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What should you look for in a summer sitter?

Beyond the usual qualities you are looking for in a nanny, summer sitters must have specific skills to ensure that your child will securely enjoy summer activities. 

She should be enthusiastic with high energy, willing to make light meals, do some light housekeeping, and have a driver’s license and possibly a car. Ideally, a summer sitter should have CPR training and water safety training. To help you out  to select a good summer sitter, we have put together  a checklist of the qualities you should be looking for in a summer sitter.

Summer is a very active season for kids (and grown ups!), filled with outdoor activities and opportunities to have fun. Therefore there are some important qualities that a summer sitter should have in order to care for your child or children in the best possible way. Hopefully, your regular sitter will fit this profile, but if not, you may need to look for a different sitter for the summer.  

Desirable characteristics

Taking care of children in the summer months requires energy, stamina and enthusiasm. Your summer sitter must have many specific attributes but these are of the utmost importance. Summer days can seem long, and there are several months and a variety of activities to deal with. If your sitter enjoys staying indoor, she might be perfect for winter months but not for the summer season. Summer provides an opportunity for children to do activities that may not be available, or that they may not have time for, during the school year. You want your child to be able to take advantage of this valuable time, not waste it watching TV.

You summer sitter will probably be with your child for a good portion of the day. Therefore it is essential to have a sitter that is willing and able to make meals and provide snacks for your child. The summer sitter should also do some light housekeeping to keep your home orderly and clean. Finding someone that is willing and able to do both is a necessity. 

Because summer is a time when children get to spend extended periods of time playing outside, there will be the inevitable sunburns, bee stings, and falls and scrapes to deal with. Therefore, finding a sitter with a CPR certificate is quite important. A sitter with first aid training can provide immediate assistance.

One of the best aspects of summer is the opportunity for children to swim. Swimming and playing at a pool is a great way for your child to spend some time outside getting exercise. It is also an opportunity for your child to develop or improve upon his / her swimming skills, and to see friends or make some new ones. But, taking children to a pool is a big responsibility. It is recommended that a summer sitter have water safety training so that your child will be safe.  As many summer activities take place away from the house, you will need a sitter with a driver’s license. You may want to provide a car for your sitter to transport your child. Another option is for the sitter to drive her own car. If this is the route you plan on taking, first, make sure the sitter has a car. Second, it is preferable that the car is safe and reliable.

Summer sitter search and selection process

Mid April or the beginning of May is the best time to start your search for a sitter that will care for your child in the summer. College students, teachers and teacher’s aides make some of the best summer sitters: this is when they are available, and, they potentially might have the necessary skill set.

In the interview, be sure to determine that the sitter really likes children and is not just looking for an “easy” summer job. Additionally, make sure she displays enthusiasm, energy and willingness to spend active time with your children. She must be able to do light meals and light housekeeping, posses a driver’s license with possibly a car, and CPR and water safety training. Once you find a sitter you like, there are a couple of follow-up things to do before you hire her. Ask the potential sitter to provide in writing a list of their planned vacations and absences.  Once summer is in full swing, you don’t want to suddenly not have your sitter because she is taking a vacation. Knowing what to expect in advance allows you to plan. Finally, just as you would before hiring any help for your child or children, it is imperative to check her references and do diligent checks for criminal records and vulnerable sector searches.

By carefully following these guidelines, you will find the summer sitter with the most appropriate qualifications. This will help ensure that the summer is as positive, rejuvenating and enriching for your child as it can possibly be, and just as importantly, that it is stress-free for you.

Paulina Podgorska

Founder of SOSsitter.ca

Like most women, Paulina wears many hats.  She is a mother, she is an entrepreneur, she is an at home child care expert.  This vocation manifested at an early age when she started being a full time nanny for her baby brother.  Later on, she used her experience to work as a babysitter while in college.  She then became a Mom and started to look for child care providers. Being a single mother, finding the right at home baby sitter was critical to her.  This quest for the perfect nanny gave her the opportunity to meet and work with numerous nannies and  babysitters and further develop her expertise. Realizing that finding the right nanny or babysitter turned too often into an obstacle course, Paulina created SOSsitter.ca, an on line service where parents and local in-home sitters connect, that’s fast, efficient and affordable. Through SOSsitter.ca, Paulina leverages her expertise to help families find the local help they need, when they need it.  The site gives parents the opportunity to use their own criteria to search through a large database of detailed profiles of local nannies and babysitters that have been reviewed by mothers. Paulina also has a blog where she shares advice to help families through the selection and hiring process of a babysitter or nanny.  She also describes on her blog her adventures as a mom entrepreneur and founder of SOSsitter.

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