Finding a brilliant after-school sitter is a real lifesaver – but it’s not always easy. Meeting a sitter you love who has the flexibility in their schedule to meet your requirements can be a challenge, but when you do, being clear and open with them about what you and your kids need from them is really important in ensuring that the relationship is a success.
Many parents on Bubble use our ‘Regular Help’ feature to find great after-school sitters, and we’ve collated some best-practice tips to help you and your sitter get things just right.
Introduce them to your kids first
It’s always a good idea to have your sitter spend some time with your kids before their first day picking them up. Invite them over – even if it’s just for an hour – so that they can spend some relaxed, fun time together before the rush of the school environment. You may even want to do this prior to confirming your term-time agreement with the sitter, just to ensure it’s a good fit for everyone. On Bubble you can shortlist up to five sitters to interview, before you make any decisions.
Be clear about what you need from your sitter
Every parent’s circumstances, parenting style and sensibilities are different, so take the time to be up-front and clear with them about what you like and don’t like. This could be with regards to how you like to communicate (and how often), how much screen time (if any) your kids can have, as well as the hours and other bits of help you may need from them once the kids are home, such as a hand with dinner prep and bath-time. Don’t be shy or nervous about having these conversations – your sitter will hugely appreciate it and will be able to do the best job possible as a result of having clear guidance from you.
Do a practice run together
This may not always be practically possible but if you’re able to do one school pick-up together with your sitter it’ll really help ensure that they, you and your kids are totally comfortable before they pick them up on their own for the first time. It’ll also give you the chance to give them your best tips for avoiding the traffic, parking and keeping the kids happy on the way home!
Ask them to help with homework
We’re not sure about you but our kids always save their best behaviour for everyone but Mum and Dad! Having someone else do their homework with them is a great way for ekeing out that extra bit of focus and attention. Check with your sitter beforehand whether they’re happy to supervise and help out with homework. With Bubble, you can even request sitters with particular skills in things like English, Maths or foreign languages.
Talk about what they can and can’t eat
One thing that’s for certain is that all kids are “starving” by the time school is finished. What’s more, if your kids are anything like ours, then they can be a bit liberal with the truth when it comes to what Mum and Dad let them eat! What you’ re happy to let your kids snack on post-school, and what you want them to have for dinner is very much up to you, so make sure your sitter is clear on the rules. Help them out by stocking the house with the snacks and food that you and your kids are happy with. That way, you won’t be turning them into the bad guy when dinner is being negotiated!
Looking for an after-school sitter? Download Bubble and find a brilliant local babysitter today.