Childcare choices for parents who work during the day are abundant. For those seeking reliable, responsible care for their children in the evening, however, the selection is more limited. Whether seeking ongoing evening care because of work responsibilities or merely occasional after hours care so that you can go out to dinner and a movie, there are a number of things to consider when choosing someone to care for your child. The following information will offer ideas for how to find an evening child care provider:
For full-time evening care, you'd be best to start with a child care referral company to find a babysitter. There are many available and they do some of the weeding out for you. Typically, caregivers who register through referral agencies must be properly licensed and have undergone thorough background checks. This is a good way to find a babysitting service.
- For an occasional evening sitter, you may want to check with your child's regular caregiver if she is currently enrolled in a daycare. This would be a simple solution since your child is already comfortable with the caregiver.
- Ask friends for referrals--but be prepared for them to be a bit stingy with the information. A responsible, fun teenaged caregiver is quite a find and friends might not want to share their sitter!
- Ask at your local high school if you could leave a request for evening care from students enrolled in child development classes. Such students clearly have an interest in young children and are being taught to care for them properly.
- Run an ad in your local paper. Interview thoroughly and check references if the person has provided care for other local families. If it is a teenager who answers your ad, it is entirely permissible to ask to meet with the teenager's parents.
- There are a number of online sources to help you locate a professional childcare provider (see links). You can also answer childcare ads in your local newspaper.
- Seek out a sitter who shares your child's interests. For example, an artistic teen can help to foster the creativity of your budding Picasso. Choose someone who will actively engage your child. Sitting her in front of the television is not good enough.
- Consider whether you'll mind transporting your sitter back home after your evening out. If you're a single father or mother, this will present a problem. If you are not able to drive your sitter home, you will need to hire a caregiver who has a driver's license.
- Be sure that anyone entrusted to care for your child is CPR certified. Offer to pay for a class if a teenage sitter does not yet have her certification. Many hospitals and fire departments offer these classes on an ongoing basis for a nominal fee.