Babysitter Interview Tips & Must-Ask Questions

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If you’re new to the world of finding someone to watch your baby, read and bookmark these interview questions to ask a babysitter. From their experience and certifications to availability and flexibility, these nanny or babysitter interview questions will give you a better picture of whether this is the right babysitter for you. You’ll also find helpful tips on how to conduct a babysitter interview.

photo: iStock

Personal Questions

These interview questions will help you learn more about the babysitter's personality and whether they meet your basic requirements.

1. How would you describe yourself?

2. What do you like to do in your free time?

3. Did you grow up around younger kids (siblings, cousins, neighbors)?

4. What is your availability? Do you have time constraints that would prevent you from staying later if necessary?

5. Do you have reliable transportation? What kind?

6. Do you smoke?

7. Would you be comfortable taking a drug test?

8. How much do you charge?

Experience Questions

These questions can help you determine whether this babysitter has the necessary experience.

9. Describe your babysitting experience. How long were you with each family? What ages were the children?

10. What are your favorite and least favorite parts about babysitting?

11. How comfortable are you with changing diapers?

12. What are your methods for putting a baby down to sleep?

13. What was your scariest/most challenging babysitting situation? How did you respond?

14. Do you check on babies while they sleep? Why or why not? If you do, how often?

15. Do you have first aid and CPR training? If so, when were you certified? If not, would you be willing to get it?

16. Do you have references I can contact?

Scenario Questions

These interview questions will give you an understanding of how well prepared this babysitter is to care for your child.

17. The baby starts choking; what do you do?

18. You are getting ready to give the baby a bath when you smell smoke; what is the first thing you do?

19. You and the baby have been playing when you notice that she starts rubbing her eyes and crying. What do you think that means, and how do you respond?

20. The baby just had a blowout in his diaper. Explain how you handle it.

Interview Tips

1. Call the references your babysitter gives you.

Ask them questions like:

  • How well do you know the sitter?
  • Has he/she worked for you specifically as a babysitter? If not, what was his/her role?
  • Is he/she punctual?
  • Is he/she dependable?
  • How did he/she handle a difficult situation while caring for your child?
  • Would you hire him/her again?
  • What three words would you use to describe him/her?

2. Check out the person on social media.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and other social media sites are great ways to find out if the persona your babysitter is portraying to you is the one they portray to everyone else. Google is also a handy tool to find out the inside scoop on your prospective babysitter.

3. Discuss your expectations.
Do you expect your babysitter to perform household tasks (folding laundry, doing dishes and taking care of light housework) while working for you? Do you have a strict eat & sleep schedule you want the sitter to follow? If so, communicate that during your interview. Having crystal-clear expectations will help you both as you gauge whether this is a match.

4. Request a trial run while you're home. 
Schedule a time for the babysitter to watch your baby while you're home. You can evaluate how the babysitter interacts with your baby, if they use common sense, how their diaper-changing and feeding skills are and their general demeanor and confidence with babies. It will also help you determine if your baby responds well to the sitter.

Sarah Blight

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Eager to find out the sex of your baby? Have some fun trying these at home baby prediction tests to find out whether your baby will be a boy or girl. Will a wacky at-home prediction test really tell you the sex of a baby? You’ll have to try these girl or boy tests to find out.

photo: Public Domain Pictures via Pixabay

1. Carrying high? That’s supposed to mean you’ll have a girl, while a low rider means boy.

2. If your skin has that pregnancy glow, chances are you’re having a boy, according to one old wives’ tale. If you’re breaking out, get ready for a girl.

3. Look at your breasts in the mirror. If your right breast is larger than your left, you’re having a girl. If your left breast looks larger, it’s a boy.

4. Consult a Chinese gender chart, which uses your age and the month you conceived to determine baby’s sex.

photo: MarcTheShark1287 via Pixabay

5. Energetic fetuses are thought to be boys, while chill babes in utero are predicted to be girls.

6. Pee in a cup (you should be a pro at this by now after all those doctor’s visits), and then mix in 1 tablespoon of Drano drain cleaner. If the color turns green, you’ll have a girl. Blue means it’s a boy. (Be careful with this one. Drano can be toxic, so wear gloves and a mask or have someone else do this experiment for you.)

7. At your next prenatal checkup, check out baby’s head in the ultrasound. If it’s square-shaped, then you’re having a boy. If you see a rounder head, it’s a girl.

8. Tie a ring on the end of a piece of string. Sit down and have someone hold the string over your belly. If the ring swings in a circle, you’re having a girl. If it swings back and forth, it’s a boy.

photo: Fotorech via Pixabay

9. That dark line that runs from your pubic bone straight up the center of your belly (known as the linea nigra) is said to indicate baby’s sex. If the line stops at your belly button, you’re having a girl. If the line continues up to your ribs and chest, it’s a boy.

10. The faster the heart rate, the more likely you’re having a girl. The slower the heart rate (below 140 beats per minute), the more likely you’re having a boy.

11. If the skin on your hands is dry and chapped during pregnancy, you’re more likely to be carrying a boy. Smooth skin means it’ll be a girl.

woman with donut via pixabayphoto: kaboompics via Pixabay

12. If you’re craving salty foods, then you’re pregnant with a boy. Are you jonesin’ for something sweet? Then it’s a girl you’re carrying.

13. Since you have to pee all the time anyway, pee in a cup one more time. Then drop in some baking soda. If it fizzes, then it’s a boy; if it doesn’t, it’s a girl.

14. Here’s another pee test: Boil a head of red cabbage in some water. Save the red cabbage water and mix it in a cup with your urine. If the water turns pink, it means a girl is on its way. If the water is purple, you’re having a boy.

