So you are new to the babysitter game and you have no idea what to expect. How much do you pay? Can you trust them with your baby or babies? What will they do when the kids are asleep? And what information do you need to leave with the babysitter?
Leaving your child with a babysitter, whether they’re a family member, close friend or someone you found through networking, can be nerve-wracking. Nevertheless, this is something most parents are faced with at one time or another. Many parents know to leave the basic information – like where they’ll be, when they’ll be home, and emergency contact numbers. There is, however, some additional information your sitter should have readily available about your family as well.
Any babysitter should be made aware of any existing medical conditions your child has. Health information has to be high priority for anyone caring for your child. This should include an all-inclusive list of any medications he/she is currently taking as well as your child’s pediatrician’s name and contact information. If your babysitter needs to administer medication, they have to know the appropriate way to measure and give it to your child.
Food allergies can be life threatening. If your child has food allergies and they ingest, or in some instances simply come into contact with cross-contaminated food, they could be in danger. It is imperative that any caregiver or babysitter is informed of any food allergies your child has, and is instructed on what to do if they suspect your child has ingested food containing the allergens. Provide a list of foods your child is not allowed to eat, and a phone number in the event they inadvertently ingest some.
Of course provide them with instruction on how to use an Epi-Pen if that’s part of the treatment for the food allergies.
Trust me on this even if or when the special needs are not actually visible disabilities you need to give them some information so they understand your child. I’ve met many parents who refuse to disclose to camp counsellors, even teachers sometimes. The thing is that does nobody any good. If your child has a meltdown, or an anxiety attack, when you are not there, then how is your sitter going to have the first clue what’s going on? They won’t be able to support him or her properly. Opt to give them a bit of information so they can help.
I have been on both sides of this situation. My kids have some unique needs. When my youngest was small we tried both scenarios: full disclosure and no disclosure. Guess what worked better. Full disclosure always worked best. Sure disclosing her needs meant that counted many teenage babysitters right out of the running. But, we were able to find a wonderful university student who got my younger daughter and loved spending time with her. She is a family friend now.
If there are custody arrangements this information should be disclosed to your sitter. Any and all documentation regarding custody, living and visitation arrangements should be provided to your sitter in case they need to prove to authorities that your child legally lives with you. There are many different family dynamics in 2018/2019. You should be sure to clarify for everyone’s safety.
Close friends and other family member’s names
In the event you were unable to get home quickly, or your sitter was unable to reach you, they should have the names and phone numbers of a few different alternate contacts. These are people they can call in case they need assistance of any kind. It is also wise to inform these individuals you have given their contact information to the babysitter. This way they can be put on alert that they may be called on to help your babysitter if they’re needed.
A Few Other Important Details:
Remember to always check your babysitter’s references and qualifications.
Ask if he or she has First Aid Training or CPR training.
Remember to ask whether they have completed a babysitting course or not.
When writing out a schedule for bedtimes, snack time and what not, be sure to include this information also.
A good babysitter is not easy to find and can be even harder to keep. As the babysitter gets older they tend to get a social life, or frankly a job that pays better than babysitting. So, treat them well and keep them for as long as you can.