First time and new parents are often so enamored with their newborn they wouldn’t think about letting someone else care for their bundle of joy. However, as time passes and the little one grows, they dream of getting a babysitter so they can have time alone. Here are some tips to find the right babysitter, which may come in handy sooner than you think.

The easiest, and probably the best, babysitter is someone who you already know and trust to keep your child. This could be a parent or other family member. You may also want to ask a friend who you know and who has a good rapport with the child. However, sometimes it’s simply not possible to get a family member or friend to keep your child.

Talk to your family, friends and co-workers. They may have suggestions for child care. Whether or not they decide to share their favorite babysitter with you, they may have other ideas or know of other people who are good with children and available to sit for you.

Call your church or synagogue, if you attend, to see if there are people they can recommend. They may have a pool of people they call on should they need sitting services during church events. The benefit of going through a church or synagogue is that they’ve checked anyone they would allow to work with children.

Local colleges or high school counselors may also be a good source for potential babysitters. Many have departments or classes for people interested in caring for children. Education and child development majors are already learning to care for children – why not allow one to get to practice in their chosen field.

Obviously a newborn or infant is going to need different care than one who is a toddler, preschooler or older. For very young children you would probably want a sitter who is older and has more experience dealing with children that age. Children who are older may be fine with an older, responsible teen watching them.

Conduct an interview with the potential sitter. Discuss their experience, whether or not they’ve been trained in first aid and CPR, and what pay they expect to receive. You’ll also want to discuss any other things which concern you. Ask them which age children they prefer and why, what they would do in emergencies, and how they would enforce family rules.

Ask for and check references carefully. They should be happy to provide this information to you. If they become offended by your request and won’t provide references, you probably don’t want them to keep your children. Verify their training, if possible.

Set up a time before they sit for them to meet your children. Children are a great judge of character so watch how they react to the potential sitter. Pay attention to how they react with your children. Do they get down on the floor to play with dolls or sit on the couch and watch from a distance?

Plan a trial babysitting time. Have the sitter come to your house for an hour or so while you run to the store. While you’re supposed to be gone, pop back in and see how things are going. If you’re satisfied that they’re taking good care of your children, don’t feel bad about leaving again.

Using these tips to find the right babysitter can help tremendously. However, if you’re still not sure and your children are verbal, ask them what they think of the potential sitter. You may be surprised at their answer.