15. Next time you wake up in the morning (or from one of those much-needed pregnancy naps), check which side of your body you’re sleeping on. Left side indicates boy, while right means girl.


photo: FeeLoona via Pixabay

16. This one is similar to the Chinese chart above. The Mayans take the mama’s age at conception and add it to the year baby was conceived. If it’s an odd number, the baby is a boy. Even means it’s a girl.

17. If your morning sickness lasts beyond the first trimester, some people think you’re carrying a girl. If your sickness subsides or you didn’t have any to begin with (lucky you!), then it’s a boy.

18. If your baby is looking like a basketball, it could be you’re having a boy. If your baby bump is more spread out across your waistline, then it’s a girl.

Ready to announce whether it’s a boy or a girl? Check out our favorite creative gender reveal ideas.

Sarah Blight

featured photo: iStock

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You may have a laundry list of questions that have popped up in the hours and days since your little one entered the world, or you may not have any and might be unsure what questions to ask. Either way, we’ve got you covered with topics and questions to ask a pediatrician at your first visit to get the most out of your appointment.

Pro tip: Keep a list of questions on your phone for easy access at the pediatrician’s appointment. And no concerns are too small or unimportant to ask. These experts are there to partner with you in your baby’s health and development. So ask away!

photo: Luliia Bondarenko via Pixabay

Food

1. How much should my baby be feeding?

2. How long should each feeding take?

3. How often should my baby take a bottle or breastfeed?

4. If using formula: What’s the best formula for my child?

5. If breastfeeding: Do I need a lactation consultant? If so, any recommendations?

6. Any tips on nipple care for breastfeeding?

7. Is it okay to pump and breastfeed at the same time?

Digestion

1. After eating, the baby seems gassy or upset. What should we do?

2. Our baby seems to spit up a lot after eating. Could it be reflux?

3. Any techniques to burping our baby that would be helpful?

Sleep

1. What’s the best way to soothe baby to sleep?

2. Is it okay to use a pacifier?

3. How often should my baby be sleeping?

4. Where should my baby sleep, and how can we make sure it’s safe?

photo: RitaE via Pixabay

Diapers

1. How many wet diapers should my baby have each day?

2. How many dirty diapers should my baby have each day?

3. What color and consistency poop should we be looking for?

Weight

1. It looks like our baby has lost weight since birth; is this a concern? Why or why not?

2. If it is a concern, what should we be doing differently?

Vaccines

1. When are the baby’s first vaccines?

2. What side effects can we expect after vaccinations? How should we comfort our baby?

3. How often will baby be scheduled to receive vaccines?

4. Can we discuss specific vaccines and any risk factors to consider?

5. Can we request specific vaccine brands?

6. Is it possible to spread out the vaccines to different appointments? Is it advisable?

Umbilical Cord

1. How long will it take for the cord to fall off?

2. How should we be taking care of the area around the cord?

Circumcision

1. What are the risks and benefits of circumcision?

2. When do you typically do the circumcision?

3. What can we expect after the procedure?

photo: Trang Huyen via Pixabay

Bath Time

1. How often should we bathe our baby?

2. Where is the safest place to bathe our baby?

3. Any tips on products to use to avoid rashes or irritation?

4. Is lotion recommended after bath time?

Development

1. When should we start tummy time?

2. Why is tummy time important?

3. What things should we be looking for developmentally right now?

Extra Help

1. If we have a concern after office hours, what number do we call?

2. Is a doctor or nurse available for tele-health consultations after hours? If so, how do we access that service?

A Note About New Moms & Mental Health

Women experience a dramatic drop in hormones after giving birth, so it is completely normal to feel out of whack in those first days, weeks and months after having a baby. Sometimes these are simply baby blues that pass as time goes by, but more intense feelings may be postpartum depression and could be dangerous for you and your baby. This happens to many women and is something you should discuss with your OBGYN. While this isn’t a pediatrician concern, it is very important to be in tune with your feelings and emotions during this newborn period and to ask for help when you need it.

—Sarah Blight

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You’re so busy preparing for the physical needs of your soon-to-arrive baby, it’s easy to forget that finding a pediatrician is something that may take some time and effort. And it should be done before baby arrives. To make things easier on you, we’ve simplified the process to six easy steps below.

infant baby

photo: David Salafia via flickr

Step 1: Determine what factors are important to you in a pediatrician.

Things you may want to think about are:

  • Location
  • How many physicians, physicians assistants, nurse practitioners are in the practice
  • Ease of making/getting appointments
  • Experience levels of the staff
  • Regular business hours and after-hours care
  • If there are separate waiting rooms for sick kids and well visits
  • Their philosophy of care
  • Where they have hospital privileges
  • How they prefer to communicate with you

Step 2: Check your insurance to see which providers are in network.

It’s helpful to get a basic idea of which providers are available to you through your insurance. Sometimes, it’s worth it to pay more out of pocket for an out-of-network provider. That, of course, depends on your insurance plan. Give your insurance a call to find out the low-down on what your financial obligation will be for both in- and out-of-network options.

photo: iStock

Step 3: Ask your friends for recommendations.

Your friends’ personal experiences with their providers is always a great step toward getting narrowing down what may be a good fit for your family. Ask your buddies about both positive and negative experiences they’ve had with their pediatrician’s practice. One additional step is to join a parents group on social media for your local area and ask them for feedback. Parents love to share their experiences with important team members like pediatricians. And you are sure to find the honest scoop on providers in your area when asked. You will probably notice that several physicians get repeated mentions as providers that are amazing or those who fall short of the mark. Check these physicians against your insurance list to get an idea of where to go from there.

