You’ve done your research, interviewed babysitters and cross-checked their references. But entrusting a new sitter with your sweet baby can still be an emotional task. Preparing a detailed list of information and going over it with your sitter before you head out the door empowers your babysitter—and will help ease your jitters about handing off your babe to a stranger. Here’s the 411 on the most important info to share with your sitter.
Leaving your phone number is a given. Providing the address and phone number of the location you plan to be at is also helpful, in case your phone dies or you're away from it. You should also make sure that your home address (and cross streets) are prominently displayed on your list, in case your sitter needs them. This list is also a good place to note relatives' names and phone numbers, the number for Poison Control (800-222-1222) and your family doctor. If you have a landline, make sure the sitter knows that number in case his/her phone dies.
Health & Wellness
If your child requires daily medications, label each clearly along with a checklist of the dosages and times to give each one. In fact, preparing syringes for your babysitter guarantees that your child will receive the proper dosage. Setting alarms can help, as well, for timely administrations. Also, inform your sitter when to contact you during a medical event (such as in the case of vomiting, a minor injury or a mild fever) and when they should contact your child's physician or 911. Consider leaving your insurance information in case of emergency and also a list of your child's medical conditions.
Your Baby's Routine
Structure and routine create a sense of predictability and calmness for children, especially babies. Making sure your babysitter knows the ins and outs of your daily routine will help make a new face a little less scary. Leave a detailed schedule that includes mealtimes, naptimes, bedtimes and what the routine might look like for each: Does your infant have a preferred baby bottle? Do you sing a specific song before putting them in bed? Which direction do they face in the crib? Do they get a book and bath before bedtime?
The Lay of the Land
Your home is new territory for your babysitter, so give a quick tour before you leave. Make sure they know where all the essentials are: diapers, clothes, special toys, bottles, teethers, cleaning products and any other items they might need during their time in your home. You should also let them know where to find emergency items, like fire extinguishers, first aid kits and flashlights (in the event of a power outage). Even if you've shown your sitter these things, leave a list of where to find them should they forget once you've left. Your sitter will also appreciate tips on how to use remote controls for the family TV and any other appliances with quirky controls. If you have house rules, like no shoes in the baby's room, make them aware of these as well.
Keep It Simple
When preparing your written instructions, keep it simple. You will be handing your new sitter a wealth of information, so checklists, numbered or bulleted lists and short, clear sentences will make the information easier to read and follow. Not sure how to organize your info? There are some great templates you can use to organize your notes for the sitter, like these or these.
—Meghan Yudes Meyers
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