Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Finding your Partner in Parenting: Six Tips for Picking the Perfect Caretaker for your Child

            Putting your child in the care of another can cause some anxiety. It's natural to feel some apprehension since you will not be there for every moment. Each parent at one point in their child's life will need to find a caretaker. Whether that means a babysitter for an evening, a part or full time nanny or a daycare provider, but the search can be quite similar. Here are a few tips in seeking out your partner in parenting: 

  • Decide before starting your search what is most important to you. Obviously, the safety of your child is priority, but aside from that, what do you want your child to gain from their interaction with the care provider. Do you want someone who can teach them another language? Someone to take them outside as much as possible? Or who is an avid reader that can set the example and engage your child in reading? 
  • Ask people you know for referrals. People tend to only suggest products, services and people they trust. If they can put their confidence in the person, then chances are you can rely on thier recommendations as well.
  • Seek someone who has similar values and parenting style as you and your family. Ask them their view and technique with discipline, health, play, rules, schedules and teaching. This way there is consistency for your child between his parents and care provider. This person does not need to be your replica. In fact, you may want someone whose interests are completely opposite of yours, but having similar values and standards in still possible and important. Remember that you can also set standards of how you want things done with your child. 
  • Choose someone you feel with whom you are comfortable communicating. Language barriers can make relaying information difficult. Comfortable communication can also be difficult if you feel the other person is not open to suggestions or correction. Do your best to be approachable as well, it encourages people to be completely honest with you.   
  • When looking for a live-in nanny ask questions not only about their child care skills and experience, but ask their expectations as well. Feel free to ask if they keep a clean room (if that is important to you) or similar questions. 
  • After the first time or two your child is with them, ask how it was (if they are old enough to give feedback). Listen to your child's concerns, if they have any, they may tell you more than you might think. 

Above all, remember that this is your child that you are leaving in the hands of someone else. You are entitled to change your mind, ask as many questions as you like and set expectations. Be realistic and understand that there will inevitably be differences between you and them, but diversity in a child's life can be very beneficial.   

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