The Holidays are an exciting and busy time and can also be a time when families turn to babysitters for assistance with childcare. Planning and preparing your child and your babysitter for their visit can help alleviate stress for families. Consider this your complete checklist of things to consider when using a babysitter.
First thing’s first
Before picking your perfect babysitter, it is a good idea to get to know them before their visit. Meeting with your babysitter beforehand can help parents, kids and the babysitter feel more comfortable. Here are a few things you can do before to make sure everyone is ready when the babysitter arrives:
- Meet with your babysitter in advance. Show the sitter around your house, pointing out fire escape routes and potential areas that may cause problems. Review the use of alarm systems, stair gates, etc. This is also a great time to let your child meet your sitter.
- Confirm that your babysitter has first aid and CPR training.
- Have questions ready for your babysitter so that you can gauge if the sitter will be a good fit for your family’s needs.
- Ask for references from other families who have used the same sitter.
Bonus tip: Consider hiring your babysitter for a test run while you are at home. This is a great way to allow you, your child and the babysitter to get to know each other – and can give you a few hours to get some things done around the house!
Always leave a list of important information with your babysitter. This information should be easily accessible to your babysitter. Consider posting a list of important numbers and addresses on your refrigerator or texting the list to your babysitter in advance of their visit.
Always leave the following information with a babysitter:
- Parents’ phone numbers
- Neighbors or grandparents’ phone numbers
- Pediatrician’s name and phone number
- Poison center
- Home phone
- Home address
All about allergies
Review your child’s allergies and leave an easily accessible list with the babysitter. This is especially important if your babysitter will be ordering or preparing food for your child. If your child takes any medications, uses an inhaler or uses an Epi-pen, make sure the babysitter is aware and trained on administering.
Keep the routine
Review your child’s typical routines, including feeding, bathing and sleeping. Sticking to your child’s normal routine can help your child feel more comfortable, even when you are away.
Be aware of behaviors
If your child deals with any behavioral issues, make sure to let your babysitter know. Knowing your child’s possible triggers and how to handle outbursts will help your babysitter provide better care for your child.
Make your expectations very clear to your sitter. This will help your sitter know what is and what isn’t okay in your household.
Provide clear information about where you will be and when you will return. This will allow your sitter to plan accordingly and know when and where they can reach you, if needed.
A few safety rules to discuss might include:
- Do not give any medications without specific instructions.
- Do not leave children unattended near water, even for a minute.
- Review safe sleep for children under 12 months old.
- Avoid foods that can cause children to choke – examples include grapes, hot dogs, nuts and popcorn. Review what options are available for meals and snacks while you are gone.
- If you do not want your sitter to leave the home with your child, make sure to let them know.
- Avoid playing near stairs, stoves, electrical outlets, etc.
- If firearms are present in the home, make sure they are unloaded and stored in a safe. Store ammunition in a separate, secure location.
Things to consider during COVID-19
During current times, it is important to discuss any concerns regarding COVID-19 when hiring a babysitter. To help prevent the spread of coronavirus, you should keep your family at home as much as possible and avoid close contact with those outside of your primary household. However, there are instances when the need for a babysitter is unavoidable, such as if daycare centers have reduced hours during the holidays.
To protect your family against COVID-19:
- Talk about COVID-19 with your babysitter and any concerns you may have.
- Ask if your sitter has been exposed to COVID-19 or if they have had a test.
- Ask your sitter to wear a mask while he or she is in your home.
- Ask your sitter to practice frequent hand hygiene, including when they first step into your home.