As busy parents, there will most likely be a time when you need to leave your child in the care of someone who isn't a family member or even a close friend. Of course, we're talking about babysitters. Some of us use babysitters all the time when we're working or for the occasional date night. Other moms rarely use a sitter at all which is fine too.
Wherever you fall in the babysitting realm and your preference, there are things that everyone who leaves their child with a sitter should leave behind. It's best to prepare your babysitter with as much information as possible without being overwhelming.
Get to the Basics
While it should be obvious why your sitter is there, start with the most basic of information. Write down the names and ages of your children. Then give a small summary of what their care should look like.
This can include any possible allergies, special needs, possible medications they may need, or other behavioral problems they may experience. If the sitter is totally new, let them know how needy each child may be and some likes and dislikes.
It's 2020 and we all have mini computers at our fingertips. That doesn't mean you shouldn't leave a list of numbers or better yet, have your sitter program them into their phone.
Give your cell phone, your partner's, where you're going to be, that number, and the number of anyone else who may be with you. Be sure to also leave the number of a trusted friend, relative, or neighbor in case you don't answer any calls and your sitter needs to get in touch with somebody.
Emergency Contacts And A Little More
Emergency situations can be hectic and stressful. In the event of an emergency, help your sitter know what to do. Leave the number for your child's doctor as well as poison control because you never know. Also, leave the numbers for the local hospital and the non-emergency police line.
Write down your entire address too (zip code and apartment number) in case your sitter needs to relay it to 911 in the event of needing emergency services. Also, let your sitter know it's ok to call 911 if it's needed.
An Escape Route
I know what you're thinking, why leave an escape route? In case of a fire of course and your sitter needs to lead your kids out. Make a small map of your home with the obvious path out. Also show them you keep items like the fire extinguisher, first aid kit, flashlights, circuit breaker and water shut off valve.
Give Them A Schedule
Sure, you may not have everything scheduled out to the minute but do it for your sitter. Write down a schedule and the general time things should be done. You can be vague, ie. 2:00-3:00 pm is playtime. If the sitter will be doing bedtime, definitely include that routine with as much detail as possible.
If your kids are in school definitely include if they will have homework and where they should do it. You should also include when your child may need a snack or a meal, which brings us to our next point.
Provide a Food List
No one likes a grumpy hungry child. It's a recipe for disaster. If you're not already providing food for your kids and sitter, leave a basic list of food everyone likes and what they will eat. It's equally important to leave the list of unlikes and give easy meal ideas that will be a hit.
Give Them the Rules
The sitter definitely needs to know the house rules. Is your child allowed screen time? If so, how much and what can they watch? Can they use their tablet? Don't leave this information to be retold by your kids. Let your sitter know any screen limitations and the type of programming allowed.
Also let the sitter know how to deal with punishments, timeouts, and discipline. Any good sitter will respect all of these list items and will appreciate all of the information.
We know that these lists are detailed and can seem somewhat convoluted, but if whether you have a regular sitter or someone new dropping in, all of this info could be the difference between a good or bad experience.
To make this all easy on yourself, buy a small 1/2" binder and write or type up your lists. Place the paper in page protectors and into the notebook they go. Easy and always done. They'll be easy to update as needed too!