When I first moved (back) to Halifax, work was not an issue that I worried about. I had a job all lined up and even knew what my shifts would be. I knew what my pay would be and had my budget worked out using (slightly less income than) those numbers. I was set and ready to go.
I set my start date for work approximately a month after moving day to allow time to unpack and find a suitable sitter. Finding a sitter is something that, for me, is not possible from afar. I had set up interviews based on references prior to moving, but I knew finding the person I was looking for would not be that simple.
When I arrived in Halifax, I advertised that I was looking for a sitter online and in the papers. I put up a sign on the ECE message board at a nearby university as well. Soon, when friends or family wanted to hang out they began asking what time I was done interviewing that day rather than “mind if I stop by?”
For me, sitter interviews are conducted in five stages, four of which can be done in one meeting. Each section is important to determine if this person is a good fit for my family. After all, don’t we want the care of our children to be as close to the way we would care for them ourselves as possible?
The first stage is the initial meeting, resume review, and my questions for the potential sitter. These are the “would you be willing to…”, “what would you do if…”, and “how would you…” questions. First aid/CPR and transportation questions fall into this section as well.
If everything in this section works out, I move to “meet the kids”. The kids are prepared for this and realize that just because they are meeting this person, it does NOT mean this will definitely mean that this will be their new sitter. The way the kids react to this person actually tells me a lot.
From there is a tour of the house (as shifts that end at 12am make in-home childcare necessary). I never realized that this was something that is actually part of the interview until about halfway through the round of interviews I did when moving back to Halifax though. I actually had one applicant who had a great interview up until this point. In the kitchen, she opened up my cupboards and fridge, then whirled around and informed me that I didn’t have anything in my house that was edible. She told me that on top of the agreed upon pay, she would require at least $200 per week to bring edible food into my home. She was the only person who has EVER failed my home tour portion of the interview process. She didn’t get the position.
During and after the tour is the sitter’s chance to ask me questions. I deliberately leave out some pieces of information during the rest of the interview process just to see if the potential sitter deems this information as important as I do. I am actually MORE interested in hearing their questions than their answers to mine.
Step five is, of course, the reference check. If there was any section of the interview that was not up to my standards I may only call one reference or none at all. For a successful interview, I will call three. If all sections are passed, I set up a supervised play date with the potential sitter (who is in charge) to just observe.
Even with this intensive process, I go through sitters like water until I find the right fit. There are just too many ways that other people’s style of parenting differ from mine. It takes awhile to find that person who can fit in as an extension of the family.
I found my perfect sitter about six months after I started work that time. She was adopted into our family and, even though I no longer require a full-time sitter, she still is considered one of our own. She is even on the kids’ emergency contact list at school. She is the only non-blood relation on this list.
No matter what others may say, the person with my children when I can’t be there is a member of my family. They are raising my children in the times that I can’t. I am glad that I can be with my kids on a full-time basis now, but I would be lost without my adopted family member.
Not to mention I still occasionally may need a sitter and I REALLY don’t want to start the process of interviewing all over again….
Love ya C!
No matter how dark the day, the sun is always shining somewhere!