My child won’t stay in their room at night!

Why can’t some kids stay in their room at night? Some nights, it always seems to be one more thing that they need every few minutes or an imaginary ailment that requires a hug or kiss first before they can go back to bed. Setting up a motion detector that chimes if they walk outside their bedroom and bathroom area will work for some kids if consequences are given such as taking away a favorite stuffed animal or tablet for the day if they set of the motion detector.

One solution that has significantly helped one parent keep their preschooler in their room after bedtime is to look for some type of interactive talking stuffed animal (similar to Teddy Ruxpin from the 80’s) that tells bedtime stories at a minimum without parental assistance.

The best solution: Fisher-Price’s Smart Toy:

Choose from a Monkey, Panda, or Bear. The recommended ages are 3 to 8 years and also come with a set of 9 smart cards (more smart cards are available to purchase) that the smart toy can detect with a small camera on its nose. The smart cards are not a requirement; the child can simply press the animal’s belly to begin interactive activities, some of which encourage your child to move around. What’s great is that it allows the ability to adjust settings such as volume and choose activities including stories, adventures, games, clean up, brushing, bed time, and more. You can add your child’s name which the Smart Toy than uses occasionally to greet your child which seems to be a favorite feature. You can also choose the Smart Toy’s name (pre-selected from a long list) using an app called Smart Toy. If connected to your wireless home network, it can tell your child about a brief history event based on the current date. It also knows what time of day it is, and even the weather!

The only complaints we’ve heard after a few weeks of use was you have to talk somewhat loud and clear to interact and it occasionally it needs to be reset by holding down the power button (which also serves as a night light) for 10 seconds which is common for other electronic devices such as smart phones and tablets. The smart cards can sometimes be difficult for the camera to pick them up right away. It can be connected to your wireless network for unlimited updates; no personally identifiable information is transmitted. The USB connected rechargeable battery lasts over 3 hours of continuous use which is great for those kids that need more time to fall asleep. Despite some minor drawbacks, the Smart Toy was a life saver to one parent who works from home in the evening that was constantly getting interrupted a half dozen times every night after their child’s bedtime!

Looking for a babysitter, nanny, or caregiver job? Visit VerifiedSitter.com, a 100% FREE website.

Top 10 Things Nannies and Babysitters Should Avoid When Working

  1. Falling asleep on the job (with the exception of overnights if approved by parents).
  2. Taking pictures or video of your employer’s kids or household and posting them on your social media or apps such as Snapchat without permission. This also includes gossiping or complaining about the kids or parents on social media or other electronic means. Even if you’re not Facebook friends, parents often do check caregiver’s social media profiles which are sometimes not locked down.
  3. Using your smart phone every chance you get or while watching kids anywhere they could become injured (e.g. park, near roads, etc.), including when giving baths or at dinner. It’s different if the kids are watching a DVD, tablet, or napping and you want to catch up on the latest news or social media trends, but constantly checking your phone all day or texting while you are getting paid to watch younger children that require a lot of attention and interaction (even if you witness many other caregivers or parents doing it) is not professional and dampens children’s social skills. Put your phone down somewhere out of reach while working and check it once every few hours if you really need to; you will survive! Please never use your smart phone while driving kids, even at a stop light, outside of emergencies!
  4. Avoid very hot beverages and food, including placing them on tablecloths which can be pulled. Your morning coffee within reach of a young child is not worth potentially permanent physical and emotional scars.
  5. Never leave young children unattended during eating and chewing, or in bathtub or near water. Remember, children and adults cannot talk or yell while chocking or drowning and make little to no sound. Don’t leave buckets of water after mopping; always double or even triple check that you drained the bathtub water after a bath or the kiddie pool in the summer.
  6. Never give the children medicine or anything other than age appropriate food unless approved by the parents.
  7. Never leave items on the floor or within the children’s reach where they are playing alone that could pose a danger such as plastic bags, hard candy, pencils, pens, and other small items or purses that may contain choking hazards. Always puncture plastic bags if throwing in garbage to eliminate suffocation hazard.
  8. For windows on second stories and higher, if they don’t already exist, ask that parents install collapsible window locks such as the BurglaBar to only allow the window to be opened a few inches to prevent deadly falls.
  9. Never answer the front door with the exception of expected guests or a police/fire emergency. If the parents are not home, ask who it is through a window if possible. If unknown individuals appear suspicious and continue to knock or ring the door bell, do not hesitate to call 911 using a house phone. Many burglars work in the early afternoon and will ring door bells first before choosing a target. They may pretend to be a solicitor or say they have the wrong address if you answer the door or in a worst case scenario, attempt to force their way in.
  10. Avoid doing the same thing every week. Try to shake things up to prevent boredom and give the kids some new experiences such as hiking at a local nature center or visiting a science museum.

Note: Most of these recommendations from VerifiedSitter.com apply when watching younger children.

Best way to Interview Babysitters or Nannies Online

You just found the “perfect” babysitter or nanny online who applied to your online job opening. How to you go about scheduling an interview? This is in interesting and complex question. Similar to online dating, it’s sometime obvious that some applicants copy and paste the same message when applying to numerous positions if they embarrassingly forget to remove the previous parent’s name or include the wrong job title during the initial greeting. Once your nanny or babysitter job is posted, you start to get a large number of applicants and you message your top choices with your phone number to have them call you when they’re free to discuss the position, expecting responses within 24 hours. Two days later, you’re left wondering why multiple caregivers never called or texted your cell or Google number.

