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Leaving your children with a babysittier can be a nervewracking experience - how do you go about finding a suitable babysitter? The obvious fears are whether your children will be safe left in the care of a complete stranger, and whether they will be settled with someone that they don't know.
If you're lucky, you might have family living locally who you can call on, but failing that there are a number of avenues to explore. Local authorities usually maintain a list of vetted and regular babysitters. You can ask them for details of a professional child minder in your area, and they often come with specific qualifications.
You may have neighbours that you have got to know well enough to entrust with your children and who are willing to stay with them in your home for a few hours. Your children may also attend a nursery or playgroup, and there could be staff here that are willing to do care out of hours.
If you are to leave your children with someone that they haven't met, then it would be a good idea to have an introductory meeting so that your children can get to know the person and recognise that they are trusted by you. The older your children, the easier it is to explain the situation, that you'll be gone for a short time and that this carer will be here to make sure that they are OK.
The first night away is difficult because you'll be nervous, but once youve done it for the first time, you'll find it becomes more natural to leave your children in someone else's care - this is after all what you do when they attend preschool or nursery, and as they grow older, your children will gain confidence and independence through instances where you are away briefly.