When I was a teenager, it seemed like every Friday night I was babysitting, and I often squeezed in one night during the week as well. Honestly though, I loved it! There is something special about bonding with kids who looked up to me; I was their role model and special treat. I let them stay up 5 minutes late or read one extra book. I brought along a special “toy box” of trinkets to reward their good behavior. I would play imaginative games and elaborate scavenger hunts. Oh, the sweet memories I have!

But, aside from the fun and games (literally), I had great relationships with the parents as well. From my experience with multiple families, there are a few things you can do as a parent to help prep for you babysitter.

Kids Schedule

Every family runs their home a bit differently: some go to bed early and others late, some read books before bed and others watch a television show, some eat dinner early and others late. Write out a rough timeline for your child’s day. Include meal times, nap/bed times, activities, and specific details. For example:

6:00 – Dinner. There is a pizza in the freezer and carrots in the fridge, and they drink a glass of milk with dinner. They may have one piece of candy after they eat.

6:30-7:30 – They can play outside (or inside if they choose).

7:30-8:00 – They can play inside. They may watch television but nut play video games.

8:00 – Begin getting ready for bed. Brush teeth, put on pajamas, and clean up bedroom. Allison needs to take allergy medicine before bed (on bathroom counter, 2 tsp).

8:15 – Read 2 books together and tuck kids in by 8:30. Make sure each child has their special blanket before going to bed.

Food

Have the meals planned in advance. This could be a pizza that will be delivered or a box of mac and cheese on the counter or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (I know, shock horror to the healthy eaters but I didn’t know better back then). Show your sitter the dishes, silverware, cups, and snacks. Make note of any food allergies or intolerances your children may have. Show your sitter what she may or may not eat (“that casserole is for a potluck tomorrow, don’t eat it!”). Although this sounds like an exaggerated detail, it was always helpful for me to know what the kids could eat. Bonus when one mom always pre-made their lunches and left them in the fridge for me!

Emergency information

Always write down emergency information and place it on the refrigerator! In case you didn’t catch that, always write down emergency information! If there is a crisis, you want your babysitter to be prepared so that your child will be safe. Include a local emergency number (such as 911 in the USA), poison control hotline, the pediatrician’s name and phone number, as well as a neighbor or family member’s name and phone number.

Other details

Either verbally tell or make a note of where you will be going (name of the restaurant, location of the event, etc.), your cell phone number (and your spouse’s as well), plus what time you expect to arrive home. These details are often overlooked yet helpful for the babysitter to be aware of. (Especially what time you think you’ll be home, so she can clean up before then!)

Here’s a checklist for you to have as a reminder on how to prep for your babysitter!

Kids Schedule:

  • mealtimes
  • nap or bed times
  • activities
  • special toys

Food:

  • specific meals
  • drinks
  • dishes/silverware
  • allergies/intolerances
  • special treats/desserts

Emergency Details:

  • crisis #
  • poison control
  • pediatrician
  • emergency contact (family member, neighbor)

Other:

  • your location
  • mobile phone # (you and your spouse)
  • estimated time of arrival

Jana

Jana is the odd one out. Not a parent herself, she writes from the perspective of a young baby sitter. Experienced in making bedtime fun, she brings a unique perspective to parenting. She hopes that all she learns now will make the magic of being a parent just that extra bit special. She has no fixed address and is vagabonding around the globe, widening her world view.

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