A babysitter will provide occasional care for your children in your home - perhaps an afternoon here and there, or in the evening. It is important to be rigorous in your vetting so that you are happy with your chosen babysitter and confident that they can be left in sole charge of your children. How Old do Babysitters Have to be? There is no minimum age for a babysitter, although the NSPCC recommended you choose someone over 16 years old. If harm comes to your child and the babysitter is younger, you may be responsible and be deemed negligent. Even a 16 year old may not be mature enough. You are required to assess the person's maturity and suitability according to the requirements of the childcare and your children How Much Should I Pay My Babysitter? The cost of employing a babysitter differs around the country - prices range from £6 to £8 an hour, up to as much as £11 per hour. This may vary depending on the number of children being looked after and if the babysitter has any childcare qualifications. If you hire a babysitter through an agency they may charge additional fees ranging from a yearly subscription to one-off fees. If you want your babysitter to stay all night negotiate an overnight fee in advance. Do I Pay for the Babysitter's Travel? If it is late when you return, you should consider paying for the babysitter to get home in a taxi, or, accompany them home. What Qualifications are Needed for a Babysitter? Currently, there are no regulations or requirements that apply to babysitters. They are not required to register with OFSTED, nor do they need to hold a current DBS check however, hiring a babysitter who does not hold a recent DBS check is not recommended. Can a Childminder Babysit in My Own Home? Childminders are registered to care within their home, but are not registered to babysit in your home. Registered childminders sometimes offer babysitting services - which may be of interest as they have been Ofsted registered and DBS checked. What Checks Should I Undertake When Employing a Babysitter? Obtain references of any babysitter in exactly the same way as you would a nanny/au pair - check that they know basic first aid and how to cope in an emergency. What is a Babysitting Circle? Parents can join a babysitting circle where they trade babysitting time. If you are thinking of this, try to join a circle with a good number of parents involved to give yourself a chance of finding available babysitters when you need them. You can find out about babysitting circles through local playgroups, antenatal classes and the National Childbirth Trust. (To find your local branch of the NCT, tel: 0300 3300700) Points to Consider Before Leaving your Children with a Babysitter? Invite your babysitter over prior to the first booking, introduce them to your children so that they are comfortable in each other's company. Always tell your children in the morning and keep reminding them during the day that a babysitter is coming. If they don't like being left it is still much better to tell them. Sneaking off while they are playing and hoping for the best never works! Ensure your babysitter knows how to reach you in an emergency and who else to call eg 999, alternative contacts etc. Over estimate rather than under estimate what time you will be home. It is better to return early than leave your babysitter wondering where you are. Don’t leave an unwell child with a new babysitter, as this is not fair on either of them. Be specific when laying the ground rules for your babysitter with regards to having friends sit with them, smoking etc. If your family has allergies or special conditions, it is important that your babysitter is informed. Provide refreshments and make sure your babysitter knows their way around your home.