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Choosing a Baby Sitter
by Rebecca Garland

Leaving your little one for the first time can be challenging, especially if you haven’t spent more than a naptime or two apart up to this point. But leave baby you must, even if it’s just with her father for a few hours. After all, they won’t let you attend kindergarten together in a few years. Choosing a babysitter can be tough, so be sure you give it plenty of thought and time to make the right selection.

Consider Your Outing
Your first consideration is your actual destination and the time you’ll be gone. If you’re heading back to work full time, you’ll need a consistent plan for childcare. But if you’re just trying to get to the grocery store without a carrier, baby and diaper bag, you have a large range of options. The time and duration of your trip contribute to your selection as does the age and temperament of your child. Babysitters come in a wide assortment of choices.

Your Spouse – Okay, technically its not babysitting if he’s a parent, but leaving baby with her father on Saturday morning while you run to the store or spend a few hours at the mall is probably your best choice. Baby gets a chance to bond with dad, and dad gets a lesson in what it’s like to be at the beck and call of a tiny one at every moment.

Your Family – Do you have family in the area? Perhaps your child’s grandparents or aunt and uncle would enjoy an afternoon with your baby while you and your honey catch a movie and have a conversation without any baby food or spit-up in the mix.

Family Friends – Don’t rule out your single friends as babysitters. Friends who have children usually make great babysitters since they know exactly what you’re going through, but if your have a baby with a lot of personality, it might be best to find a sitter dedicated to his needs rather than sharing time and attention with other young ones – at least until the two of you are used to being separated for a little while.

Neighbors – Don’t be shy when it comes to soliciting help from your neighbors. Older women especially often love to get their hands on babies if their children have grown up and have yet to produce them with grandchildren of their own. Grandmothers (or grandmother hopefuls) make great babysitters, especially for babies too young to do much moving. Sitting and rocking for an hour or two might be the perfect afternoon for both your baby and your friendly neighbor.

Childcare Centers – There are many child care centers who offer drop-in care or part-time programs. Churches and community centers occasionally offer parents-day-out programs that give you a few hours during the day to take care of errands or at least have a break from constant child care.

Babysitters – Some individuals make a living from offering babysitting in their home. If you know of a reputable babysitter, don’t be afraid to call and see if she’s willing to watch your little one for a few hours occasionally.
Trusted Teens – If your baby is very young, you might have reservations leaving her with a teenager, but older babies and experienced teen babysitters are a good mix. Who else has the energy that it takes to keep up with a little one on the move? Just be sure to check out her qualifications and show the teen exactly what you expect to happen while you’re gone – just to be on the safe side.

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