As you wrap your little bundle up, all set to be dropped off at the babysitter’s, the last thing you have in mind is a doubt about his caretaker. As much as we want the best possible care for our tots, most often we forget to put in some extra efforts, do a background verification and reference checks before handing him over to the babysitter.
According to this report, Desiree LaBlanc of Des Moines too thought she had found a good creche for her baby. She thought she could trust the friendly looking Christina Williamson, who owned a daycare in the area. A child protective investigator, Desiree left no stone unturned to figure out whether the 28-year-old babysitter is after all a good fit and guess what? Christina seemed perfect.
However, her act of being the perfect babysitter soon came undone. Her husband, sensing something was amiss based on a little boy's confession, decided to install surveillance cameras in their home.
Before long all the brutality inflicted by Christina, on the tots at the day care was recorded. The footage was shared with the cops, and the inhumane babysitter has been sentenced to a 5-year jail term. Fortunately, Desiree's young one as well as the other babies who went to the creche are reportedly fine. But it could have easily been a story sans a happy ending.
So how do you decide who is good enough to take care of your child? In instances when neither of the parents can stay at home, what other option does one have? I gave up my high-flying job with a leading media company (and I miss it like hell... so, I'm absolutely not judging parents who send their babies to a day care) the day I realised I was coming home to a 5-year-old who was becoming increasingly aloof.
I didn’t know the reason till quite some days passed by. A random conversation led to her revelation which made me tear up. She was being bullied by an older child at the creche I’d send her to.
And what exactly does this have to do with an evil-incarnate babysitter? I feel, committing a crime and supporting (not objecting to it is a form of support, I feel) a criminal are one and the same. In my child’s case, the babysitter and none of the caretakers intervened when the harassment went on. Neither did they bother informing me.
While it was too late for me to walk up to the creche owner and stage a protest, I wish I was a little more attentive to the signs of shutting-down that my child, in her childlike innocence depicted. Here are some basic know-hows that can perhaps help you narrow down on a trustworthy babysitter:
- Surprise visit: Almost everyone is on their best behaviour if they know they are being watched. So, pay a second visit, without an appointment. As rude as it may sound, I’d rather look rude than be sorry for not doing this. This will help you check out the precinct more or less the way it would be on a regular day.
- Check references: Meet other parents, do reference checks, clarify your doubts and if possible, try engaging in a casual banter with the kids going to the day care. Your parental instinct will tell you if you should go ahead.
- Trial test: While I’d sent my daughter to the creche on a test basis for a couple of hours every day, for almost a week before enrolling her there, it didn’t help in the long run. However, I still feel, this is essential. For all you know, in the first few days your bub will let you know that this is not where he wants to be.
- Trust your gut: Sometimes we just don’t feel right about certain things. Be it a babysitter, a teacher or even a doctor. Don’t ignore your instincts. There actually may be something amiss.