Don’t ever feel like you are a bad parent because you need a break from your children, I am here to tell you that it is not only normal to feel that way, but it is important to take a break from time to time. The best way to be prepared is to have some trustworthy sitters on call when life demands it.
Unfortunately, finding great sitters isn’t always the easiest of things to do. Obviously, you have your own requirements of a sitter, but do you know what to look for in a sitter for a newborn/infant versus that of a three year old? Do you know specific questions to ask that will determine if the sitter can meet your needs, and those of a child? Well, to make your life easier, ZipSit has put together a handy guide to help you find a great sitter.
How to Interview Potential Sitters
Once you have some potential sitters you are considering, you may want to interview them, depending on how you came across them. If they were referred to you by a close friend and you are familiar with their style, etc., you may not need to perform the same type of interview that you would on someone you know nothing about.
Make sure you put together a list of questions addressing things that are really important to you and your children. You can find a great list of interview questions here.
It is always good to meet at a relaxed location. Your home is okay if you are initially comfortable with the sitter, but you can always arrange to meet at a neutral location such as a nearby coffee shop.
This is really important – one thing to consider is the fact that many sitters probably haven’t had lots of experience in interviews or being grilled. This can be a stressful experience for a lot of people, so be mindful of that – really try to get them comfortable before peppering them with tons of questions.
Consider the Needs of Your Children
Yes, the interview is about you trying to see if there is a comfort level between you and the sitter, but don’t forget about your children and things that could be beneficial to them. Does your son struggle with his math homework? Maybe ask the sitter how they have done with math in school. Sitters can be incredibly valuable in the growth of your children in so many different areas – why not explore what the sitters could teach or instill in your children while you aren’t there!
Interview Part 1: Your Story
To begin the interview, it is important that you can paint a clear picture to the sitter about what your family is like, what your expectations are, and what you envision a typical sit for your family would entail. It is really important to be as detailed as possible here – what you may think is a “given” and doesn’t need to be discussed may not be for the sitter, so get everything on the table. It is also a good idea to discuss past experiences you have had with other sitters, good, and bad, so they understand what you are looking for.
Interview Part 2: Sitter Experience
Discussing your past experiences with sitters will provide you a good segue to match their experiences with some of what you have explained to them (your story and some of your experiences). This will allow you to assess how they would fit sitting for your family and if they have the experience you are looking for.
Interview Part 3: Get Personal
The last part of the interview can be used to get to know the sitter on a more personal and professional level – you don’t want to get too personal, but since the sitter will be potentially be with your children in your home, you definitely should feel comfortable asking some personal questions that would impact them working for you and your family.
What to Take from the Interview
One of the most important things to remember after interviewing is that just because the sitter may have had a bad interview with you doesn’t mean that they would be an awful sitter for you, or vice versa. You may be dealing with some younger women who have not had a ton of experience being presented with so many probing questions, and they may clam up in the interview. The most important thing to focus on is if they would be good, trustworthy, caring sitters for your children, and would they be able to handle themselves if an emergency arose. Really focus on understanding the sitter as a person, and assess the basics such as: promptness, were they presentable, communication skills, or if were there any red flags. Focus on your must haves in the interview and don’t let some random things throw you off.
The rest is up to you – combine the facts you gathered with some of your gut feel to decide if you want to give the sitter a try. Don’t be afraid to contact the sitter after the interview if there are some things that you forgot to ask, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
At ZipSit, we’re on a mission to ensure that the sitting process is made easier for both families and sitters. We’re doing just that by constantly innovating our mobile app to improve the global sitting industry for the better, so we can change the way families and sitters find, connect, schedule and transact with each other – all for free. For more information about our app, please visit http://zipsit.com.