Babysitters are an important part of raising children and keeping your family healthy and safe. We know how stressful it can be to leave your kids with someone you don’t know well, but follow these tips and you’ll reduce your stress (and hopefully theirs!) while making sure everyone stays safe!
Set the expectations:
Of course, there are so many things that you need to do, such as going to a dentist, or to a skin specialist to get your photofacial done or to the gym or anything, thus leaving your kids behind with a babysitter! So you need to lay out clear guidelines for your babysitter, and make sure they understand what you expect of them. You can do this by creating a list of rules that covers the following:
- How much time they’re allowed to spend with your children (for example, no more than two hours per day)
- What activities are off limits (no taking kids outside without permission)
- What personal information should be kept private (what age your child was when he/she learned how to read or how much money you make).
Set up a monitoring system:
- Create a monitoring system. To the extent possible, set up your babysitter’s home with the same security measures that you have in place at your own. This includes installing a security system and teaching them how to use it. If you have an alarm system in place for when someone comes into your home unannounced, make sure that it can be activated from outside as well.
- Establish rules about who has access to what areas of their house and what times they should be there–for example, “My kids are not allowed upstairs after 8 p.m.”
Give the babysitter access to your child’s medical history or emergency contacts:
It’s important to be as open and honest with your babysitter as possible. This can help them understand what to expect if they’re caring for your child, which can make things go much more smoothly when it comes time for them to arrive at your home. If there are any special circumstances surrounding your child’s health or well-being, it’s best if you give the sitter access to their medical history, what medicines they use or if any multivitamins they take and also give emergency contacts so that they know how best to handle any situation that may arise during their stay with you and your family.
Have a password-protected phone app to check in on your kids at any time:
If you’re not sure if your babysitter is trustworthy, there are a few things you can do to keep an eye on them. One of the most important things is to have a password-protected phone app that allows you to check in on your kids at any time, from anywhere. This way, if something seems amiss or wrong with the sitter’s behavior, then you can alert authorities immediately by calling 911 from your phone. If possible, try not to let the sitter know about this feature until after they’ve been hired–this will ensure that they don’t feel like they’re being watched constantly by parents who might be too paranoid about their child’s safety (and thus make them feel uncomfortable).
Meet your babysitter in person before leaving your kids with them:
It’s important to meet your babysitter in person before leaving your children with them for the first time. This will help ensure that you feel comfortable with this person, and it allows you to ask questions about their background, experience and training.
- Ask if they have CPR certification and/or first aid training.
- Ask what kind of activities they like doing with kids (this can be helpful when planning outings).
- Find out how old their own children are, if applicable; this information may help you determine whether or not the sitter is appropriate for your family’s needs and interests.
Keep a list of emergency numbers close by:
It’s a good idea to keep a list of emergency numbers close by. You can hang it on the fridge or in another convenient location, so that you and your babysitter both know where to find them. For example, if there’s ever an issue with one of your children, or if your child has an allergic reaction to food or medication (like peanuts), call 911 immediately. Other important numbers include:
- Your pediatrician’s office (or any other medical professionals who work with kids).
- The poison control center, which will help determine whether or not something is toxic enough that you need immediate medical attention.
Meet the babysitter’s parent(s):
When you first meet the babysitter and their parents, it’s important to get a feel for what kind of family they are. You can ask them questions about their home life and how they spend time together. If you have any concerns about the babysitter’s behavior or attitude, this is the time to voice them.
Ask about the babysitter’s experience and training:
The first thing you need to do is ask about the babysitter’s experience and training. If a prospective sitter has been around for a while, she’ll be more likely to have a good sense of what works best for your child. For example, if you know that your child likes reading books before bedtime, but not TV shows or video games–then make sure that when you leave her with the sitter she gets plenty of time on her own with a book in hand!
Ask if they’ve ever been fingerprinted or screened for child abuse history:
If you’re a parent, you probably want to know that your babysitter is trustworthy and safe. The first step in making sure of this is asking them whether they have been fingerprinted, as well as whether they have ever been convicted of an offense involving children or the elderly (including sexual exploitation). A criminal background check will also reveal any past convictions related to violence against people or animals, drug-related offenses–even simple traffic violations like speeding tickets could give your insight into how well your sitter obeys laws in general.
Check references, including previous employers and other parents:
When you are interviewing potential babysitters, check references. This includes previous employers and other parents who may have used the babysitter’s services before. It is also a good idea to ask them how much they charge and whether they provide any other services like cleaning or laundry. If possible, ask someone who has used their services before if they would recommend them as a sitter for your child.
Set boundaries and limits:
It’s important for you to set boundaries and limits with your babysitter. It’s also important for them to know what they’re allowed to do, so that there are no misunderstandings about how much freedom they have when it comes time for them to take care of your kids. Set clear rules about things like:
- When the kids can play video games or watch TV (and how long)
- What kinds of activities are allowed in the house (e.g., no running around without shoes, or no nail biting!)
Make sure your child feels comfortable with the sitter:
The important step in keeping your child safe and healthy with the babysitter is making sure that he or she feels comfortable. If your child isn’t comfortable in the sitter’s presence, then they’re not likely to open up or share information about their likes and dislikes.
Ask the babysitter to bring a cell phone:
Ask the babysitter to bring a cell phone. This is especially important if you think you may be out later than usual, or if your child will be home alone with the sitter for any period of time. If there are any issues with your child’s well-being, the sitter can call for help immediately and get things sorted out quickly.
Teach your child what to do if they are ever in trouble:
To help your child feel safe, it’s important to teach them what to do if they are ever in trouble or scared of anything while at the sitter’s house. For example, if you’ve been out of contact with your sitter for some reason and she doesn’t answer her phone when you call, have your child call 911 immediately. It may seem like overkill but it could save their life! Another thing that parents should do is make sure that their babysitter knows how to reach them in case something happens while they’re away from home–this way there won’t be any confusion about who needs help when an emergency arises.
Check to make sure that the babysitter lives in a safe neighborhood:
If you’re looking for a babysitter, make sure that they live in a safe neighborhood. You can ask them about their home and if it’s safe for your child to play outside. If the answer is “no,” then maybe it’s best not to hire this person as your sitter.
Create a contract for your paid help so there are no surprises:
A contract is a good idea, especially if your babysitter is new to you. It’s also a good idea if she has been with your family for a while and you have had issues in the past.
A contract should include:
- The hours that are expected of the sitter (i.e., from 5:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m., 7 days per week)
- The amount of money paid per hour or day (this should be agreed upon ahead of time)
- A list of duties that must be done by both parties during this time period, such as feeding pets, picking up mail and taking care of other chores around the house.
Babysitters are an important part of raising children and keeping your family healthy and safe. If you’re worried about safety, it’s important to take steps to ensure that your child is protected. These tips will help keep children safe when you can’t be there yourself.