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Finding a Temporary Babysitter in Qatar

“Only twice, are you sure?” my husband gasped. I had just told him the number of times we had been out together, on our own, in the two years since our daughter had been born. We concluded that it was high time we organised an evening off together.

However, like many expat couples in Qatar with children, we have no family or close friends around to babysit. So our next question was who, if we went out for an evening, would babysit?

It is a question facing many families living in Qatar, who require one-off day or evening childcare. Not only do you need to know how to find a babysitter with suitable experience but also “who” they are—will you feel secure leaving your child with them?

Hiring an agency

Qatar has a range of agencies that can provide childcare. These agencies enable you to search for babysitters based on a number of criteria such as experience, skills, nationality, religion, languages, gender and more. Or you can contact babysitting service providers, who handpick a babysitter for you generally based on availability, the age of the child and whether additional chores or tasks will be required (i.e. ironing, dishes, cleaning, etc.).

If you are looking towards a more formal arrangement, there are several websites/companies that provide appropriate services; these are a few:

Swiss Label Maids enables you to register either online or by contacting the company directly. Once registered, booking a babysitter can be easily arranged and confirmed via telephone, text or email. You can interview potential babysitters via telephone or a face-to- face meeting prior to making a booking and even request the same sitter for regular bookings. The hourly rate for a sitter is QR 50 (includes transport) with a minimum of four hours required but a discount is applied if you hire a sitter on a more regular basis. The sitters themselves are all ladies from the Philippines, who speak English, and are aged between 30 and 45 years. Each sitter is trained by Swiss Label prior to placement, holds a police clearance certificate as part of their Residents Permit, and provides references from previous employment. Additionally, a number of the ladies available are also first aid trained.

Though babysitting services are not immediately obvious from their websites, Elite Cleaning and The Clean Team can arrange sitters if you contact them directly. The hourly rate for a sitter is QR 35 (includes transport) for a minimum of four hours. A discount is also available if you hire a sitter on a regular basis and for the same sitter can be requested for regular bookings. The sitters do not receive formal training from their agencies, but they are often mothers with childcare experience.

Great Au Pair is an overseas agency that allows you to search for and book babysitters (amongst other services) online. You create a profile outlining the services you require and the criteria you would like a potential employee to meet including a price per hour. You are then able to search for and review potential babysitter profiles based on your chosen criteria. You can also contact members directly, arrange interviews, hire and pay for services via the website and provide feedback. Access to the website, including creating and reviewing profiles, and contacting potential employees, is free, however, more detailed information on members, including background checks requires a USD 60 per month subscription fee with discounted pricing for longer subscriptions. Additionally, those looking for employment are required to pay a fee to upload their profile and become a member. It is worth mentioning that if you intend using the site you must have a valid postcode/P.O. box to sign up. Background checks or reference checks on members joining in Qatar are not available, and there is no direct contact number to talk to the service provider whose offices are overseas (contact is via email only).

Great Au Pair
greataupair.com

Swiss Label Maids
swisslabelmaids.com
+974 4431-9990/4442/0238

Elite Cleaning
elitecleaning.qa
+974 4437-5242 or +974 4431-2698

The Clean Team
the-cleanteam.com
+974 4480-7458 or +974 7050-0972

Word of mouth

Of course, when hiring a sitter, some families may prefer a word-of- mouth recommendation. Such informal options include, searching the classified sections of newspapers and websites like Qatar Living or, more commonly, enquiring at social group activities, canvassing friends, neighbours and other community groups for tried and tested childcare arrangements. If your compound has its own Facebook community, ask if there are any teens or nannies looking to make a little extra cash.

For many, asking friends to babysit or employing a babysitter our neighbours or people from our social groups use, is the best, most convenient and most comfortable option. There is an amount of trust already built into the relationship, since the babysitter is already known to you or to someone you trust. It is also, generally, the cheaper option. Friends may be counted on to babysit for free—the favour being returned in kind. Local freelance babysitters usually charge within the price range of QR 25-35 per hour, but with no minimum hours required. It is worth noting that transport costs or the provision of lifts to and from your house may be expected and not included in that hourly rate. It is good to agree on the details at the outset. It is also worth agreeing as to whether you expect and additional chores to be undertaken, i.e. dishes, cooking, light cleaning, etc. A clear understanding from both parties makes for a better working relationship.

Whatever the reason you may need childcare whilst in Qatar, there are a number of options available for finding and hiring a suitable babysitter. However, regardless of whether your babysitter has been recommended or provided by a service provider, there are a few things to consider before you employ someone. It is worthwhile undertaking a little of your own background research or performing simple checks on anyone coming into your home and taking responsibility for your child. You can check (and photograph for your records) photo IDs; verify home addresses, telephone numbers and emails; search the internet for publically available information; check out Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social network profiles; and, check references if provided. Also, it is always advisable to conduct your own interview with your chosen babysitter and introducing them to your child before agreeing employment. This will give you an opportunity to get to know more about the sitter and their method of childcare, to tell them what you expect, to see if they fit in with your family, and whether your child is comfortable with them.

Once you have hired a babysitter that you and your child are comfortable with, the only thing left to do is enjoy a couple of hours of freedom. Whatever you chose to do—enjoy!

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