for. The occasion when I needed help catching an escapee donkey springs to mind! Fifth, your babysitter will need refreshments! Obvious, but easily overlooked while you are worrying about passing on your contact details, your children’s routine, etc. At a minimum, make sure that she knows how to find hot and cold drinks. Offering bisc
            uits is a nice thought, too. If the babysitting is over a mealtime, do make sure that food is available. Finally, confirm the time you expect to return. Check whether the babysitter will have problems if you are later. (For example, a school-age babysitter will not appreciate your returning at 3am on a school night). Should delays occur, or the evening simply continue later than expected, try to let the babysitter know if you will be substantially later. (This raises the issue of the telephone: do you want the babysitter to ignore it, answer and take messages, or listen to messages as they are left and just pick up the phone if it is you? Make sure she knows what to do, or she will be tense and unhappy every time the phone rings). LEAVING FOR THE NIGHT Make sure you have passed on all the information above, with contact details in writing. There are some useful notepads and memo boards available specifically for setting out babysitting information: these can be a good way of making sure you’ve remembered everything! Your child may now start crying and screaming. Don’t put off your departure, or feel guilty if you don’t phone to check every ten minutes, as the child will almost invariably calm down once you have gone. Just make it clear that if the child remains upset, the babysitter will contact you say in half an hour. Trust that if there is no phone call, all is well. The babysitter will also be reassured that if the child remains inconsolable, you want to know. That way, neither you nor she have to spend the evening worrying. A FINAL THOUGHT: BABYSITTING CIRCLES One idea I haven’t seen mentioned on DooYoo, but which can work extremely well, is a babysitting circle. A group of parents get together and agree a token system. Tokens are paid to other parents in the circle for babysitting, making an evening out much cheaper as no cash changes hands! Apart from the usual issues o
            f trust and so on, it is (believe it or not) important to set out some rules or guidelines to ensure all parents spend as well as earn tokens. Some circles have had problems with nearly all tokens being accumulated by one member! Although by its nature, the circle’s membership will consist entirely of parents, you should still bear in mind the points above, especially regarding information. Different people have different parenting styles, not to mention different ages of children. Equally, problems can arise no matter how experienced the sitter.

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              24.03.2001 05:09
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              As a mother I know how hard it is to find someone to look after your children while you are at work.You need a child minder that you can trust if possible a family member or a family friend someone who will not ask to be paid to much I pay my friend ten pound a week for two hours per night if I was to get a childminder in I would be paying fifty sixty pound as I only earn forty I would be better off staying at home. Some parents say they cannot find a child minder if you really want to go to work then you will find a childminder.My partner works shifts so I cannot reley on him to have my children.Before you do get a childminder in you need to know your child/children will be safe with them,you feel comfortable with them looking after your children and if they have references check these out. I do not trust a childminder with my children after all the bad press they have had I need to know my children are safe and I am not putting them in danger.As all parents know you would do anything to protect your children I would love to return to full time work but as my children are not in school I cannot and I would rather wait until there are both in school.Sometimes as Im getting ready to go to work and my son crys for me and I think to myself can I do this? But I am doing this for my children to give them a better life.

