It's always best to be cautious when it comes to babysitters, whether you're hiring someone new or enlisting the help of a seasoned sitter. Make sure your babysitter is prepared to take care of your children and armed for emergency situations by sharing the right information.
What babysitting instructions should I leave?
- Medical information about the children: Write down your child's medicine routine and where it’s stored, food or medication allergies and other health issues with instructions on how to deal with them.
- Evening schedule for the kids: Children, especially younger ones, tend to be less fussy if babysitters follow the family's usual routine. Let the babysitter know approximate mealtimes, bedtimes and any other particulars about your child's schedule.
- Any homework or chores that need done: Whether it’s homework, sports or practicing an instrument, let your sitter know the expectations.
- Snacks for the kids: Is it OK to eat ice cream right before bed? Make sure the sitter knows what an appropriate snack is and what time your children can eat them.
- Games, hobbies or crafts: Let the sitter know what your children like to do in their spare time.
- Screen time, computer and TV: Make sure you let the sitter know rules around technology and how much screen time the children are allowed.
- Photos of the children: With social media being part of most teens lives, let them know how you feel about pictures of your children being posted online.
- Swimming pools: If you have a pool, let your sitter know if it’s ok for them to use them while you are out. And make sure your sitter knows how to keep kids safe in and around pools and can recognize the signs of drowning.
- Playground equipment and trampolines rules: Inform the sitter if the children are allowed to play on the playground equipment or use the trampoline while under their watch.
- Never leave a child alone with a dog, including the family pet: Accidents can happen quickly and children can be bitten or injured when they are left alone with a dog. Supervising children around animals is an important step to reducing the risk of a dog bite.
What should I tell a babysitter about my house?
- Address and landline number (if you have one): Operators will ask for this information if the sitter ever needs to contact emergency services. Along with the exact address, include the nearest cross streets or landmarks.
- Safety: Show the sitter where you keep the first-aid kit, fire extinguisher and flashlights. Also point out exits that could serve as emergency escape routes.
- Important numbers: Make sure the sitter or nanny knows where the important phone numbers are kept.
- Safe rooms: If you have a safe room for weather incidents, make sure the sitter is aware of its location.
- Meeting place: In case of a fire, make sure your sitter knows the fire safety plan and the meeting place you taught your children.
What should be in my babysitter's emergency contact sheet?
- Your location and schedule: Write down the names and phone numbers of the place(s) you will be throughout the time you’re away.
- Contact information: Give the sitter your cell number and keep your phone on. Also leave the name and number of a relative or close friend as backup.
- Emergency numbers: Provide numbers for the fire and police departments, poison control center, the local hospital and your family doctor.
- Expected calls or visitors: Let the sitter know if you're expecting someone. Otherwise, ask them not to answer the door or phone while you're away.
- House rules: Make sure the babysitter knows what's off-limits, including technology, food, drinks and television shows.