No matter your relationship to dating, there is a universal understanding that a.) it’s not easy and b.) it takes time. This makes complete sense. Finding a genuine connection between two unique individuals is not something that is just stumbled upon.
Romantic dating even has its own movie genre. At this stage in my life, I feel like I’ve seen them all, both on and off the screen. I would, however, be interested in talking about how one type of relationship evolves and grows: the babysitter relationship. Seriously, think about it. A babysitter is not just a body that comes into your house to watch an object. It’s a person that connects with your child.
When kids need babysitters they’re typically in their most impressionable ages. They mimic what people do, what they say, how they carry themselves. When considering all that, as parents we should dedicate time and energy to finding and “dating” lots babysitters until we’ve found the right fit.
When you start dating, there’s a baseline of information you seek out before you even agree to meet. Babysitter dating is no different:
- Likes + Dislikes | It’s never a good sign if you run out of things to talk about within the first 5 minutes of the date. The same goes for kids and babysitters after you’ve walked out the door. If your sitter loves arts and crafts but your child loves playing catch and kicking a soccer ball, it might be hard for them to easily build a connection. When interviewing sitters, be sure to ask them what they like to do outside of work and think about what that would mean for your kids. For example: if the sitter likes to perform improv, there’s a good chance they’d have fun playing with a child who can’t get enough of dance parties and dress-up.
- Communication Style | Some parents like regular check-ins and picture updates when a sitter is in charge, while others only want to be contacted in emergencies. It’s important to gauge a sitter’s natural communication style and whether it matches what you’re looking for. Unlike romantic dating, you have more power in choosing how you want to be communicated with, but logistics will be easier if you and the other person are instinctively on the same page. Plus, your working relationship is more likely to be sustainable for everyone.
- Dating History | First dates are designed for getting to know each other. A big part of that is understanding what brought that person to the table with you. The same goes for babysitters. Don’t be afraid to ask why they became a sitter, who they have babysat for in the past, or what they liked/disliked about those partnerships. The standard interview questions are important, but ultimately this is a relationship your cultivating—it’s ok to dig a little deeper.
Obviously, there are a lot of differences between traditional dating and finding a sitter. But there are also a lot of parallels. The major one being: there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution or approach. You have to be willing to invest time and focus energy on finding the right match.
The added bonus of babysitter dating is that there’s no pressure to find a single person. It’s actually better to have a few solid connections to call on different occasions. So go ahead, start getting yourself out there. Let sitters in your area know that you’re open and ready to mingle!