PRIVATE SCHOOL & PRESCHOOL GUIDE

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Finding the perfect sitterIt can be overwhelming when you first think of leaving your child with a complete stranger. Most of us, at some point, take that leap and bring someone into our home to care for our kids. Sitters are great for parents and for children. It gives parents some time off and it gives kids an adult playmate. When you find a sitter that your kids click with, the kids will be the ones pushing you out the door.The Mary Poppins of today does not show up with an umbrella and a spoon full of sugar but she does still exist. For some parents, it is the nanny they have found on their own or through an agency (or on the ParentClick Classifieds). For others, it may be a special home daycare or an infant center that becomes your childs home away from home.

I have learned some things over the years:paying more for a sitter does not get you a better sitter; you dont always need to pay more when you have more than 1 child; and the more clear you are with your expectations before they babysit, the smoother the transition. Some sitters are happy to put the dishes away and tidy up. Others will simply say, Idont do any housework. I have had 2 sitters over the years that became part of our family and did everything with our kids and we are still in touch years later. My hope is that my daughters will have the same impact on the children they care for.

Whey my daughters started babysitting in 7th grade, we had each of them take a babysitting coursein order to have some basic CPR training and to understand the expectations of being a responsible babysitter. We ordered business cards for them on vistaprint with their rates and contact information.We set their rate for the first year at $5 an hour and increased it each year based on their experience so now in 11th grade, they charge $10 an hour. They hear about other teens charging more but what we have emphasized is them being paid appropriately for their age and their experience so that they have the reward of being able to increase their fees over time. They have also found that many parents tip them when they do a good job because they are affordable.Now that the tables are turned, I feel a sense of responsibility when they leave to go take care of someone elses children. I want to know they wont be distracted by their cell phones, that they keep the children safe and that they straighten up before the parents come home, all things I appreciated when I hired a sitter.It has been a great way for them to take on responsibility and earn money.

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