Hiring a Babysitter During Covid: What To Know

By Alicia Geigel on March 20, 2021

The coronavirus pandemic has left just about everyone with some form of mental or emotional burnout. Adjusting to life during Covid has been a major shift for all of us, whether it’s working remotely, assisting your children with virtual schooling, or restricting the frequency of how often you go out. As a parent, the stress of the pandemic along with balancing the responsibilities of work and home can be enough for you to take a break from it all, get away for a night, and hire a babysitter or nanny.

The thought of hiring a babysitter or nanny during this fearful time may make you feel uneasy and uncomfortable, after all, you’re not going anywhere to avoid the virus, so why would you want to bring a stranger into your home that could have it? While different parents will make different decisions regarding how to handle burnout and wanting a break, if you are a parent looking for a sitter, the decision doesn’t have to be completely overwhelming. Just as you would do prior to Covid, properly screening and building a relationship with your potential sitter will help you find the best person to handle the care of your kids for a night and take some stress off your hands.

Are you a parent looking for a break from your home for a night? Unsure of the right way to go about searching for a babysitter or nanny during the coronavirus pandemic? Follow these five tips for a stress-free process of hiring a sitter that will have your mind at ease!

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Image via Pexels

1. Evaluate the Risk: First and foremost, prior to speaking to any candidate you may be considering or before arranging plans for a night out, it’s important to evaluate the risk that hiring a babysitter brings to both you and your family. Bringing someone other than your immediate family into your home poses different risks during this time, such as the person potentially carrying the coronavirus and infecting those in your household. But the risk of Covid isn’t the only one to be concerned about, and you should still apply the same rules to hiring as you would prior to the pandemic.

Allison Scobie-Carroll, a senior director of social work and family services at Boston Children’s Hospital says, “You’ll also want to assess a babysitter’s maturity and knowledge of developmentally appropriate care, as well as CPR.” Along with this, asking questions that are most important to you regarding Covid and safe/proper hygiene is a great start to figuring out who to hire.

2. Find a Few Babysitter Choices: Now that you’ve evaluated the risks, you are taking the leap and diving into the search for the best sitter. Starting your search close at first is always a good option, such as asking fellow friends and family who are parents and have babysitters (or know someone who is). If those close to you don’t have a solid person to point in your direction, seeking options elsewhere is the next step.

A blog post by Today’s Parent notes, “Recommendations from friends and neighbors are always a solid lead, and if that doesn’t work out, you can consider spreading the word a little further, either in a local Facebook group or perhaps by using a third-party company.” Third-party companies such as Care.com and SitterCity.com are both reliable options to look into.

3. Ask the Questions Most Important to You: Conduct a proper screening of your babysitter candidates by asking the questions that mean the most to you and are the most important. This could be how they entered the field of babysitting, how they plan on spending time with your child(ren), how much experience they have, etc. Additionally, due to the pandemic, additional questions specific to the coronavirus are necessary and important to ask, as the answers will help you determine the level of risk each candidate can bring to the job. Questions to ask include, but are not limited to:

- How do you view mask-wearing/social distancing?

- How do you spend your free time?

- Do you live with anyone that puts you at greater risk?

4. Establish a Set of Rules to Follow, In and Out of the House: When hiring a babysitter or nanny, it’s important that both you and the person are on the same page when it comes to rules you want to enforce. During this time, rules that apply to being out of the house can look or sound like practicing social distancing (of at least 6ft) when in public, wearing masks in public at all times, limiting the frequency of going out, etc. For in the house, that can be consistently washing hands for at least 20 seconds, disinfecting surfaces when needed, and not sharing food or drinks.

5. Ensure Full Disclosure of Any Symptoms or Sick Days: One last thing that can help keep your home safe when hiring a babysitter or nanny during this time is to ensure full honesty and transparency regarding being sick. Stress the importance of disclosing any potential symptoms (such as dry cough, fever, lack of taste or smell, body aches, runny nose, etc.) to your babysitter and encourage them to speak to you if they are feeling under the weather in any way, shape, or form.

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Image via Pexels

Hiring a babysitter or nanny during this time is a risk, and it can seem scary to want to take that leap not knowing what kind of person is going to take care of your child(ren). However, if you conduct a proper screening by evaluating the risks, searching for the right candidate, asking the important questions, establishing ground rules, and encouraging full transparency between the two of you, you can find the right babysitter for your family and have a rewarding fun night for yourself!

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