Other Care Resources
Whether you tailor an existing resume, use a customizable form, or summarize your experience in an email, you should be sure to mention your babysitting experience, childcare and safety training, and either provide or be prepared to provide references. The Red Cross has an example of a customizable resume form on page 18 of their free guide, the American Red Cross Babysitter's Training Handbook.
Actively preparing for babysitting jobs will make you a more qualified sitter and may make you more marketable. In addition to its Babysitter’s Training Handbook, the American Red Cross offers Babysitting and Child Care Training, including first aid and CPR, both online and in classroom-based courses. Care.com also offers a list of resources and ideas for finding babysitting training.
Not all parents will request a full background check, but some may wish to do so. Background checks generally include a search for criminal convictions (in Massachusetts, this is known as a Criminal Offender Record Information, or CORI check), verification of the basic facts of your education (dates of attendance, degrees earned, etc.), and a driving history. It may also include a check on your credit history. You will be asked to provide your name and several previous addresses, as well as your social security number. A potential employer will use an agency to conduct a background check, and must get your permission to do so in writing. You can read frequently asked questions about CORI here.
Two-way communication between a sitter and parents is critical to a successful working relationship. Before you accept a job, parents should make clear whether you are expected to prepare meals, do the dishes, or any other non-child care chores. Parents should always provide you with a list of emergency phone numbers and basic information about their children’s personalities, habits and schedule. The American Red Cross offers sitters a comprehensive Family Interview Form which provides questions that can guide sitters as they discuss expectations with parents.
Households Looking for Help
Many sites suggest questions for you to ask at an interview (e.g., Care.com interview guide).
Various web sites offer rate calculators (e.g., Care.com calculator), but talking to other parents may give you a better sense of the going rate in your area.
If you have found a candidate on your own but would like assistance in making sure this is the right person for your family, American Nanny Company offers Harvard affiliates discounts on services, from background checks to reference checking and interview support. American Nanny Company will provide a la carteservicesfor candidates you identify, at a discount for Harvard affiliates. Visit this page and scroll to the bottom for information.
If you hire a nanny, you may want to draw up a formal contract (e.g., Care.com sample template). If you have a babysitter on an occasional or irregular basis, you may not need a contract, but it’s still a good idea to communicate your expectations clearly, even if it’s in the form of an emailed letter of agreement. Beyond the checklist approach, you should address briefly your parenting philosophy, your approach to discipline, expectations surrounding cooking or cleaning, and any other parameters you wish to establish. Finally, assessment of your child care arrangement should be ongoing.
For more on child care resources and benefits available to faculty and staff at Harvard, please visit www.hr.harvard.edu/childcare/. Harvard’s Office of Work/Life can connect you with resource for back-up childcare, limited financial aid for defraying the costs of childcare, and more.
If you hire a babysitter on an ongoing basis, you can expect to have legal and financial responsibilities. These take some time to prepare, so it’s a good idea to start early. Care.com offers a service called Homepay that can help Harvard affiliates manage these responsibilities. It is always a good idea to check with your own legal or financial advisor to understand your individual responsibilities.