Step 4: Interview pediatricians over the phone.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of pediatricians, review their websites and schedule an interview to discuss the factors above. While this may be more difficult to do with COVID-19 restrictions in place, it’s not impossible. If the pediatrician is not available, ask to speak with a physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner or nurse. In every other area of our lives we talk to the people “doing the work.” So talking to your prospective provider should be no different. Even if they are a busy, thriving practice (which can be a good sign), they should be able to spend 5 minutes telling you about their practice before you give them your business.

female doctorphoto: ElenaBuzmakova_Borisova via Pixabay

 

Step 5: Verify if they accept your insurance.

While you are chatting with the pediatrician’s office, verify they are accepting your insurance and new patients. Your insurance website may not be up to date and it can be very frustrating to find a perfect fit, only to realize the office no longer takes your insurance or isn’t accepting new patients.

Step 6: Make your choice & set it up.

Now that you’ve gotten the scoop on the pediatrician’s offices in your area, you are now ready to choose the lucky practice that will partner with you in your baby’s health! Let them know that you would like to have them as your provider as soon as your little one arrives and ask them if there is any paperwork you need to fill out prior to that.  Find out their protocol once your baby is born now—how soon they will want to see your baby after birth and when you should call to make your first appointment.

Congratulations! You can now check off one more thing on your “must do” list for welcoming your sweet bundle and get back to choosing diapers, bottles and other baby essentials. Stay tuned for our second article on important questions to ask during your first pediatrician appointment.

—Sarah Blight

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Cloth diapers or disposable? It’s a question many expectant parents ask. As with many choices in life, there are benefits and drawbacks to both, as well as a myriad of options. So let’s dive into the pros and cons, as well as some parent-approved favorite brands.

Benefits of Cloth Diapers

1. Saves money. By acquiring a stash of diapers, using them for your baby (and any other kids you have), and then selling them after you no longer need them, parents can recoup some of the initial costs. The average diaper stash, according to many cloth-diapering parents, is about 20 diapers, which allows enough diapers to last a couple days if you do laundry every two days or so.

2. Earth-friendly. Another wonderful benefit to cloth diapers is saving the environment from one-use diapers. Even though disposable diapers require laundering, the fact that they are used for years and may be recycled after their usable life is complete is a huge win for cloth-diapering enthusiasts and parents who are looking for earth-friendly alternatives for their babies.

3. No chemicals. Cloth diapers are typically made from cotton, hemp, bamboo or microfiber. These materials allow peace of mind for parents wanting to limit harsh chemicals from interfering with their baby's delicate skin. There are many options in the material of cloth diapers from organic to bleached to non-bleached materials.

 

photo: iStock

Drawbacks of Cloth Diapers

1. Initial investment. Acquiring cloth diapers requires an initial financial investment that some budgets may not be able to accommodate, especially with everything else you need for a new baby. But with the popularity of cloth diapering, it is possible to purchase pre-owned cloth diapers for a fraction of the price through parent groups on social media. This gives parents a chance to try them out without breaking the bank. There are also varying price points for the many cloth diaper brands on the market, making it a financially viable option for those interested.

2. Diaper booty. Using cloth diapers may mean you have to go up a size or two in clothing due to the adorable cloth diaper booty that results. Different brands have varying levels of thickness and absorbency, which will impact the fit of clothing on the lower half of the body.

3. Extra laundry. Adding more laundry to the new parent's already full plate could prove stressful for some. Many cities offer cloth-diaper laundering services, but if that's not an option for you, many cloth-diapering parents say that once they get in the groove, it's really not a big deal to rinse solids off the diapers (using a toilet hose attachment) and throw them in the washing machine every few days. Also, many parents choose to cloth-diaper their babies during the day and put disposable diapers on them at night for ease and extra leak protection.

photo: GroVia

Cloth Diaper Brands to Consider

Smart Bottoms are less bulky, made from organic cotton and hemp, and are all-in-ones (AIO), which means they are one-piece. They are made in the U.S.A. and have the cutest prints.

Bum Genius is known for one-size cloth diapers that adjust with your baby's growth. They have a myriad of options including all-in-ones and diapers with inserts.

GroVia has lots of different cloth-diapering options with AIO, inserts, organic, hybrid diapers and the brand's beloved Buttah velour diapers, which look as soft and buttery as they feel.

Not sure if cloth diapers are right for you? Let’s talk about disposable diapers.

photo: iStock

Benefits of Disposable Diapers

1. Ease of use. The learning curve of being a new parent is steep, and sometimes you just need the easy button. Disposable diapers are pretty intuitive at a time when you are bombarded by things that are not. The wetness indicator line on the front of some diapers takes the guesswork out of figuring out if your baby's diaper needs to be changed in the first place.

2. Availability. Once you find a brand you like, you will most likely to able to find them in stores near you. Or you can order online and have them auto-shipped, which means you don't have to worry about running out. Buying them online also means you can compare prices to get the best deal.

3. Fewer diaper changes. Because disposable diapers have ultra-absorbent technology, they aren't as prone to leaking, and diapers can be changed less often than cloth diapers. Also, diaper rashes may occur less because of the extra absorbency.

photo: iStock

Drawbacks of Disposable Diapers

1. Irritating materials. Some babies may get diaper rashes due to the chemicals, dyes and gels used to make disposables super absorbent.

2. Non-recyclable. Experts calculate that more than 3 million tons of landfill waste can be attributed to diapers. While there are some up-and-coming companies dedicated to recycling these used diapers, this option is not readily available to most consumers.

3. Expensive. According to some estimates, parents can spend $2,000 to $3,000 per year per baby on disposable diapers. Compare this with a stash of cloth diapers which can be acquired for less than $800 and can last through multiple children and later resold.

photo: The Honest Company

Disposable Diaper Brands to Consider

Pampers Baby Dry are the most economical of these three brands and are loved by parents because of their breathability, wetness indicator and absorbency. They are free of parabens and latex and are hypoallergenic.

