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A parents view on hiring a baby sitter for the first time.

(39 Posts)
mumat39 Tue 16-Oct-12 11:55:55

We have never hired a babysitter. Our dc are 5 and 3 and I am very nervous about just leaving them with someone.

So does anyone have any experience of using a babysitter for the first time with kids the same age (ish) as mine?

DD has multiple allergies so we would need someone who is first aid trained and knows how to administer a Jext pen.

How should we go about doing this? I think we'd want someone on a regular basis, but I feel odd about someone new coming into our house and us just leaving so is there a good way to get started?

My sister does babysit when she can but that isn't very often at all so we need another option.

Thanks in advance for any help or advice.

valiumredhead Tue 16-Oct-12 12:58:43

What is a JEXT pen - an epi pen? [adrenalin]

It never occurred to me that someone had to be trained to use an epi pen on my sone - I just talked them through how to use one - same as I would if he was going to play at a mate's house.

We used a friend's dd who was a teen.

marilynmonroe Tue 16-Oct-12 13:04:02

We use sitters.co.uk. They use local people in your area and they usually use women who work with children. We have been really impressed with them. We have built up a relationship with a couple of them. Good luck!

plipplops Tue 16-Oct-12 13:38:53

Another mum from school and I babysit for each other, so we both know each other's kids (at least a bit), and I know and trust her. Could you do a note for the newsletter or put a notice up at school? It means we never have to pay for a sitter as we tend to more or less take turns so no guilt either...

mumat39 Tue 16-Oct-12 13:39:46

Thank you both. Would you have any recommendations on how to get my dc used to someone before we leave them for the first time? For example would you hire someone for a few days when you're also around so the dc get a feel for them?

Thanks again.

naughtymummy Tue 16-Oct-12 13:43:04

Ask around at the school gates. We have used friends' nannies or au pairs. The first time do the bedtime routine with them,then stay relatively local. It depends if dcs are used to being left I guess. At 3 and 5 they were in ft nursery and school, so didn't mind our leaving.

valiumredhead Tue 16-Oct-12 13:43:27

No I would go out for for a short time only at first - mum at home is way too confusing. Inviting them round for a cup of tea and a chat is a good idea though so the dc can meet them etc.

How many hours are you planning on having them for? Do you mean during the evenings or in the day?

PhyllisDoris Tue 16-Oct-12 13:43:37

Are the kids ususally asleep when you go out, and do they stay asleep? If they are, and do, then I don't see why you can't use a local teenager (child of friend?). If you contact your local Guiding org, they will have lots of Young Leaders (14+) who would love to have a regular babysitting gig, and who would be good with teenagers. They will usually be first aid trained too, which includes using epi-pens/inhalers etc

If your DCs are likely to wake up, and you want someone more experienced with kids (a parent maybe), have a look if there's a baby sitting circle in your area (or start one!). People earn credits by babysitting for other people, and spend them by using a baby sitter.

I don't see why anyone would need to be trained to use an epi-pen. Can't you just show the baby sitter what to do, should it be needed?

PhyllisDoris Tue 16-Oct-12 13:44:27

Sorry - meant Young Leaders are good with small children (not teenagers!!). They will look after Rainbows (5-7) and Brownies (7-10).

LittleBairn Tue 16-Oct-12 13:49:05

Ok this is a nannies view. I would put an ad locally or in gumtree make it clear you will only accept applicants that have a first aid certificate ( ideally paediatric first aid certificate) and that you expect to see the certificate.
Many nannies/babysitters have experience with allergies so it shouldn't be too hard to find one with pen experience.

If I was you I would stay in the house for the first visit but out of the way so that the babysitter and the children can be together and relax.
On the second visit I would do the same but suggest she took them to the park for 30mins. That way the children's get some time to be completely alone with her and you get to experience it too.

At 3 and 5 they will likely be very vocal about liking her or not plus they will be able to tell you what they did during their time with her.

