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8 Things Your Babysitter Needs to Know


Leaving your kids with a babysitter can be stressful for you and your children. A great way to ensure you're both OK with the situation is to give your babysitter as much information as possible. He or she will appreciate your tips and guidance and provide your kids with a safe and fun experience. Not sure what to share with the babysitter? Here are eight things he or she should know:

1. Contact information

Does the babysitter know how to get ahold of you? Does he or she know where you will be? Share two phone numbers, such as a cell phone and the landline of the place you are going, in case of an emergency. Also provide a contact list of people to call if you can't be reached. Think of this like an emergency contact list for school, adding relatives or neighbors you trust. Include your home address and the phone numbers for your children's doctors.

2. Health info

Do your kids have any health conditions the babysitter should know about? Write out the name of the condition, its symptoms and any medications the child may need. For instance, perhaps your son has asthma. Note that this can lead to shortness of breath and wheezing. Write where his inhaler or other medicines are and when it is appropriate for him to take them. Explain how the babysitter can administer the medicines and also talk through all of this information aloud before leaving for the night. 

food allergy, peanut allergy, babysittingTell the babysitter about food allergies and what to do if a child is exposed.

3. Allergies

Are there any triggers that may cause an allergic reaction in your kids? The babysitter should be aware of any known allergies, from food to medications, airborne substances and more. Tell the person what to do if your child has a reaction, such as administer Benadryl. Share where the required medicine is, like an Epipen, and add if that prescription or over-the-counter med should go with the child wherever he or she goes. Many first-aid courses for babysitters talk about anaphylactic shock, so this is an important topic to go over before heading out.

4. Routine

Children thrive when following a schedule. It helps them eat and sleep properly, especially at a young age. If your household follows a routine, share it with your babysitter. Write down what time the child wakes up, eats breakfast, heads to school, has lunch, comes home, enjoys dinner and goes to bed. Add in any special happenings like baths every other night as necessary. This way your kids will follow their normal activities and won't have their whole day thrown off by the presence of a babysitter.

5. Location of first aid products

No matter how careful and watchful the babysitter is, there is a chance a child or the sitter may get hurt. Direct the babysitter to your first aid kit so he or she can easily grab Band-Aids, antibiotic ointment and other resources. Explain if you want the sitter to call you for a simple cut or to hold off unless there is a serious injury like a fall or large wound.

6. House rules

Older kids may take advantage of the babysitter by not following your rules. Make sure the sitter is aware of any guidelines in your home, such as one child busses the dinner dishes while the other reads aloud. Mention if it's OK for your little ones to watch TV or movies, and what shows are appropriate. Also discuss consequences for misbehavior. If you send your kids to their rooms for breaking the rules, so should the babysitter. He or she is in charge and that means taking on the parental role for the time being.

"Your kids may panic when you leave."

7. Tips for problems

It's not uncommon for young kids to panic when their parents leave. Tell the babysitter how to calm the child and how long to expect him or her to be upset. This will help both parties navigate separation anxiety. Note if a favorite toy or certain game can reduce the child's stress levels, quieting him or her and starting the night on a positive note.

8. Pay

Just like any other professional providing a service, your babysitter wants to know what he or she is getting paid. Discuss an hourly rate before you leave for the night. Consider the person's credentials, such as CPR certification and American Red Cross first aid training, when figuring out a rate. Estimate how long you'll be gone so the sitter can know what to expect in terms of time with the kids and money earned. Always be sure to pay the person before he or she leaves, or talk about other options such as weekly checks. This should be agreed upon by the parents and babysitter. 

Telling your sitter about these eight things should put your mind at ease, allowing you to have a great time while you're gone and ensuring the babysitter is comfortable and safe while watching your kids. 

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