Honest Diapers prides themselves on using super-absorbent, hypoallergenic materials that are plant-based. These diapers are readily available at national retailers as well as online, and the patterns are super cute. With bright and cheery prints, these diapers will make you smile even in the midst of the messiest blow-out.

Babyganics Skin Love Diapers are made without latex, parabens, chlorine, petroleum-based lotions or fragrances. Their diapers are a bit more cost-effective than similar brands and are also available at national retailers.

photo: iStock

The Diaper Lowdown

Diving into the diapering world can be information overload. Talk to friends and find out what brands they've used and how they diaper their kids. Join social media groups devoted to parenting and even cloth-diapering. There are so many wise and experienced parents out there who are happy to share the what, how and why behind their choices. Whatever you choose, know that you are doing the best for your baby.

 

Sarah Blight

featured image: heymattallen via Pixabay

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It might feel like you have nine long months to figure out what you need to know about pregnancy and raising a tiny human, but trust us, your delivery date will come faster than you think. This is the time to speed-learn some of the answers to common new-mom problems that will inevitably pop up. Here are 26 helpful infographics and guides for new parents that cover everything from feeding to finally mastering that baby wrap. Scroll down to see them all.

Pregnancy Nutrition Guide

You might not know which types of fish are high in mercury. Or maybe you don't remember if you can eat cheese or not—it's okay if it's pasteurized, right? It's easy to forget exactly what foods are best for expecting moms. This handy graphic will fill you in quickly.

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Finding the Right Bottle for Baby

It's important to find a bottle that just right for your baby. The First Feed Bottle from Tomee Tippee is a great choice because the unique extra-slow flow nipple was designed with newborns and premature babies in mind. The milk flows at a slower rate, which allows for easier first feeds, and the bottle is designed with a natural feel, an “easy latch” nipple and a venting valve, so your baby won’t take in as much air as a regular nipple. It even comes with a Breast Milk Storage Pot, so pumping moms can express milk and feed their little one in a flash.

Making Sure Baby Is Drinking Enough

This clear guide helps you determine that baby is getting enough breastmilk or formula as well as how to balance liquids with solid foods.

Pregnancy Weight Chart

Wondering how much weight you should gain during your pregnancy? Check out this chart that gives weight averages by BMI and tells you where all those new pounds are coming from.

Baby Weight Chart

Keep track of how big baby is during pregnancy with this handy chart that offers helpful visuals for each week, starting at week four.

Pumping 101

If you're pumping, it's important to know how to safely store breastmilk. Keep this cheat sheet on your fridge so you remember the rules.

Milk Supply Hacks

On that note, if you're planning on pumping when going back to work, use these tricks and tips to keep up your breastmilk supply.

Rx for Nursing Moms

What medicines are safe to take while breastfeeding? Check out this list, and be sure to ask your health provider before taking anything.

Baby Habits Month by Month

Wondering what typical sleep, feeding and playtimes look like for babies? Check out this graphic for baby details by month, from newborn to the first birthday.

 

Poop Happens

You've been baptized into the parenting world of bodily fluids, but what does it all mean? Unravel the mystery of baby poop with this insightful graphic.

 

Baby Bathing How-To

There are always questions when it comes to bathtime: How often? What products do you need? How can you keep baby safe? When it's time to give baby a bath, take a peek at these useful tips to make cleaning your little one safe and fun.

Recognize Those Hunger Cries

Trying to understand the signals your baby sends you may be easier said than done. This feeding cues chart will give you visuals to help explain what your baby might be trying to tell you.

 

Master Swaddling

In the hospital, nurses will hand you your baby as a perfectly swaddled burrito, but how do you replicate that magical cuteness at home? Here's a visual how-to.

Nail Baby's Sleep Outfit

The age-old dilemma: How should I dress baby for bedtime? What's appropriate at different temperatures? This guide offers handy tips that promote safe and comfortable sleep. 

 

Dressing Baby for the Weather

It's handy to know whether your baby is dressed warm enough for cold weather, and this cute visual will help you out!

Pack the Ultimate Diaper Bag

Having a checklist to use when packing and repacking your diaper bag is clutch! Check out this cool list, which has all sorts of great suggestions about what you might want to have on hand at all times. 

Up Your Baby Photography Game

A baby is born, and the family paparazzi descends like no other. How does one get those super cute, Instagram-sensation style newborn photos? This newborn photography guide can help you out.

Milestones to Photograph

You now know how to get those cute staged shots, and you have basic ideas on effective ways to make your photos look super professional. Next, consult this list of milestones for those sweet moments you won't ever want to forget.

Be a Wrap Star

You're super excited about the baby wrap you received for your shower, but you have no idea how on earth to tie it! Don't worry, here are six ways to wrap your baby.

Babywearing Positions

You've figured out the baby wrap, but what's the best position for your baby to be in while using other types of carriers? The visual above from Baby Wearing International will help.

Review CPR Steps

Getting certified in baby CPR is a helpful skill for new parents and caretakers. Also handy is this chart, which you can keep as a reference on the fridge, for family as well as babysitters.

 

First Aid Reference Guide

Like CPR training, a first aid class is critical with a new, tiny human around the house. Use the infographic above to review when needed.

Fever Guide

It can be hard to know when a baby's fever is worth a trip to the doctor. Use this infographic guide to help you figure out when not to worry and when to call your pediatrician.

First Baby Foods

Here's a cheat sheet on foods to try when your baby starts solids. This valuable graphic reveals which foods are beneficial (and tasty!) for baby, and it also shows what foods are good as your baby grows into a toddler and beyond. 

