Written by Jennifer Hogeland For Press-Gazette Media
As the holidays approach, and the invitations to parties pour in, parents must start their search for a sitter. If grandparents aren’t available to watch your little ones for that gotta-go-to bash, it’s necessary to enlist the help of a babysitter.
Finding just the right person to care for your children is no small task. The first challenge is finding a willing and capable teen. Then, before leaving your little darlings in his or her hands, there are several things you should discuss to be sure both of you will be happy with the arrangement.
Area experts offered suggestions on finding and interviewing potential babysitters before your night out on the town.
Finding the right match
Keep an eye open for responsible teens. Unfortunately, there isn’t a magical list of certified and interested babysitters available from area organizations or the American Red Cross, so parents have to get creative.
Sara Weier oversees the babysitter training program for the American Red Cross in Wisconsin and she explains the best way to find potential babysitters is by reaching out to neighbors or community organizations.
“We tell potential babysitters to connect with neighborhood associations, churches and to talk with parents and other babysitters to make their interest in babysitting known,” says Weier.
Word of mouth is key, suggests Yvonne Duffek, an American Red Cross certified babysitting instructor. Babysitters are told not to put their information on public boards; students are encouraged to hand out personalized business cards to trusted adults that could assist with their job search. So, ask around. Chances are friends and neighbors have a name or two to share.
Several websites have also popped up in recent years as a resource for parents searching for sitters in the area. Sites like sittercity.com and care.com provide a list of babysitters by zip code. You need to create an account and there may be fees for the information you seek. Peruse the detailed profiles of potential candidates before setting up an interview.
Paying the going rate
Discussing payment is a necessary conversation when hiring a babysitter. While the typical hourly fee falls within a range, parents should consider the number of children, their ages and the expectations of the babysitter before determining their rate.
“I think it depends on the family,” said Denise Mancheski, enrichment director at the Greater Green Bay YMCA. “It varies. It isn’t like years ago when every parent paid $2 an hour.”
She shares some parents start at minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour in Wisconsin.
Duffek has done some research and determined the minimum going rate for a Red Cross certified babysitter is currently $5 an hour, although some parents pay as much as $10