Finding a nanny for your baby for the first time is especially scary as we are inundated with stories of people abusing the children they care for. Even on days when such stories were not uncommon, my husband and I carried our first baby with us until he was nine months old. My thinking was if the child was old enough to have a little language and if he could express himself at least to a degree, the threat could be less.
Later on, we found a nice grandmother type who used to take care of one of our friend's children. Our friend was very happy with the lady, but since she had recently hired a live-in maid, she didn't need her. So, she became our first tried and true baby-sitter. Of all the other babysitters we had in later years, in my heart, she still holds the pole position. However, that was the case in the past. Today, with an abundance of resources, it is way easier to find and schedule babysitters.
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Nowadays, parents are very lucky to have family members who take care of their children. They are even luckier with modern technology, as they can follow what is happening at home from afar. If we had the technology back then, I would have wired my house and set up all the monitors and hidden cameras I could get my hands on.
While we might think that machines can't keep up with mom's intuition, they can definitely help. To our advantage, with the advent of digital technology, modern monitors offer clearer signals and a larger operating range. Sure, a babysitter's greatest asset is a good reputation, but there are some important points to consider before hiring them.
When you interview someone for either a daily caregiving situation or for a few hours when you go out, ask yourself these questions: Is the babysitter an alert person? Will the babysitter be able to make quick and proper decisions in case of an emergency? Is the babysitter paying enough attention to you while you are showing her where things are? Is your child willing to stay with this babysitter?
Once you've decided to hire the babysitter, watch how she interacts with your child. Her style should match yours at least to a degree.