Get More Sleep

Every parents' biggest question is "How can I help my baby sleep?" You can find sleep training tips here that are worth their weight in gold.

Teething Tips

Oh, the dreaded teething phase that seems to last forever. Use this teething chart to add some levity to your toothy ordeal.

featured photo: Suhyeon Choi via Unsplash 

Sarah Blight

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How to Find the Best Nanny for Your Baby

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Finding the best nanny for your baby is a delicate and often time-consuming task. Here are the tools you need to be confident, to save you time, and to be aware of all the ins and outs of selecting the right nanny. Read on for things to consider, how to start the process, and the most important questions to ask.

Also considering daycare? Read: How to Find the Best Daycare for Your Baby

photo: Jordan Rowland via Unsplash

Things to consider:

  1. What is most important to you? What are the non-negotiables for you as you begin your search? Is it cost? Is it having a live-in nanny? Is it experience? Write a list with your partner that you can refer to during your search.
  2. Location is one of the reasons parents choose nannies as opposed to daycare. Parents report that they like the flexibility and convenience of having someone come to them and watch their baby in their home. This is particularly valuable when you need someone at varying times of day or night or when your baby is sick and you still need to get to work.
  3. Timing. The nanny search process can take up to 8 or more weeks. So start early! You’ll need to decide if you want to pursue a nanny through friends and relative referrals or through an agency. There is also a third option, a nanny from another country, known as an au pair. Typically, these are live-in nannies who require their own living space within your home.
  4. Cost. Nanny agency charges can range from $1,800 for a placement to $10,000 to use their services. If you get referrals from friends and family, you’ll just be responsible for paying your nanny her salary.
  5. What’s included.  Each nanny agency (domestic and international) is set up a bit differently with its fees, so do your research and find out what the fees include for the specific agency you are considering. An agency should be screening the candidates by phone, conducting a face-to-face interview and checking references. They should also conduct a social media and online screening as well as verify CPR/first aid certification, do a background check including a 7-year driving history, county and federal criminal report, social security verification and a sex offender registry check. If you are searching for a nanny via your friends and family and word of mouth, you will save a lot of money on fees but will have to do your own vetting (i.e. background check and doing all of the above mentioned items) to make sure you know who you are hiring.

How to start the process:

  • Talk to parents who are using nannies. Find out what route they went and why and how it’s working for them. If you don’t know many working parents, check out local parent groups on Facebook. The more people you can talk to, the better.
  • Decide if you want to use an agency or do it yourself. If you go the agency route, you need to decide if you want a local or international nanny (au pair).
  • Now comes the interviewing. You will either be interviewing an agency or a potential nanny depending on the route you’ve chosen. We’ve included questions to ask the agency and the nanny below. This is where your non-negotiables list comes in handy. Remember during your interviews that there are some questions that are prohibited by law. These include asking about age, race/ethnic background, religious views, sexual orientation, marital status/plans on becoming pregnant, disability, and if the nanny has been arrested.
  • Have the nanny meet the kids and interact with them.
  • Check references: Ask for three references. When you speak to them, ask specific questions, such as “what was this nanny’s biggest strength and weakness.”
photo: Nik MacMillan via Unsplash

Questions to ask:

The more information and insight you can glean during your interview process with either an agency and/or a nanny, the better idea you’ll have if they will be a good fit for your family.

Background Questions

  1. How long have you been a nanny?
  2. How many different families have you nannied for? What were the kids’ ages?
  3. What makes you a great nanny?
  4. What other experiences with children have you had?
  5. Have you had other jobs beside nannying?
  6. Do you plan on having another job or going to school while nannying?

Past Work Experience

  1. How did you find the last family you worked for?
  2. How long were you employed there and what ages were the kids while you worked there?
  3. Why did you stop working for that family?
  4. What was that family’s daily routine like?
  5. What were your daily responsibilities?
  6. Did you ever travel with that family?
  7. Were you required to do housework, errands, cooking, work overnight?
  8. How did you handle sick kids or medical emergencies?
  9. What did you like most about that job?
  10. What did you like least about that job?

Compatibility Questions

  1. How much notice do you need for schedule changes?
  2. Are you willing to stay alone with the kids overnight?
  3. Are you willing and able to travel with the family?
  4. What hours and days are you looking for? Evenings? Days? After-school?
  5. Are there any house or kid responsibilities that you won’t do?
  6. Are you willing to do laundry, housework or cooking?
  7. How many kids are you comfortable being responsible for, and what ages do you prefer?

Personality Questions

  1. What do you like best about nannying? Least?
  2. How have you worked with the parents as a caretaker of their kids?
  3. How do you discipline kids? Give examples from previous placements.
  4. How do you handle stress? For example, a baby crying non-stop. Or a toddler not listening to your instructions.
  5. What kind of personality do you have? Do you consider yourself more easygoing and laid back or more likely to have a schedule and enjoy structure?
  6. Do you have any hobbies or things you enjoy doing on your days off?
  7. Give three words that you think your previous families would say to describe you.

Nanny Ninja Skills Questions
Listening to the nanny communicate how they would handle different scenarios they may face with your child is incredibly insightful, so come up with a few good situations unique to your baby and/or family. Additional questions may include:

  1. How do you connect with the kids you watch?
  2. How do you comfort a crying child?
  3. What are some rules in other households that you felt were effective?
  4. What are your views on childrearing?
  5. What happens when a parent’s perspective on discipline is different from yours?
  6. How do you prefer to communicate with parents throughout the day? How often will they hear from you?

