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Choosing Child Care - Individual Care Providers

Selecting a babysitter or mother's helper

Choose a babysitter or mother's helper by asking friends and other caregivers you trust. You may also want to ask for recommendations from a local organization, such as the YMCA.

Before you hire a teen to watch your child:

  • Ask the teen what other jobs he or she has had and what he or she was responsible for. Find out what activities he or she likes to do with children. Also ask how the teen would handle certain situations, such as a baby that cries for a long time or a toddler who is talking back.
  • Tell the teen your rules, including how much TV and computer time is okay and what type of TV programs are okay.

Schedule a meeting with the caregiver and your child, and watch how they interact. Some caregivers may not have confidence. This doesn't mean they will not ever be able to watch your child. But it may mean that you will need to have a few babysitting dates while you are present before leaving them on their own.

Classes help babysitters prepare for the responsibilities of watching your child. They can also provide valuable skills in case of an emergency, such as first aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training. Classes often are available through local agencies, churches, hospitals, or schools.

Know your responsibilities

If you use an individual care provider for your family on a regular basis, you may be obligated to comply with employer rules and regulations of the federal, state, and local governments. Call the United States Department of Labor (1-866-4-USA-DOL [1-866-487-2365]) for information about your responsibilities.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 09, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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