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How to Prepare Your Babysitter

August 22, 2017

Leaving your children in the care of someone else is not a situation to be taken lightly. As much as you may trust your babysitter, have you really seen them act under pressure? Are there any scenarios you may have failed to go over that they may deem appropriate, but you would be against? You may lean toward being trusting and assume all will go well, especially if your babysitter is someone you know well, but when it comes to your children’s safety and well-being, it’s best to leave no stone unturned.

To ensure a positive babysitting experience for everyone involved, here are some tips for preparing your babysitter to care for your children.

Set ground rules

Especially if your babysitter is a teenager or younger adult, make your expectations very clear. For example, would you be okay if they invited a friend or boyfriend/girlfriend over while you were gone? If not, make sure this is clear. Are you comfortable with them bathing your children, even if they make a big mess? Spell it out for them. It’s best just to make a list of ground rules and go over it with them at the start of the night to make sure everything is crystal clear, and there is no miscommunication.

Leave numbers and backup numbers

Of course, you’ll want to leave a physical list of phone numbers in a visible place in case they don’t have your number saved for some reason. But also write down the number of whomever you’ll be with in case your phone dies or the babysitter can’t get a hold of you for some reason. Also, write down your babysitter’s phone number in case your phone dies so you can still contact them.

Let someone know a babysitter is coming over

It’s a good idea to let a trusted neighbor know that you’re going out and a babysitter will be coming over. This way they can serve as a backup and extra set of eyes, and this will also help your babysitter to feel more at ease knowing they have someone they can run to if there is an emergency.

Emphasize what’s important

Avoid leaving a lengthy list of instructions, but instead, focus on what’s really important. Any allergies to food, soaps, etc. or serious medical conditions that require medication at a particular time are the most important to communicate. If your child is prone to night terrors, if you have a dog that must not be let outside, or if your downstairs toilet isn’t working – these are all important details to let the babysitter know of to avoid emergencies and bad situations.

Stick to a routine

Having a babysitter can be a special treat for your baby or children, but it’s still best if they stick to a routine. Make sure your babysitter clearly understands the routine and agrees to stick to it. This will help your child feel comfortable even when you’re gone because of the familiarity of the routine.

Be specific about the routine. Instead of just saying, “change diaper, lay down in crib,” give detailed be specific about the use of ointment, putting baby down alone with nothing else in the crib, giving the baby a pacifier, etc. Don’t assume the sitter will know to do these things.

Agree on compensation

A well-paid babysitter is much more likely to abide by your rules than someone who feels they’re getting taken advantage of. Make sure you ask what their rate is and agree to a rate beforehand. Perhaps you’re compensating them another way, like swapping babysitting with another couple or exchanging lawn care for babysitting. Whatever the arrangement, make sure it’s spelled out ahead of time and both parties are happy so that you know your child is getting the best care possible.

How do you prepare your babysitters when you go out?

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Author Info

Avatar for Angela Silva

Angela Silva

Angela graduated with her B.S. in Exercise and Wellness and is a NASM certified personal trainer who specializes in postpartum fitness and recovery. She enjoys writing, cracking jokes, and spending time with her family, preferably while fishing. She shares many of her life adventures on Instagram as @angelagrams

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