What are some tips for finding a high quality and trustworthy baby sitter?
A recent dateline special brings into question the trustworthiness of State licensing programs, so how can we be sure we are taking our kids to somewhere safe?
Word of mouth is probably your best bet in finding a great babysitter. Ask your friends who they use to watch their children. I prefer a daycare center over a home daycare because at a center, there are lots of teachers and your kids are never left alone. Plus some centers have video surveillance. Most daycare providers must have background checks done. Home daycare centers even have to have background checks on other family members.
I am not sure if you mean babysitters coming into your home, or outside centers and family home daycares. Either way, I'm going to say recommendations is the big one! For a babysitter, ask them for references from past families who they have babysat for or past employers who have knowledge of their work with children. While "licensing" programs for babysitters don't really teach too much of anything (i'm thinking of certification courses from the red cross or similar) I would want a babysitter with First Aid and CPR certs.
As for center or home-based daycares, I would ask them if they have testimonies from past or current families. Observe a day in their center. And also ask about their drop-in policy, and whether or not parents are allowed to stop in during the day. Some places limit this b/c too many visits can disturb the educational process, and also disrupt children from transitioning smoothly into the center, but if parents aren't allowed to drop-in at all I'd be a bit suspicious.
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