Logistical Questions

  1. Do you have a reliable, safe car that can fit my kids and has seatbelts and room for carseats?
  2. Are you looking for a live-in nanny position or set hours?
  3. For non-live-in nannies: Where do you live and how would you get to work each day?
  4. Would you bring your own food or want meals/food provided?
  5. Do you smoke?
  6. Are you willing to do other jobs around the house during naptime?
  7. When are you available to start work?
  8. Do you have other commitments that could interfere with this job?

Salary

  1. What is your salary requirement?
  2. How often would you like/need to be paid?
  3. If you work additional house, such as on a weekend or overnight, what is your overtime rate? Do you charge additional fees for this time?

photo: Dakota Corbin via Unsplash

Nanny & Child Meet and Greet
If a nanny has checked all your boxes so far, it’s time for her to meet your kiddos. Some things you will want to look out for:

  • How does she interact with your child?
  • Does she take charge when she’s with them? Or does she hang back and need some direction?
  • Is she confident in her approach to kids?
  • Is she comfortable playing with kids and getting on their level?
  • Does she look your child in the eye and have clear communication with them?
  • Does your baby seem to like this person?

Red Flags
It may be possible that the wonderful Mary Poppins you’ve been peppering with questions isn’t quite so wonderful after all! Some things to look out for:

  • Nanny doesn’t have references or is not making them available to you.
  • Lots of gaps in work history and the story doesn’t add up. Or they have a lot of short-term jobs.
  • No valid driver’s license or ID.
  • No social security card.
  • The way the nanny interacts with your child makes you uncomfortable. She doesn’t seem attentive, isn’t looking your baby in the eye and doesn’t seem confident around your child.
  • The nanny is willing to take less than her former position or just very low pay.
  • Driving record is poor (if it’s a requirement for the job you are hiring for).

photo: Alex Pasarelu via Unsplash

Final Question

After you’ve asked all the questions, done all the background searches, verified references and watched the nanny interact with your child, ask her one final time why she wants this position.

Now that she has had the opportunity to get to know you better and understand the responsibilities and expectations of the job, make sure she still wants it! It also gives her an opportunity to sell herself to you as a good fit so you can see how eager she is to take care of your child.

Sarah Blight

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How to Find the Best Daycare for Your Baby

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Leaving your baby in someone else’s hands while you go back to work is an adjustment and emotional process for you and your baby. We give you the tools you need to select the right childcare for your bambino, from how to start the process and what to look for while you’re at the daycare, to questions to ask the director and teachers, and much more.

Also considering a nanny? Read: How to Find the Best Nanny for Your Baby

photo: thedanw via Pixabay

Things to consider:

  1. What factors are most important to you? As you begin your search, think about the non-negotiable factors in your choice: Is it cost, location, the type of childcare? Is it a place that specializes in special needs? Or dietary restrictions? Do you want a religious-affiliated care provider? Whatever is important to you, write a list with your partner to stay on track.
  2. Location is a big deal when considering your options. Some parents opt for a center closer to home while others choose a location closer to their workplace. Take into consideration pickup and drop-off times, traffic, and who will be picking up and dropping off your baby when choosing the best location for your family.
  3. Timing. Many desirable daycare options have a waitlist, but just because it has a waitlist doesn’t mean it’s theright fit for your baby. But it may mean that you have to plan ahead a bit earlier than you were expecting in order to find the best options that will work for your family.
  4. The type of daycare. There are two main varieties: childcare centers (traditional daycare) and family childcare (in-home daycare). With each type, there are things to consider and specific questions to ask potential providers (we will cover the questions in a bit). Traditional childcare centers are regulated by a state agency, while in-home daycare isn’t. Both offer your baby the opportunity to socialize and gain independence and have a set schedule, but how that is carried out will differ from place to place.
  5. Cost. Typically, traditional daycare tends to be a bit more expensive with rotating teachers and workers and more classes, which means more kids, while in-home daycare means fewer workers and fewer kids and usually lower costs. Each state regulates the kid-to-teacher ratio for childcare, so find out what it is where you live.
  6. What’s included.  Each daycare is a bit different in what they provide for your child (i.e. food, snacks (as they get older), diapers, wipes, crib sheets), so it’s important to check out our questions at the bottom to help you get the full picture when you’re talking to each of your potential providers.

photo: bethL via Pixabay

How to start the process of finding a daycare:

  1. Talk to as many working moms and dads as you can to get recommendations. If you don’t know many working parents, places like Facebook have mom and dad groups for many cities where you can glean lots of valuable information. The more people you can talk to, the better. You will probably start seeing the same places and people being recommended over and over.
  2. Each state has an agency that regulates daycares. Look them up online and find out which daycares are licensed and whether they have any violations.
  3. Contact the providers and set up an interview and tour. This appointment resembles a job interview. Remember: You are hiring them! Use the questions at the bottom of this article to lead your discussion. During this time it’s also good to get a list of references you can contact.
  4. Drop in unannounced. Don’t let them know you’re coming and drop in. Try to do this at a different time of day than when you were there for the interview. This gives you a chance to catch them during a typical day when they aren’t expecting company. Stick around for 30-40 minutes and watch the interactions, the flow, and how they handle day-to-day activities and issues like safety, how they feed the babies, where the babies are sleeping etc. If they have a problem with you dropping in unannounced and wanting to stay for a solid amount of time, then it could be a red flag that they have something to hide.

photo: Sander van der Wel via Flickr

What to look for:

  • -General cleanliness of the facility or home. Are there broken toys laying around?
  • -Basic safety. Are there fire extinguishers? Smoke detectors? Is furniture stable and tip-proof?
  • -When they are feeding the babies, are they holding the bottle and looking into the baby’s eyes or propping the bottle and not engaging with the baby?
  • -Are they making eye contact and interacting with the babies while changing diapers?
  • -Within 15 minutes of a baby falling asleep in an apparatus such as a bouncy seat or exersaucer, are they moving them into a crib?
  • -How engaged are the children in the daycare? Are the babies and kids interacting with the staff and each other?

