Trusting a babysitter to look after your children can be worrying and unnerving at any age but babysitters can become a really important part of your life once children start to grow and parents start to re-enter their social and working lives.
It is really important to give your babysitter the correct information regarding household safety concerns, any medical advice and so forth.
The first step when arranging a babysitter is to make sure that they are well reputed, known to be good with kids, responsible and trustworthy.
Recommendations from friends or family members are best, and online forums with babysitter reviews can be helpful too.
For the first time you use a new babysitter, make sure that you arrange for them to arrive early enough that you can chat with them before leaving. Once you know that you have a trustworthy and responsible babysitter, the rest of the process becomes far simpler and stress-free.
Household safety is another vital factor when using a babysitter. Inform them of any potential safety issues, and make sure there is time to explain and answer any questions. This may include why they need to keep a certain door or cupboard locked, blind cords which could be a choking hazard safely secured, and child accessible windows closed. Also make sure you give instructions on how to use safety gates or childproof cupboard locks and other general safety information.
Ensure that everything they may need is at home. Keep a list of emergency contact numbers on the fridge or somewhere easy to read. Include your own number, a close friend, neighbour or family member’s number and a local doctor’s contact details in the event of an emergency.
Be careful to make sure that the babysitter is completely aware of any allergies, illnesses or dietary requirements that your children may have, as well as any medication which needs to be administered. Although this may seem totally straightforward, it can be easy to forget some things if you’ve grown accustomed to doing them daily.
Give your babysitter a general rundown of simple household instructions.
This includes the most basic instructions such as where light switches are, where the bathroom is, Internet/Wi-Fi details, heating/air-conditioning instructions and so forth.
If you will be away during mealtime, make sure that food and drink is ready for your children, with instructions regarding serving, portions and so on (the babysitter would also probably appreciate a snack of their own, especially if they’ll be there for a few hours!) Similarly, make sure that anything else such as games and toys are readily available.
If your children have homework to do, make sure your babysitter knows that they’re meant to be working – they could even help out!
If you place a limit on permitted time spent in front of the TV or on the Internet let them know.
Ensure that they’re also aware of bed time requirements, including where toiletries are, turning on night lights and if they need to help their children in preparing for sleep.
Babysitting can make life a lot easier for young parents. While it can be nerve wracking at first, a responsible babysitter who is informed about safety precautions and specific instructions for your child can reduce stress and allow you to enjoy time away from home.