Tips For Finding A Babysitter For Your Special Needs Child

By Ashley Paskill on April 20, 2022

Finding a babysitter you trust is difficult for any parent, but this task is even more challenging for children with special needs. You want someone who will be kind, patient, and knowledgeable on how to handle various situations that may arise. As the parent or guardian, there are things you can do and things to look for in a babysitter to ensure to get the best babysitter for your child.

Certified

Most parents want to be sure their babysitters have some level of certification, but as someone with a special needs child, this is even more important. Make sure your potential sitter has certifications in first aid and CPR at a minimum. The Red Cross also has advanced childcare certification that can help the sitter know how to handle tough situations. Having these certifications will ensure that the sitter can handle any emergency that may arise and aid in proper care for your child. They will even learn how to manage different types of behaviors, which will help them succeed. Not only will them being certified put you at ease, but they will also be more knowledgeable and confident in their abilities to babysit your child.

Ask your network

As a parent of a child with special needs, it is likely that you at least know a few other parents with children who have special needs. Ask them if they have any recommendations for babysitters in the area. You may also want to check with your child’s teachers at school or even their doctor or therapist. If nothing else, these connections will be able to help you navigate what to look for in a babysitter for your child and can point you in the right direction. You may even decide to have a family member babysit for you since they know your child. Check with the network you already have to see if they can guide you.

Involve your child in the search

When you are interviewing potential babysitters, have your child in the room with you. Pay attention to how the sitter interacts with the child. If the sitter is talking to the child and is engaging them, the sitter is likely a good fit. If the potential sitter is not paying attention to the child at all, they are likely not going to be a good fit. As a general rule, babysitters should have an interest in children, but this is especially important for a child with special needs. Your child needs a sitter who will be more hands-on and interactive than other children may need, so observing this during the interview process will help you see how they will interact with the child in general.

Image: Julia M Cameron via https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-boy-video-calling-with-a-woman-4145197/

Capable of the duties

You need a babysitter who is comfortable doing the things that are required for babysitting your child. Your child may have medications, special dietary needs, or other things that need to be taken care of. These things are on top of normal babysitting duties such as changing diapers or putting kids to sleep. Even if they are not confident in their abilities now, see how they would feel about shadowing you before babysitting your kids to see how you handle different things, such as dinner and bedtime. That way, they can get a feel of your routine and know-how to handle situations that arise while you are there to assist.

Be reachable

When you leave a child alone with a babysitter for the first time, the child may become overwhelmed and upset. This is especially true of kids with special needs. Be sure to give your babysitter your cell phone number as well as the phone numbers of the places you are going to so that they can get in touch with you if something comes up. You may also decide to stay close to home just in case something happens. Be available so that you can help walk the sitter through a situation or give them advice on how to calm your child down. You might not have to go home, but being available for questions and assistance is crucial.

Trustworthiness is key

The most important thing about finding a babysitter for your child with special needs is finding someone you can trust to take care of your child. While it is important for you to be reachable when issues arise, you should not feel like you have to check in constantly to make sure everything is going well. Again, have the babysitter shadow you so that you both feel comfortable and confident in the sitter’s ability to take care of things. Make sure you go through the proper screening and interview process when searching for a sitter. You may even decide to have a family member babysit since they know your child well.

Finding a babysitter for your child with special needs may be difficult, but rest assured that it is not impossible. Honing in on the resources you already have can help put your mind at ease.

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