WILMINGTON -- As the holiday party season gets in full swing you may be itching to get out of the house, house minus the kids. But before you look for a baby sitter, there may be some things to consider. One local baby sitter said she gets much busier as the holidays roll around. Charlie Daycare owner Charlie Rhodes has spent years taking care of hundreds of children, none of which are her own. She has been babysitting a since 1981 and now owns her own child care service. She says she's been doing it for so long she doesn't even have to advertise. Nearly all of her business comes from word of mouth. Rhodes said, "It depends on how good you are. The parent has to know that when you drop your child off, you have to know that they will not be worried, just communicating with the parent is important." Creative Child Care Solutions president Pam Palanza says it's common practice to find a qualified baby sitter through a friend, or co-worker. She runs a local website, "Wilmington Child Care." On it parents can locate baby sitters and licensed child care facilities in the area -- like Charlie's day care. She says parents need to do some homework before leaving their children. "They do need to be asking for references, they do need to be checking, they do need to ask them how long they've been baby sitting, and ask about their experience," Palanza said. "Because sometimes it's a total stranger you're asking to come into your home with your most precious possession." Palanza says the hunt for a good baby sitter sometimes becomes more difficult around the holidays. But she says there are plenty of good resources available to parents -- it may just take some planning. "Sometimes it's the scarcity of finding good baby sitters, a lot of them are working their in after school activities, so I always say start with what you know, start with your friends, your family, your neighbors, your co-workers, your relatives, ask them." If you can't find someone you know Palanza's web site allows parents to do background checks on their possible sitters. Mother of five Amy Gerney said, "Doing your homework and being very careful and cautious I think reaps the rewards, because you do need to get out and get time for yourself." When you're looking for a sitter you want to take the opportunity to sit down with them and discuss your expectations. You might also want to find out if they are CPR and first aid certified.
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