“This is my biggest frustration with finding a babysitter online. I’m speculating that sitters are casting a wide net, and only responding back to parents who are offering the best hourly rate, location, etc.” mentioned a frustrated parent. “Or there’s a safety or stranger danger concern; maybe I need to wait until the 3rd message back and forth before mentioning anything about chatting over the phone, a common tactic used in online dating to prevent scaring off dates before meeting in person.”

A startup called VerifiedSitter.com was created to help solve the above problem. The site offers the option for caregivers and employers to complete a short self-assessment survey covering areas such as interpersonal skills, and even cooking skills (optional) for nannies or babysitters. Parents can submit a minimum of two professional reference surveys and caregivers can provide child care related reference surveys. The self-assessment survey results can then be compared to the reference surveys to validate the results, which in addition to the optional identity verification, helps build trust between potential caregivers and parents. Caregivers can then decide to communicate with only parents who have completed reference surveys and self-assessments by checking their profile and vice versa; results and references can then be shared upon request with the authorization of parents or caregivers.

For approved profiles or jobs, the site offers users free messaging and video chat which helps parents and caregivers get an idea if someone will be a good match to continue with an in-person interview. “Video chat does make a big difference during the interview process. I knew within a minute or two that one candidate was going to be one of my top picks, and another that didn’t make the cut” mentioned one parent. Video chat interviews also helps build mutual trust before meeting in person, especially if your children are available to say “hi” during the video chat.

The Dreaded Babysitter and Nanny Reference Check

Has your spouse or significant other delegated to you the dreaded task of calling babysitter or nanny references? Assuming you can obtain any quality references from caregiver candidates in the first place, the first step is usually a quick Google search on what reference questions to ask. Once you find a generic list of questions, you typically spend another fifteen or more minutes filtering out the list and customizing the child care related questions based on your situation (e.g. number of children, special needs experience, etc.).

Finally, you’re prepared to call the two or three references provided and enthusiastically start dialing each one. Not one answered. You just remembered people rarely answer their phone, especially from unrecognized numbers, and decided to leave a voicemail. You begin to panic since you need a babysitter to start as soon as possible. Do you decide to take a risk and just let the caregiver start working without any reference checks? Or do you take some vacation days from work until you can get in touch with the references?

A new startup called VerifiedSitter.com has a better and more efficient solution. They offer FREE survey type reference checks in which caregivers (babysitters and nannies) are able to submit a self-assessment and two completed unrelated child care reference surveys. Household employers (parents/guardians) can also optionally submit a self-assessment and provide two unrelated professional references.

The survey reference results, which are more accurate than phone references, can then be compared to the self-assessment to confirm there are no major discrepancies. This increases the odds of a better match since the questions also delve into personality, communication skills, flexibility, previous work duties, and even cooking skills, which gives both caregivers and parents more confidence in who they will be working with and hiring. Reference results are only shared with the user’s permission. They also offer video chat and a “No Flakes” policy to help provide the best possible interview process. In order to send and receive messages, caregiver profile and job listings must be approved which usually happens within 24 hours.

VerifiedSitter.com’s mission is to become the most trusted resource for household employers and caregivers while helping parents daily with the most important hiring decision of their life.

Reducing Babysitter and Nanny Interview No-Shows

As a parent, how many times have you scheduled a mutually agreed upon interview for a nanny or babysitter you’ve found online, and they enthusiastically message you “sounds good!” after sharing their phone number and confirming the date and time they will be available? What percentage of these candidates actually answers their phone during the scheduled interview after you just spent an hour drafting your interview questions? A small percentage, based on one parent’s frustrating experience over the past few years: “Maybe it’s a generational phenomenon that some younger candidates may be too busy Snapchatting or playing Pokemon Go and simply forgot about the interview. Or candidates are just not taking interviews scheduled online seriously because there are no major consequences, similar to online dating. Another possibility is they may have some reservations with talking to a stranger online who may not be who they say they are or have ulterior motives.”

A new startup called VerifiedSitter.com has several solutions to the above problems. To reduce no-shows during mutually agreed upon scheduled interviews coordinated via their built-in chat feature, they have implemented a “No Flakes” policy. After two reported flakes from either caregivers or household employers, the user is removed from the site. This may seem harsh, but it weeds out the candidates and parents who are not serious about working or hiring. It also stops wasting people’s precious time and helps provide the best possible interview experience.

VerifiedSitter.com also offers FREE survey type reference checks in which caregivers are able to submit a brief self-assessment and provide two completed unrelated child care reference surveys. Household employers (parents/guardians) can also optionally provide a self-assessment and two unrelated professional references. This increases the odds of a better match since the questions also delve into personality, communication skills, flexibility, previous work duties, and even cooking skills, which gives both caregivers and parents more confidence in who they will be working with and hiring.

All users can login with their Facebook or Google account which simplifies the login process. To better gauge candidate and employer compatibility before meeting in person, they also offer video chat interviews. In order to send and receive messages, caregiver profile and job listings must be approved which usually happens within 24 hours.

VerifiedSitter.com’s mission is to become the most trusted resource for household employers and caregivers while helping parents daily with the most important hiring decision of their life.