photo: PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay

Childcare Center Questions

  1. Are you accredited by the state or nationally? Or are you a part of a quality-rating system?
  2. What are the educational requirements of the director, staff, teachers, etc. Is a college degree required? Is a background in education essential to work here?
  3. What kind of curriculum do you use? Why? Can I see it?
  4. Can you give us a run-down of the daily schedule? What happens when it comes to play time outside? How many children are outside at one time? How do you keep it safe? Are there external gates? If so, are they locked?
  5. What are your procedures when it comes to discipline?
  6. If a child hits or bites my child, how will I be notified? What is your policy about hitting and biting?
  7. What meals do you provide? Where do the meals come from? Can we see a sample menu? Do you cater to special needs (i.e. gluten free, vegetarian, etc.) Do you serve breakfast?  Can we pack lunches for our child?
  8. Can we have a copy of your parent handbook?
  9. What are your policies on sickness, vacation time, giving medication, etc.?
  10. How do you handle things like: emergency evacuations, injuries/accidents, field trips, criminal background checks, immunizations and adult-child ratios?
  11. How is security handled here? What is the check-in/check-out procedure?
  12. What do you find to be the most effective way to communicate with parents? How is feedback from parents received (literally and figuratively)? Are there parent events?
  13. Do you have mandatory continuing education training? If so, how often?

In-Home Daycare Questions

  1. Are you licensed, certified or registered? If so, through whom? How can I verify this information?
  2. How did you get started doing this? What’s your background and experience? Do you have qualifications or a degree?
  3. With kids at different ages, what kinds of activities do you plan? Do they get one-on-one time with you to foster their development? Can you give examples?
  4. What does your daily schedule look like?
  5. Can you show us your outdoor play area? Is it fenced with soft surface materials and appropriate equipment?
  6. What is your discipline policy? And how do you communicate about discipline issues with parents?
  7. What happens when hitting or biting occurs?
  8. How do meals work? Do you prepare all the meals? What nutritional standards do you follow for meals and snacks? Can we see a menu? Do you cater to special food needs (allergies, gluten free, etc.)?
  9. Can we have a packet of info that explains tuition payment, back-up child care and policies regarding medication, sick care, vacation, etc. For example, what happens when you’re sick?
  10. How do you handle the following: first aid, suspected child abuse, communicable diseases, evacuation plans, injury/accident reporting, criminal background checks, TB testing, immunization reports, transportation of children?
  11. Do you go on field trips? How and where?
  12. What type of curriculum do you follow? Why?
  13. How do you communicate with parents (daily notes, activity ideas, conferences, open-door policy)?
  14. In what ways are you continuing your education? Do you attend workshops or continuing education classes or network with other providers?
  15. What is the ratio of adults to kids?

General Questions for All Daycares

  1. What is the youngest age you accept?
  2. How does napping work?
  3. Will my baby have their own crib that is exclusively theirs even when they aren’t at daycare?
  4. Do you provide clean sheets? How often are sheets changed?
  5. How do you keep daycare items (toys, floor, tables, cribs) clean?
  6. Do you check on the babies and older kids while they’re napping? How often?
  7. Will you keep my baby on their same schedule they have at home?
  8. Can I bring breast milk and/or formula for bottle feedings?
  9. Can I leave extra diapers, clothes and sheets here so I don’t have to pack them every day?
  10. Do you change cloth diapers?

After you’ve done your research, asked your questions and basically become a parent with major detective skills, grab that non-negotiables list you and your partner created and figure out which daycare ticks all your boxes.

Above all, trust your gut. If you tour a daycare and don’t have a good feeling about it, trust it! It may not be apparent to you at the time (or ever), but going with your gut will help you feel better about you’re decision when you’re back at work.

Sarah Blight

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10 Albums You and Your Baby Will Love

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Did you know that music can help babies with their cognitive and sensory development? It’s also a great way for them to learn language. And beyond all of that, music is a super fun way for parents and babies to bond. Whether you’re looking for music for sleepy time or for having fun movin’ and groovin’, we’ve compiled 10 of the best albums for you and your baby.

Caspar Babypants
Caspar Babypants is high-quality, fun and fresh music for babies and kids of all ages. The former lead singer of The Presidents of the United States of America, Chris Ballew, is Caspar and serenades us with clever and hilarious songs with titles such as “My Flea Has Dogs” and “Butterfly Driving a Truck.” There is a folksy vibe to his albums that will hit the spot when you’re in the mood for some tunes with a sunny disposition.

Various albums available at amazon.com in different formats and prices.

Beat Bugs (soundtrack)
Beat Bugs is a Netflix original show for kids that follows five funny and cute bugs on their adventures. The songs for this show are all by The Beatles and are performed by various current-day artists such as Sia, P!nk and The Shins.  If you like The Beatles, you and your baby will love these fresh retakes on the classics.

Songs from season 1, 2 and a best of from both seasons are available on iTunes. Each season is $14.99; the best of soundtrack is $9.99.

Sandra Boynton’s Frog Trouble
Is country music your thing? If so, and you want to get your baby started early, check out Frog Trouble. Sandra Boynton is a Grammy-nominated songwriter, music producer and best-selling children’s author (Moo, Baa, La, La La is one you might have read with your little one) who has written 12 original songs sung by country greats such as Dwight Yoakam, Fountains of Wayne, Kacey Musgraves, Brad Paisely and Alison Krauss. If country isn’t your thing, check out her album Hog Wild (CD available at target.com, $11.39) which has a more jazzy feel to it and musicians such as Kristen Bell, Five For Fighting, and Stanley Tucci.