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              23.03.2001 21:32
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              To leave a child with a baby sitter is always a hard choice to make, but it is sometimes unavoidable. Not all of us have family who can sit for us, so then we have to use the services of a babysitter. When you know you have to do it is when the panic sets in... BUT....there are steps you can take to make the whole situation that bit more relaxed for both you and your child. The first step is to find a babysitter. Try asking around. Do any of your friends or members of your family use a regular babysitter? If they do ask them for their opinions, and if you think their sitter sounds like a responsible person, and they are happy with them, then ask to be put into contact with them. If that doesn't find you a suitable sitter then there is always advertising. You could place your own advertisment in a shop or local paper, these are usually inexpensive and in some cases are free. Sometimes you may also see baby sitters advertising their services. Try and decide exactly the sort of person you would like, remember that age and maturity do not always make a good babysitter, but on the otherhand you do not want a child to take care of your child. If all else fails there are actually employment agencies which supply babysitters. Once you have made contact with a babysitter, you need to meet them and your child needs to meet them. Make it clear from the outset though that you are not offering them a babysitting job, just meeting them and letting them meet you. When you do meet them, you will have a good opprtunity to see how they interact with your child. ALWAYS ask them for references from others that they have babysat for. Make sure you check these references out as well!! Ask the referees how did the sitter get on, was their child / children happy? were there any problems, and would they actually recommend leaving your child with the sitter in question? If at the end of all of this yo
              u are feeling slightly happier, that you may have found a potential sitter for your child, so you can actually have that well overdue night out, then you need to start thinking of ground rules, for both the sitter , the child and yourself. You must tell the baby sitter exactly what you expect from them. As much detail as you can give, makes life much easier for all concerned and everyone knows where they stand. Explain your childs routine to them, and write it down, so they can refer to it when you are out. Tell them what your child is allowed in the way of drinks and snacks and when bedtime is. Are there particular tv programmes you do not allow your child to watch? If your child is still quite samll then feeding schedules need to be written down. The more information you give the less chance there is for misunderstandings. Let them know how you wish the sitter to discipline your child as well, for example, if the child wont go to bed, then turning the TV off, is acceptable, that sort of thing. Also make it very clear what you do not want. For example, you take it for granted that a baby sitter would not smack your child, but if you tell them in the first place that this will not be tolerated then ther are no misunderstandings. In the same vein , let them know if you do not wish them to entertain their friends in your house whilst you are out You need to discuss payment with your sitter, and an amount should be decided before you leave. Also you need to discuss how they will be getting home.....the last thing you need is to go out have a drink and arrive back home to find the sitter expects a lift. Make sure you tell them what time to expect you home again, and as far as you can, stick to that time. MAke sure you write down addresses and phone numbers where they can contact you. Also if there is anyone else you would like them to call if they can't reach you. Write down your ch
              ilds full name, date of birth and your doctors telephone number. Your babysitter will need all of this info, if there should be an emergency. If you have a toddler or older child then tell them you will be going out. Reasure them that you will be home again and tell them when you will see them again. Tell them who will be looking after them, and explain to them what you expect from them when you are out. This is easy with an older child, but even with a toddler it does help to reasure them, and some things do sink in. You may have a few tears if they are still awake when you go out, but don't let that put you of, even a child who is used to a babysitter may still cry, just in the hope you will stay. Lastly relax, and have a good time. You can always phone home to see how things are going if you want. Remember, being a parent doesn't mean you don't have a life any more, and you can find a good babysitter and get out there and have a little time for yourself. It makes a better parent of us all and if you find a good sitter than it can be a really good experience for your child as well.

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                03.10.2000 17:38
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                My son was 2. It was Valentines day and my partner sprung a surprise on me. He telephoned me from work and explained he had booked us a table at a restuarant and we would see a movie first. I asked him who was going to look after our son. He explained that our neighbour, 2 doors down, daughter who was 16 would do it. I knew her, she was an adorable girl. Very studious and caring. Always playing with our son. I was dubious about leaving him because I hadnt left him before, but as the other half had taken the time to bother, I thought okay. We went out and took our meal home as I was anxious. When we arrived home our son was asleep on the setee. We paid the girl and watched her go home. I carefully took my son up to bed and noticed a wet patch by his head...in fact the setee was sodden. I thought he must have been sweating. The next morning his eyes were extremely puffy, and were very tired looking. Out shopping I bumped into our elderly neighbour who inquired "is he teething"... I laughed an said "No" she offered..."only last night he was crying alot....." I explained we had gone out and asked her for more details. She told me that he had cried from 7.30 until 10.00 without stopping once. She said he had been at the front door all night (inside). She knew this because our front doors were next to each other. She emphasised he had NOT stopped once, and had not moved. She thought about knocking but didnt want to pry. So, the wet patch on the setee was his tears when he finally moved from the front door (obviously waiting for us) and the puffy eyes were due to the amount of crying he had done. I was so upset. I was so guilty. She didnt try to console him. She didnt try to play with him. She didnt even try to comfort him. I know this because our elderly neighbour would have listened at the wall...I KNOW SHE WOULD HAVE. I still feel guilty and would never use a 'stranger' again. It would have to be trusted family. Okay, you might thin
                k it 'could have been worse'...but that child must have experienced the most hellish night possible. He stuck to my hip until he was 4. His choice.

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