created at: 2010-11-08As parents of young children, you probably have a babysitter or two you can call for the occasional night out. If you don’t, chances are you’re looking for one. To help you find the right person to watch your most prized possessions, we spoke with two babysitters to find out what they think parents should know about choosing a sitter, and ways to improve parent-babysitter communications.

Sarah is 24 and has been babysitting for 12 years. She worked as a nanny throughout her college career and continues to do so today. Her favorite things to do with kids include going to parks, museums, the library and the beach, doing projects together and reading aloud.

What do you love most about being a nanny?
I love seeing the kids grow older and all the changes they go through along the way. It’s exciting to see their first crawls, words and all the other milestones they go through so young in life.

What should parents think about when choosing a nanny for their family?
Parents should think about whether the nanny has prior experience with children their child’s age, a degree in early childhood education, certification in CPR and first aid, and whether they are very responsible, energetic, loving and patient. They should also have a clean driving record if they will be driving your children around. And make sure the babysitter or nanny is comfortable watching the child if he or she has allergies or other medical problems. College students are great!

What are your suggestions for improving parent-babysitter communications?
Talk daily about your child’s day when you get home. It’s good to be informed about how your child does in school, and how they do with activities, transitions and play dates throughout the day. You can email or text throughout the day as well so the parent is more updated and involved in things going on in their child’s life.

Aliza is 22 and has been babysitting for 10 years. She likes taking kids outside of their homes to beaches, parks and playgrounds.

What do you love most about being a nanny?
What I enjoy most about being a nanny is the influence I have on the children. It’s amazing to see them grow and learn new things.

What should parents think about when choosing a babysitter or nanny for their family?
They should look for what experience the babysitter or nanny has with children, if they have any CPR or other safety training and what activities the babysitter is interested in.

What are your suggestions for improving parent-babysitter communications?
It’s important to have open communication between the parent and babysitter–and also to form a strong trust with each other. Spending time together is important to form a bond with each other, such as lunch in a non-babysitting environment so you can truly get to know one another.

Looking for a babysitter or nanny? Try these resources:

  • Ask for referrals at your preschool and day care centers
  • Search job boards at local colleges with education programs
  • Visit Parents in a Pinch, Inc., an award-winning backup care and nanny placement company
  • Try Sittercity, America’s largest site for matching parents with local babysitters and nannies