If its going to be during the day that she will babysit she could keep a diary for you detailed ting you know what they ate, what they did and how they felt.

orangefan Tue 16-Oct-12 13:52:17

Do your children go to pre-school/nursery? We use one of the nursery nurses. It's very expensive but for total peace of mind it's worth it. After all they look after the kids all day.

mumat39 Tue 16-Oct-12 14:06:01

Pliplops, I cross posted with you. What a great idea to ask via the school newsletter.
Naughtymummy, that's a good idea too, I'll sound one of them out today at school pickup.
Valium, inviting them round for a cuppa is a good idea too. In terms of how many hours. Erm, maybe until they're 18, Lol. Seriously, only about 3 hours in the evening once a week. I'm being referred for CBT by the gp so may also need someone for a couple of hours or so during the day, once a week.
The Jext is the same as an Epipens but slightly different stabbing action sad

I worry about people panicking and then not doing it properly which is why I think first aid trained my be a little less stressful for me.

Also we don't know anyone nearby with teenagers. Most of the kids on our road are either slightly older, or younger than my two. There is one teenage boy, but not sure he'd necessarily be right for the job.

PhyllisDoris, my DD is going through a phase of not going to bed at the moment. She was up until about 11 last night. I get the feeling something is bothering her, but she doesn't really say anything so not sure if it's just the prospect of bad dreams. It's actually quite exhausting at the moment, which is why I feel I need a break. DS also won't stay in his bed as he says it's too small. He's in a cot bed. S most nights he comes into our bed and then wriggles and kicks us all night.

I'm actually wondering if there is a Mary popping out there who could come and help me.

Thanks again to you all for your help and advice. thanks

QTPie Tue 16-Oct-12 14:14:10

Agree with nursery nurse (from nursery/school) or personal recommendation from friends.

I am wary of gumtree - I used it to try to find a nanny. I had bucket loads of replies - 50+ replies to one advert? Very very few were suitable (despite my clear advert) and the two that I interviewed were a bit "odd" (on paper great, but in person...). I eventually found my nanny (DS's second nanny 0 first went on maternity leave) via a nanny agency: expensive, but HUGELY worth it! She is brilliant and even better than the much loved nanny she replaced...

Some nanny agencies will find your babysitters: ok an expensive way of doing things, but might be worth it if you use one regularly and can develop a very long term relationship.

Since DS was used to having a nanny, I just had one day at home (she does two mornings a week for us) with him and the new nanny. The next time I left them to it: you need faith in the nanny and to have adaptable DCs to do that... If you are having her to babysit at night, then have her over one evening: play games or whatever, then have her help (and become familar with) the bedtime routine.

I feel for you - I HATE getting new nanies/childcare....

QT

mumat39 Tue 16-Oct-12 14:16:21

LittleBairn, thanks for your reply. That's a good idea, but I don't really trust my own judgement so worry about getting it wrong a lot. I like the idea of being around though so will definitely have a look at gum tree to see if there are any other adverts out there. Since finding out about DD's allergies I've pretty much been a lot bit frazzled and have been managing most aspects of day to day stuff by myself with no help from anyone. DP works long hours but does what he can when he's around, but even he seems to ask me questions all the time, so I find it easier to get on with stuff myself.

My dc are very vocal with me, but as good as gold with other people. Dd seems to have a lot of fun at school but tells me she doesn't like it. On the other hand she doesn't really tell me much else. Even if she's having a reaction, she won't say anything so I always end up having to ask her, or watch her.

Orange fan, dd started full time school in September and I'm waiting for spaces to become available for DS at a local nursery. The babysitting is more for evenings really so DP and I can get out together for a bit.

Thank you both for your help. thanks

QTPie Tue 16-Oct-12 14:19:45

Just to add, I think that (within reason) you get what you pay for.

My nanny is £10 an hour net (which I actually think is very reasonable - last one was £12 an hour) by day and £8 an hour net by night (since generally they have less to do - at least after bedtime). Plus I pay 45p a mile for any driving she does - the good local park is about 3 miles away and they often go together. She is CRB checked, Paed First Aid, 10 years of good and varied nannying experience and great at crafts etc.

