How To Prepare Your Home For A Babysitter:
Aaron and I got lucky with our little baby. She is super easy and for the most part, well behaved. As a result, we’ve gotten in the habit of taking her with us everywhere instead of getting a babysitter.
Now that she is a year old, it is getting a bit harder to drag her everywhere and I’ve begun the search for a couple of regular babysitters for the random weekend activities.
Finding a good babysitter takes a lot of work and when you find them, they are like gold.
To find a good babysitter I tend to follow the following steps:
- Ask other parents for recommendations
- Word of mouth is a powerful tool and other mothers typically know the best babysitters in your area.
- Ask around at your local church.
- I’m LDS, so this is how I find most of my babysitters. It is very comforting to know the parents and see potential babysitters interacting with younger siblings.
- Do an online search.
- It isn’t uncommon for babysitters to list their services on Facebook and other social media sites. I’ve also seen services listed on Craig’s list but would be a bit more hesitant to utilize that site.
- One of the resources I found during my search was UrbanSitter. They provide both babysitters and nanny’s and had a review system that allows other parents to rate the quality of care they received. Their program looks really cool. I love the ability to see comments from other local parents.
- I also found out that one of my favorite online services Angie’s List offers a child care feature. I haven’t used this service, but have used their review system in the past and love it.
Once you find a good babysitter, you have to make sure you can keep them. The good babysitters are in high demand.
What I worry about is making sure I’m prepared for the babysitter.
I want to make her job as easy as possible. My goal is to have a babysitter who is spending time with my child rather than worrying about other details.
I also want to make sure that I’m a mother of choice so that the really good babysitters want to come back to my home.
Last weekend I ended up needing a babysitter last minute. Fortunately, I was able to find a wonderful babysitter who did a great job.
Although she did great, I wasn’t ready on my end to hire a babysitter.
I felt like I was a complete scatterbrained mess, who didn’t have a clue what information to give her and how to make sure she had access to everything she needed in my home.
In the future, I’d like to go through the following steps to ensure my home is ready for a babysitter.
1. Prepare a Babysitter Emergency Information sheet.
In my opinion, a Babysitter Emergency Information worksheet is critical. My worksheet fulfills two purposes:
- Contains all the relevant emergency contact information a babysitter would need.
- Who to call in an emergency (911, Police and Poison Control)
- Our address
- Location of the nearest hospital
- Our contact information
- Alternative emergency contact information
- Allergy/food restriction information
- General Information on the family.
- This page is for information on individual kids like bedtime, age and specific allergies and food restrictions.
- I also include an area for specific family rules.
I want to have all of the emergency and general information a babysitter may need in an easy to access location.
If you are interested in a copy of the babysitter emergency sheet I created for myself, please include your email in the boxes below and you’ll receive a PDF version.
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2. Set aside specific food for the babysitter or at least be able to show her were teenage friendly snacks are located.
Typically when I hire a babysitter it is because we are going to dinner. I don’t want the poor babysitter to starve and know that most people are hesitant to take food from people’s fridges even if you offer.
I don’t have a lot of frozen or premade food in my home. In the future, as I need babysitters more regularly I’m going to ask them for a couple of food ideas.
I’m hoping that if I have some easy to access food, they will be more likely to eat.
3. Speak with the parents prior to hiring their child to make sure they don’t have any restrictions on TV or other parental requirements.
I know that not everyone agrees with this point, but I personally feel that it is important to honor another parent’s rules when their child is in my home.
I always ask the parents for permission before giving the babysitter access to our Netflix account.
I remember as a young woman seeing some stuff I shouldn’t have seen at my age while babysitting. I don’t want to put anyone in that situation in my home.
4. Negotiate a rate prior to hiring a babysitter.
Negotiating a babysitting rate is a tough one for me. I remember getting paid $2 an hour to babysit 4 kids and was happy to get that much money.
Obviously, that was a long time ago and rates have changed significantly. Based on the situation, I typically pay $5-10/hour. If Ella sleeps the whole time, I tend to pay on the lower end.
I like to have a general idea of the babysitter’s expectations before hiring them. I will typically explain, how long I need a babysitter for and then give them a payment range.
5. Set clear expectations for my baby’s care
This is a very important detail to me. I don’t want a babysitter who is going to sit on the couch and play on their phone while watching TV.
I want a babysitter who is going to interact with my child.
At Ella’s age, I can’t really tell how well they are interacting, but as she gets older, kids definitely show a marked preference for certain people. It will be very easy to start weeding out babysitters at that point.
I also spent time going over my baby’s eating and sleeping schedule. I go over how to make a bottle just in case they aren’t familiar with the measuring requirement. I try and give very clear directions on when and what she should be feed.
Her sleeping schedule is a bit more problematic.
At this point, I do my best to arrange my babysitting around Ella’s sleeping schedule so that I’m around to put her to bed.
Obviously, this doesn’t always work, so it is important to have a bedtime/nap routine that can be replicated by someone else if possible.
If you are struggling with sleep training you may want to check out my post on the most important step you must follow when sleep training your baby.
6. Give the babysitter a quick tour of my home to show her were relevant stuff is located.
You don’t need to give them a complete tour of your home, but it is important to show them some key areas:
- Diaper stations
- Play areas
- Sleeping areas
- Child appropriate food
Depending on the setup of your home, you may also want to show the babysitter specific areas your child is not allowed.
As I’m showing the babysitter around the house, I go over food and sleeping preferences.
7. Have An Infant Emergency Kit
Although I would prefer a babysitter not provide medicine to my baby, I do want a baby emergency kit available just in case.
My baby medical kit includes the following:
- Baby Thermometer
- Gripe Water
- Infant Tylenol
- Children’s Advil
- Nose Frida Aspirator
- Medicine Dropper
- Diaper Rash Ointment
- Baby Vapor Rub
More than anything it is good to have the medical stuff in one spot that is easily located.
Your Child’s Safety Is Dependent On Your Babysitter
A dependable trustworthy babysitter is invaluable. My job as a parent is to ensure that my home is babysitter ready.
My goal is to make my home a fun and yet safe place to babysit. I want to make sure that any of the kids that come into my home feel completely comfortable.
I also want to make sure that the good babysitters want to come back and that I’m a priority to them.
Most of my clothing budget came from babysitting while I was in high school. There were certain families that I dreaded babysitting for. Either their kids were slightly crazy or I didn’t feel comfortable in the home.
I would gradually phase those families out and prioritize the families who made an effort to make my job easier.
Anything that makes the babysitter’s job easier help make my child safer and ultimately happier.
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