Choosing to Hire a Nanny or Babysitter
This can be a scary choice because you're hiring a complete stranger to take care of your child while you're gone at work or out for the day, etc. While we would all love to tote our children around everywhere with us, they can't go with us sometimes. Especially if you are a single mom, like me, who doesn't have a SO to watch them while I'm gone and vice versa. So until then, what do you do?
First and foremost, you can never be too cautious. You are trusting this person to be a caregiver, and not hurt them or scare them. So since they are basically going to be an employee of yours, do background checks. Most of the time you can type the person's name in Google and if they have been in any real trouble, they will pop up. If not, you can pay for a background check online or go to a local police station and ask them. You can locate local sex offenders (yes, even females can be sex offenders) online for free. Do as much research on the person as you can to get a general idea of them. If they are going to be driving your child anywhere, you'll want to know if they have had tickets for moving violations and such because if they aren't responsible behind the wheel with your child, then they don't deserve your money.
Secondly, get to know the person yourself LONG before the day(s) you need them to start. Don't start looking for someone a day or two before you need them. If circumstances allow, ask the person to come over several times to talk and get to know them better. Get to understand their personality. Also, while you're at it, get your child used to them! It would be a bit scary to just leave your child with someone they don't know. Even if you've gotten to know them, doesn't mean your child is comfortable with them. They deserve to know/feel comfortable with the person. Have monitored playdates with the caregiver and your child. How does the caregiver act around your child in front of you? Are they really nervous? Are they uncomfortable? Would they be able to handle a young child all alone without you around?
Last, but not least, install security. This might sound extreme, but I warn you now, don't leave the house without some way of being able to see them away from home! Someone can be perfect during the interview and introduction process, but a completely horrible person once you're gone. There are nanny cams you can purchase for your house for not a lot of money. I suggest letting the person know you have cameras on throughout the house and ask them if they are comfortable with that, for legal purposes. Have them sign a form if you have to so there is proof that they knew you were recording them. You don't have to tell them where the cameras are, just as long as they know they're there. There is also a way to watch those cameras live outside of the home. Usually through ADT security or a local security installation company can set up live feed through the cameras. This way you can watch everything live from wherever you are.
Once you've covered all your bases and chosen a person, have a couple of "trials". Leave the house a time or two for a couple hours each and when you get back, ask the caregiver how everything went. If the child is old enough, ask the child how they feel everything went while you were gone. If they child is not old enough, give them a quick checkup to see if they are any bruises on the skin or if they don't seem to be themselves. Your infant has their own way of letting you know something went wrong. If all goes well during the trial(s), hire them and start using them regularly. Check your footage every night if you don't not have live feeds. See how the caregiver was each day. Monitor your child's behavior. If they seem to be thriving with the caregiver, that is a good sign. If they seem to be withdrawing, that might be a sign that something is wrong.