By Sarah Prial, Care.com
At some point in every family vacation, parents usually ask themselves “Um, when does the relaxing part of this trip start??!?”
Yup, because sometime between schlepping to and from the beach to get “more stuff,” building 33 sand fortresses (they’re bigger than castles), and driving all over creation to find “the best” mini golf place–all while doing the typical parent things like negotiating sibling arguments, making lunches they’ll actually eat and soothing 3 a.m. nightmares – it hits you: These memories are hard work.
But worth it. Of course.
Whether you’re in the booking phase or knee-deep in sand, there might be a point when you realize you could use some extra hands while you’re away – or go on a date night to get that second wind. Embrace it (it’s your vacation too). But you’ll need to find a sitter in a new place. And that’s why Care.com and HomeAway have partnered to find your kids a great sitter in any zip code.
But how? You know how to create the job post, but interviewing someone remotely? Technology makes this easier than you’d think. Just follow these four steps.
Step 1: Video Interview. While you can do this the old-school talk-only way, why not add the video element to see the person, well, in person? Plus, video introduces a more human component and interaction level that can’t be achieved over the phone. It allows you to get a much better sense of the potential sitter. Don’t be afraid to show your personality during the interview – the sitter is interviewing you as much as you are interviewing her! And come armed with essential babysitter questions. Most importantly, you’ll want to know a sitter’s experience with children – from age ranges to comfort levels. Then hone in on activities she does with kids, which will help if you’re looking for some help at the beach or the park. If you need coverage for a romantic date night, you’ll need to know if the sitter is adept and comfortable with bedtime and bathing routines, food prep -- and can put an end to constant TV negotiation efforts -- if needed. Find out if the sitter knows how to handle a child emergency and if she has or will soon have CPR training and certification.
Step 2: Reference and Background Checks. Care.com offers background checks across the country, and strongly encourages you use the Preferred or Preferred Plus check on any sitter you hire. And don’t forget to ask for at least three references – and call them. It’s important to ask your possible sitter’s references about their work together and examples of how she handled certain kid-situations.
Step 3: Face-to Face Time. Once it all checks out, secure the date and time with your sitter. If hiring for extra-hands, you’ll be able to work side-by-side for a while before giving her more independence. And if heading out for the night, it could be nice to have the sitter arrive 20 minutes early to get to know her in person, as well as adjust the kids.
Step 4: Out the Door. The sitter is bonding with the kids and you’re ready to hit the town! Leave for as long as you feel comfortable and be sure to ask for a text or two from her to let you know how the night is going.
Have a great trip!