CEBU CITY, Philippines — Entrusting one’s child to another person or hiring a babysitter is unavoidable for some parents.
And while hiring a trustworthy babysitter can be a daunting task, the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Central Visayas (DSWD-7) has urged parents to be extra careful and thorough in this matter.
Last Friday, April 14, 2023, the Naga City Police in Cebu arrested a babysitter who allegedly took the two-month-old child of her employer without consent.
The suspect is a 19-year-old woman who was just in her second day of work as a babysitter.
DSWD-7 Director Shalaine Marie Lucero, in an interview with CDN Digital, said that while the department did not have a prescribed process for hiring babysitters, there were practical tips that any family might consider before getting a babysitter, to ensure their child’s safety and welfare.
“It is important that you get the person that you can rely on. How do you do that? Kinahanglan ang imong kuhaon nga babysitter (The babysitter that you should get) should be someone nga nakaila ka (you know) (for instance) by way of referral,” she said.
Lucero said the family should do an interview with the babysitter applicant to check his or her background and basic personal information.
She said the age and maturity of the babysitter would matter for the role of taking care of an infant or a child.
Aside from getting the basic personal information, it is also important to check his or her experience in babysitting.
“Many would say ganahan kog bata, but the question is nakasulay ba siya’g bantay og bata? It is important to know if naa ba siya ana nga interest for children,” Lucero said.
(Many would say that they like chilren, but the question is had they tried looking after a child? It is important to know if the applicant has an interest for children.)
In cases where the applicant had no experience yet in taking care of a child, but she has a promising background and character, the lack of experience, could be remedied by the parents’ willingness to train and guide the applicant on the tasks that he or she would be expected to do as a babysitter, she said.
An organized everyday to-do list for the babysitter could also make the situation easier.
“If you don’t guide them, ang (usual), magbuhat og bisan unsa na lang, kay ang style karon kay babysitters also are all-around (helpers), and sometimes makaligtaan ang needs sa bata,” she said.
(If you don’t guide them, they will just do (the usual) do anything, because the style now for babysitters is that they are also known as all-around (helpers), and sometimes they forget the needs of the child.)
Moreover, Lucero emphasized the importance of discussing to babysitters the laws that uphold the rights of children and protect them from abuse.
It is also crucial for the parents and families to have constant communication with the babysitter.
“On the part of the babysitter, kinahanglan di sila muhuwat nga ang babysitter mo report kay they have to find a way nga matrace kung kumusta naman mo diha o unsay gibuhat sa bata,” she added.
On the part of the babysitter, they (parents) should not wait for the babysitter to report to them because they (parents) have to find a way to trace and say hello o to find out what she was doing to the child.)
Meanwhile, Lucero also encouraged families to treat their babysitters humanely, as they too had rights protected by law.