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How to Find a Caretaker for Your Toddler

Updated on July 28, 2012

A good caretaker makes for a happy toddler

A smile says it all.
A smile says it all. | Source

The Challenge to Find the Right Caretaker for Your Toddler

Whether you are going out to for an evening or away for the weekend, it can be a scary experience to leave your toddler with a caretaker other than you. As a parent myself, I know how picky I am about who takes care of my child. This is a decision you will want to spend some time on if you do not have a built-in caretaker with grandparents.

Here are a few suggestions to help you with this complex process so you can enjoy your time away instead of worrying about your child.

Find a Caretaker that You Already Know

The best person to care for your toddler is someone they already know. Go through your list of friends to find a suitable caretaker for your time away. Make a list of three or four in case someone is busy. Here are some ideas to help you choose.

  • Don't assume that just because someone is your friend and likes your toddler that they will want to be responsible for them for several hours or overnight. Ask first. Not all people are born to be caretakers, especially not of toddlers.
  • Make sure personalities fit. Your toddler is likely to be full of personality and not everyone can handle that. Even a quiet toddler can be a challenge for someone not used to them.
  • Once you find someone who is willing to be the caretaker for your toddler, invite them over while you are there. Let your toddler get used to them and allow them to take care of your child while you sit back and watch. This will let you know if they are going to get along with your little tyke.
  • Ask questions, just like you would with a stranger. Make sure you feel comfortable with your decision.
  • Once you have chosen someone, make sure they spend some time with your toddler a few days before you plan to leave them with that person.

Finding a Babysitter for Your Toddler That is a Stranger

If you cannot find a friend or choose to use a professional nanny or babysitter as your toddler's caretaker, make sure you do your homework. Ask people you know who have toddlers for a recommendation. Then follow the suggestions listed above to find a good fit. Even professional caretakers cannot handle every type of personality and your toddler may not warm up to just anyone.

When you hire a stranger to care for your toddler, you should have them spend more than one occasion with your toddler in your presence. Then when you are satisfied with your choice, try going out for an hour to run errands or go grocery shopping. This way, you can test the waters before committing to several hours.

Always check any recommendations you are given with a caretaker. It is also advisable to go through an agency rather than just picking someone out of a newspaper ad.

Tips to Help Your Caretaker

1. Go over details about your toddler with the caretaker. Let them know what they like to eat, when they want a snack, and what your routine is at different times of day. They should be able to grab your toddler's favorite comfort item when they are upset. Type this list up and put it in a memorable place; don't make your babysitter rely on their memory.

2. Have a list of important numbers in case of an emergency. This will help the caretaker relax if they know they have someone they can call. If you will be out of town, give them a local friend or family member to contact.

3. Do not constantly check in when you have left your toddler with someone. They need to focus on your child, not your phone calls. It can also disrupt your toddler if they think you are on the phone or if the caretaker is distracted by your phone calls. If you are comfortable with the person you have hired, trust them to care for your child until you return.

Most important, enjoy your time away from your toddler, and you will return more ready to care for them.


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