What should you look for when hiring a babysitter?

By: Kevin Hurd Email
By: Kevin Hurd Email

MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU) -- "Sometimes it's great to know someone you know caring for the child, sometimes you don't have that luxury," said Judy Gifford, the Director of the Child and Family Study Center at UW-Stout.

There are those times where we are in a pinch whether it is work, school, even a date night -- and someone has to take care of the kids.

It is hours where those closest to you are under someone else's eye. So how do you know they have got their interests at heart?

"Invite that caregiver to come into the home, meet with you and the child, spend some time interacting with the child and see how that child responds to that caregiver," Gifford said.

She says screening a babysitter starts with making that match. A child should feel very comfortable. Then, ask the caregiver how they would react in certain situations.

"So, I would ask them how would you handle it if the baby cries for a long period of time, how they will keep themselves calm," she said.

Next, ask for references. And more importantly, follow up with them.

"Give them a call and say how this person worked out for you, did they provide good quality care?" Gifford said.

If all checks out, make sure both you and the babysitter know how to handle tough situations.

While we do not know what drove Jennifer Cronin to allegedly abuse a 4-month-old baby in Rothschild, Gifford says a crying baby can be frustrating and cause a lot of different feelings we do not know how to deal with.

So, have a plan.

"Sometimes the plan is to put the child down, let the child cry, and go in the other room because you have to be calm yourself in order to deal with the child," Gifford said.

And finally, do not let your guard down just because you know the babysitter. Gifford says more often than not, abuse happens from someone the child already knows.

"Sometimes it's even a parent, or another relative," she added.

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