3. Make Her & Your Kids Comfortable
Before you leave, you'll want your sitter to get the lay of the land. So have her come over beforehand. "She should follow you around the house and spend time with your child," suggests Stacey Grissom, spokesperson for the American Red Cross.
Sharon Nocerino, mother of two from Queens, New York, found that this worked wonders. "Having our sitter come over beforehand made my kids so much more comfortable with her before we left for the night," Nocerino says.
While she's there, give your sitter a tour of your home to increase her familiarity. Point out and explain the little things, like door locks, security systems, and smoke alarms. And make sure you pay her, of course, for her time.
You and your sitter should negotiate payment beforehand. Since hourly rates can vary, ask around to see what babysitters charge in your area.
If you want your sitter to do other chores, ask in advance. But if you have a baby, think twice. "You don't want her to be worrying about emptying the dishwasher," Varden says. "Encourage her to focus on your baby. You can always sweep the floor when you get home."