There are cheaper options (unskilled childcarers, teenagers and childminders), but we are happy to pay for someone solid that we can trust.

mumat39 Tue 16-Oct-12 14:21:22

QTPie, thanks for your reply too. I'd love a nanny, but it's too expensive with me at home, but it sounds like it's a good option.

Thanks for the warning about gum tree. I'd feel like I was drowning with 10 replies let alone 50. shock

I like your suggestion of having someone here to help with the bedtime routine. Just out of interest, which nanny agency did you use?

Thanks for your help thanks

mumat39 Tue 16-Oct-12 14:22:54

QTPie, doe £10 net include all the extras like emp'ers and emp'ers in and paye and taxes and stuff?

naughtymummy Tue 16-Oct-12 14:33:53

Agree you get what you pay for. IME £10 p/h gives you proper grown up who will cook, clean up be strict about bedtimes and do some ironing. £7-8 p/h buys you some one with experience and a first aid certificate. £5 p/h - local teenager who can't drive and wont put own cup in dishwasher. For such young children especially with the allergy issues I would definately be looking at £7 p/h +

LittleBairn Tue 16-Oct-12 14:45:32

mumat39 I've cared for (and love) a child with server life threading allergies so I can understand the anxiety. In just my circle of nanny friends I knew of 2 other nannies who had cared for children with server allergies, so you may be surprised by how many babysitters will have experience in dealing with it.

The good thing is your children aren't babies and toddlers they would let you know quickly if something is wrong.

Gumtree can be a bit of a nightmare but many good nannies use it so don't give up. Another website is Nannyjob that ( at least it used too) has nanny profiles or you could post your own ad.

QTPie Tue 16-Oct-12 14:50:53

We used Tinies - google them, they offer help finding all types of childcare. To be honest I am not a big fan of agencies (for anything really), but - in my case - they were a "necessary evil".

I only needed a part time nanny (two four hour mornings a week).

I had already exhausted friends, friends of friends and gumtree looking for a suitable candidate. I am VERY fussy when it comes to someone looking after my child: I need to be able to trust them 200% (think this is particularly important with young children) and (because I was looking for two mornings a week - less important in the evening) I wanted someone that would "benefit" DS (i.e. that he would be cared for, happy, engaged and enjoy himself).

The £10 an hour is net - so inclusive of tax etc - but we do have a formal contract and pay the nanny through PAYE. This seems to be the way things go through agencies (a downside), but we have our own business (software) so run the PAYE through them.

Our previous nanny way self-employed (but on £12 an hour net) and did all of her own tax etc (so no PAYE). We had no contract and she worked very flexible hours (although generally the same two four hour mornings). That type of "very experienced but self-employed" nanny is very hard to find - like hens teeth! I found her through a doula organisation - she originally worked as a post-natal doula for us (so I built up trust that way) after my C Section.

It is tough (and not really cheap however you do it), so I hugely feel for you. Finding a very good nanny/babysitter is like winning the lottery when you have them, though!

fraktion Tue 16-Oct-12 15:13:45

That type of "very experienced but self-employed" nanny is very hard to find - like hens teeth!

That would be because it's illegal so most professionals won't do it. The exceptions are people like continuous temp nannies (so not good for a perm arrangement), maternity nurses and doulas who may work for many clients but they say when they are free.

Net is what the nanny gets. Eg £10
Gross includes the tax and NI that you deduct from their wages so £10 becomes approximately £13
Employer's NI is in top of that so closer to £14.50

If its just evening babysitting a local nanny should do it for around £10 all told and put it through on their tax return. I know a lot if nannies who are self-employed on the side for ad hoc work but would never do it in their main job because you lose SSP, SMP, holiday pay etc. .

LittleBairn Tue 16-Oct-12 15:34:00

I was going to post that too, nannies can't be self employed.

QTPie Tue 16-Oct-12 15:39:02

She is a doula.

No it isn't illegal for a nany to be self-employed - http://www.nannytax.co.uk/nanny-agencies/useful-information/self-employment

QTPie Tue 16-Oct-12 15:39:19

sorry, nanny.

LittleBairn Tue 16-Oct-12 15:40:33

It is illegal trust me I tried.

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