Trust is the biggest problem
If you ask any parent anywhere the biggest problem parents have when using a babysitter even when it is family; is trust. Trusting a babysitter is the biggest problem parents have when leaving their children with anyone other than themselves. Even parents have been known to have trust issues when leaving their children with the other spouse. Leaving children with a babysitter related or not is so difficult that a lot of parents choose never to leave their children, and then they get burnt out. You need to face it; you need a break, and figure out how to trust your caregivers.
1. Mentally prepare yourselves. You need to come at peace that you need to take a break from parenting just like any job you have; there is a threshold where you are at your wits end. So prepare yourself for getting a babysitter.
2. What are the rules of the house not only physical space but the physical care of your children. What do you expect your babysitter to do to keep your children well cared for? Is there physical cleanliness important to you or do you think it's okay for the kids to get dirty? How often would you recommend the babysitter to change diapers? Do you let the kids jump on the furniture, throw or kick balls in the house? These are just a few questions you need to ask yourself in order to communicate it to the babysitter.
3. Will your babysitter follow the rules of the house? If you don't want your kids to have a sugar high and Grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles may think it's no big deal, and though it may be a joke to them for them to give the kids some sweets it isn't to you. You may want to reconsider having them babysit for you. Sometimes a stranger will do a better job babysitting following your rules then the people you DO know.
4. Absolutely be clear and specific about what you expect from your babysitter, and make sure that you communicate those expectations to your babysitter. Just showing the babysitter around your home, where supplies are, what food to make, etc may not be enough information for the child caregiver to meet your expectations. You have to remember a babysitter goes to all sorts of families with all sorts of expectations so you can't assume that they will know what you expect.
5. Find a trusted resource to help you in providing you with babysitters. If you trust the people you find to help you supply your babysitters then you are ahead of the game. Resources can really help you have access to a pool of babysitters that have been thoroughly vetted for you. If you don't get a resource to help you find a babysitter then you must interview, reference check, Facebook and social media, and background check yourself. If you don't you, more than likely, will have trust issues.
6. Make a list of what is allowable for watching and or playing on screens if allowed. This is super important because once kids have a vocabulary they will try to convince that you have no problem with them watching or playing games that you will never let them watch. You should also communicate what you allow the babysitter to watch especially if you have older kids. We live in a world that is continually changing and with the many shows and other entertainment that is out there to just blindly think your babysitter will know what is appropriate for your kids is unthinkable.
Finding babysitters that you can trust isn't what it used to be. In order to feel that you can trust your babysitter you need to understand what your expectations are, and how best to communicate those expectations. Back-in-the-day telling babysitters what to feed the kids and head out used to be all you need do before you leave. But with all the screens, rules, allergies, and behavior complications it is a lot harder. In order to alleviate your fears having any old babysitter that you find in the neighborhood, or online isn't necessarily going to make you feel like you trust them.
Figure out what will work for you, but remember that no babysitter will be the same as you. Be reasonable and trust your gut when you have a babysitter. Trust me when you have an alarm that goes off you need to trust that instinct, because you will worry the entire time you're trying to enjoy yourself.