CD available at barnesandnoble.com, $12.62.

Rockabye Baby
A very clever rock label got the idea to transform parents’ favorite music into lullabies for babies. Basically, they take adult music and make it baby-friendly and baby music and make it adult-friendly. It’s a win-win for all! They have lots of albums to choose from, such as Lullaby Renditions of The Beastie Boys (their newest), as well as albums with songs from Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, the musical Hamilton, The Doors, Beyonce, Iron Maiden, Adele and more. Bedtime just got a whole lot more enjoyable!

Albums available in various formats via rockabyebabymusic.com, from $11.99 each.

Jack Johnson and Friends: Sing-a-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George
If you’re looking for music that falls in the middle of lullaby and rock music, you’ve landed on the perfect album with this one. Jack Johnson joins Ben Harper, G. Love, Matt Costa, Zach Gill and others to serenade you and your baby with calm and beautiful melodies that will have you relaxing in no time.

Available on iTunes, $9.99.

Lullaby Baby Trio: Disney Classics
This album has a classic lullaby sound; the twist is that all the songs are from popular Disney movies, including “Let It Go” from Frozen and “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas. The restful vibes of these songs will have everyone asleep in no time!

Available on iTunes, $9.99.

Sleep Music: 101 Sleep Songs
If you’re looking for something outside the realm of traditional children’s music, this album provides lulling lullabies for babies, kids and adults. Some tracks contain really soothing melodies, while others have music combined with nature sounds such as water lapping on the shore. These songs are reminiscent of something you’d hear in a spa and immediately put you in a relaxing and deep-breathing frame of mind.

Available on iTunes, $9.99.

Bedtime Mozart: Classical Lullabies for Babies
Classical music is always a winner at bedtime, road trips or when you’re just trying to get everyone to wind down for the day. Bedtime Mozart contains a few Mozart pieces (including “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” and “Sonata in A”) as well as other lovely classical pieces and children’s songs, from “Ave Maria” and Pachelbel’s “Canon,” to “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring” and “Row Row Row Your Boat.” The piano accompaniment on this album is very soothing and restful. And with 34 songs, this will soothe even the most restless babe.

Available on iTunes, $9.99.

For The Kids
It’s such a breath of fresh, parent air to have rock stars such as Cake, Barenaked Ladies, Sarah McLachlan, Guster, Tom Waits and Darius Rucker sing classic children’s songs and put their rockstar twist on them. Songs like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” get a decidedly modern and vibrant update to make them recognizable but really sophisticated and lyrical in this beautiful compilation album.

Available at iTunes, $9.99.

They Might Be Giants: Here Come the ABCs
The alphabet has never sounded so cool. They Might Be Giants, an alternative rock band formed in the early ’80s, has now created four children’s albums, Here Come the ABCs, Here Come the 123s, Here Comes Science and No!  With super catchy lyrics and full-on rock sound, you would never know this band is crooning about kid stuff like the ABCs or 123s.

Available on iTunes, $9.99.

A final musical note:

If variety is the spice of your life, check out Spotify or Amazon Digital Music. They both have curated playlists of children’s music that will mix things up and provide you and your babe with unique and enjoyable tunes as you go through your day.

Sarah Blight

featured photo: Alireza Attari via Unsplash

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What’s the key to flying with happy toddlers? Snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. The ideal treats not only fill up our kids’ bellies, they are easy to pack, don’t require refrigeration, aren’t super messy, and take some time to eat, so they double as an airplane activity. Read on for our favorite airplane snacks for toddlers, plus tips on how to pack, serve and even play with your food.

photo: Hobby Fotografie via Pixabay

Healthy Salty Snacks

  • String cheese
  • Mini pepperoni
  • Olives (pitted)
  • Guacamole
  • Beef jerky sticks
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Hull-less popcorn
  • Cheese crackers
  • Hummus with red pepper slices
  • Almond butter packets

Snack tips: Show your toddler how to make shapes with the string cheese pieces. Put olives on their fingers and count them. Almond butter packets are a great partner for the pretzels they often serve on flights. Or, pack apple slices or a banana to eat with the almond butter for a filling snack.

photo: Couleur via Pixabay

Healthy Sweet Snacks

  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Freeze dried fruit (strawberries and blueberries)
  • Dried mangoes
  • Clementines
  • Apple slices
  • Applesauce
  • Alphabet cereal
  • Bananas

Snack tips: Ask your toddler to find different letters in the alphabet cereal. Pack an assortment of sweet treats in a small tackle box and use the compartments to sort colors and shapes of different foods.

photo: Silviarita via Pixabay

Less Healthy Sweet Snacks

  • Fruit snacks
  • Kid bars (like granola, protein, fruit & oats)
  • Muffins
  • Yogurt tubes (frozen)
  • Lollipops

Snack tips: Freeze yogurt tubes at home so they’ll stay cool longer. Have your toddler eat that first so you don’t have to worry about refrigeration—they’re also likely to enjoy the ice creamy texture of a chilled tube. Lollipops at takeoff and landing are a fun tradition with a practical purpose: Swallowing will prevent any ear discomfort.

More Snack Tips

1. Concerned about liquids? TSA will allow you to bring food such as purees through the security checkpoint as long as they are for your child. They are considered “baby food” and are permitted as long as your take them out of your bag for screening.

2. Pack some sandwich baggies with paper towels. The towels can pick up spills, and the baggies make it easier to collect garbage to hand to the flight attendant.

3. Don’t forget to save snacks for the return trip home! Pack a separate resealable bag with snacks for the return trip so you make sure you’re stocked and ready to rock this traveling with toddlers thing.

What are your favorite airplane snacks for toddlers? Let us know in the comments.

— Sarah Blight

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