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Trusting a babysitter with your children for the first time

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It’s question o’clock! At what age do you think it is acceptable to leave your child with a babysitter?

dadbloguk, dadbloguk.com, babysitter, childminder, registered childminder, Ofsted, DIsclosure and Barring Service, DBS
That’ll be me, hanging out with my kids. From time to time, however, Mrs Adams and I have to use a babysitter and we have done for years.

I don’t mean with a family member of close family friend. I mean a babysitter, someone you pay to look after your kids.

I was a little surprised by a conversation I had with someone in the play park the other day. It turns out her kids, the eldest of which is in Year Three, had never been left with a babysitter. In a strange way, I was impressed that she’d managed to go for so many years without having to rely on a babysitter at some point. It’s certainly not a claim Mrs Adams and I can make.

I don’t wish to give you the wrong idea. It’s not like Mrs Adams and I trust our offspring to any old flotsam and jetsam when we need someone to look after the kids, far from it in fact.

Apart from an individual we have a close family connection with, we have only ever relied on registered childminders. I will always go online and check their Oftsed registration and insist on seeing their Disclosure and Barring Service certificate being leaving our kids with them.

Yes, I am well aware Ofsted registrations and DBS checks are fallible. If, however, someone refused to show me their credentials, then they wouldn’t look after our kids, end of story. Say what you like about the system, such checks are a valuable first line of defence.

With all that out the way, I will reveal that Helen was two years old, coming on for three,  when she was first left with a babysitter. It was a childcare practitioner from the nursery she attended so she had all the correct credentials and Helen knew her.

In my naivety, I messed it up totally. The babysitter had to get a taxi home and I didn’t think think to put the taxi fare on top of what we paid her. That’s not a mistake I made twice.

In an ideal world, Mrs Adams and I would be able to rely on family members. Sadly, we aren’t that kind of family.

Mrs Adam’s family live 400 miles away in Scotland and mine are 100 miles away in the Cotswolds. We don’t have a steam of grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins on tap into and help in these scenarios.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that paying someone to do the job comes with benefits. I can think of one or two occasions when we have left the children with family members and things have gone awry. This is something we’ve never experienced with a professional childminder who will always err on the side of caution when looking after someone else’s children.

Those are my thoughts but what do you say? What is an approximate age that you can leave your children with a babysitter? Also, who is better, a paid-for professional or family member? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

 

6 thoughts on “Trusting a babysitter with your children for the first time”

  1. My boys are 2 and 4 and I don’t think I could leave them with a baby sitter yet. However we do have some close family nearby who are able to assist. If we didn’t have them then I may be willing to consider a appropriately checked childcare professional.

  2. we’ve used paid baby sitters since the kids were babies, our neighbours daughter and friend would sit from the age of 13 for 3 of our kids aged 1, 5 & 7. We would have the older two in bed before we went out and her mum lived 2 doors away to help out if ever needed. This was 17 years ago

  3. We thought nothing of leaving E with a paid babysitter when she was about 6 months old, as we had no other support. However, the girl I contacted through A ‘find childcare’ sites for registered childminders, babysitters and nurseries never showed up and never contacted us again. So these days, we barely go out because I don’t trust anyone I don’t know.

    How do you find your reliable childcare when you need a babysitter?

  4. Really interesting post John the girls are five and I’m not in a rush for a babysitter to look after them consequently we don’t go out much unless one of the older children look after them it’s very difficult great post mate as usual

    1. My pleasure. I always make certain I’m happy with a babysitter or childminder before hiring them.

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