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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

My children were hellions. When left unsupervised they would leap from roofs and wander the neighborhood egging each other into idiotic maneuvers. The thought of what trouble they would find or what trouble would find them was ulcer inducing. My wife and I always tried to ensure that they had some form of supervision, but life does not allow any parent to keep 24-hour watch on their children.  In order to compensate for this fact, we often turn to babysitters.

Babysitters can keep an eye on our children when we cannot, but simply having a baby sitter is not enough to assure your children’s safety. You need to assure that they are responsible adults that will not compromise their safety further in some way. Here are some tactics to assure that your children receive the best baby sitter available.

Ask for Recommendations From Friends and Family.
Your first move in the babysitter search should be to ask friends and family if they know anyone that can babysit your kids. Babysitter references from friends and family are safe. Far safer than someone that you find on craigslist or nanny services. Their credentials, honesty, and responsibility have been vouched for by people who are emotionally invested in your life. They will not lead your astray by suggesting a baby sitter that will not do a good job.

Social Media Profiles
Make use of modern technology. Most people these days have social media profiles. Before agreeing to hire someone, browse their social media profiles. This will allow you to determine if they are responsible enough to keep your children safe and act as good role models. If their social media profiles are set to private, you may need to ask permission for the credentials to view their Twitter or Facebook pages. Once you do have access, here are some signs that you might want to find a different babysitter:

  • Inappropriate posts and pictures.
  • Rude or hateful comments.
  • Vocal about viewpoints that you disagree with. This isn’t a hard no, but it is a concern that some parents might have a problem with.

Background Checks
Especially if you’re hiring someone sight unseen, you might want to hire a third party to run a background check on the babysitter candidate. Background checks will allow you to determine if the potential babysitter has any felonies, misdemeanors, and traffic tickets on their record. By running a state or federal background check, you can assure that your children are in safe, law abiding hands.

Most background checks will require money, so I would recommend only running a background check on final candidates who will be long term babysitters. Before ordering a background check, you should check out your state’s background check guidelines. There is nothing better than knowing that you’re baby sitter are trustworthy individuals who will look out for the safety of your children.

While we can’t control keep our children safe at all times. We can at least assure ourselves that they are receiving the best care available. Receiving recommendations from family, checking potential babysitter’s social media profiles, and ordering a background check are three ways to ensure our children’s safety.

Image courtesy of frannyrodri via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.