There was a time when it was easy for mothers to find babysitters. A friend of a friend would recommend some middle school or high school girl who’d show up in pigtails ready to read stories to your kids all night. The worst thing a babysitter could do when I was babysitting age was talk on the phone all night, and pig out on Pepsi and chips.
Well times have changed and there are more things to worry about. Any parent knows the anxiety involved in leaving your kids for the first time with a babysitter – a stranger. Is she mature enough to handle the job? Can she handle an emergency? Is she going to get stoned the minute we leave? Will she have her boyfriend over? What about being online with my kids around? There are things kids shouldn’t see.
Before hiring someone new to babysit your kids don’t be afraid to ask for references from other parents. Local schools often have babysitters training courses and a list of names of available teens. A good babysitter should know how to perform CPR and the Heimlich. Those with younger siblings tend to have more experience. The Red Cross and other organizations offer classes that offer a certification program for teen babysitters. If you have pets the babysitter should also know how to care for them.
Always post a list of emergency phone numbers (including friends and neighbors that live close by) in plain sight and let the babysitter know that when in doubt it’s better to call 911 and be safe then sorry. And ask the babysitter for her/his parent’s phone number.
Here are some links to more info. There are even online babysitter training courses.