Monday, December 27, 2010

The Parent's Guide to the Ultimate Babysitter's Checklist

With the New Year quickly approaching, some of you parents are scurrying to find a babysitter so you can go out and enjoy a night out on the town. Or, maybe you already found one!

If you're on top of your game, you lined up your New Year's Eve babysitter months ago - before they made their own plans! (I'm not going to be going out this year, FYI. I'm staying home and spending time with the kids - watching the ball drop and everyone partying not too many hours from here, in the big NYC. Maybe next year, we'll get brave and head out there!)

Peace of Mind

We all know, as parents, that when we leave our children with a babysitter, we would love to know, deep down in our hearts, that they are in good hands. When it comes all the way down to it, we want to know that everything is going to go smoothly and we can go out and enjoy ourselves without worrying about what is happening back home.

I Was A Babysitter - Many moons ago!

Babysitting is the "job" that I did for many years, starting at the age of 12, to make money. I loved it! The parents who left me with a list of resources and "rules" helped me feel more in charge. I felt like I understood the "ropes" and was able to handle issues that came up by referring to the pre-made list that the parent left me. You'll want to leave a quick guideline explaining the food, meals and snacks that the kids can eat, how-to's for electronics, allergies, television rules, bedtime routines, and everything else!

Here is a fairly comprehensive list to think about (for anytime of the year) when creating your babysitter checklist:

The Checklist

At the top of the list would be the important phone numbers:

  • Your cell phone number
  • Any other emergency numbers
  • Poison Control 1-800-222-1222
  • A neighbor or relative's phone number (in case you are unreachable - you never know when your cell phone won't get service)
  • Write down your address at the top of the list, too. This is just in case of an emergency - your babysitter will be able to relay the address quickly, if need be.
 The Rules

1) Outdoor play and friends: can the children have friends over? Are they allowed to play in a neighbor's yard? Where? When do they have to come in? Is the babysitter allowed to have friends over? How many? Who?

2) Phone, Television, Games, and Computer - should the babysitter answer the phone? What are your rules for the television, games, and computer for both the children and the babysitter? How long can they use them? What channels/Internet sites are acceptable? What are the rules for the phone?

3) Meals and snacks - what can the children/babysitter eat? What should they not eat? Are there any allergies? How much can they eat? Where are they supposed to eat?

3) Appliances and technology - leave instructions that explain how to use appliances and technology, such as the DVD players, the stove, microwave and alarm system. Is it okay to adjust the temperature in the house? How?

4) Discipline - how do you want the babysitter to discipline your children when they misbehave?

5) Is there a first aid kit and a flashlight? Where? (sunscreen and bug spray during the summer)

6) Which rooms in the house are off-limits to the children/babysitter?

7) Medications - are the children on any meds? When do they need to be given? Are there any side effects that the babysitter should look out for?

8) Pool rules (If you have a pool, it won't be an issue in most places on New Year's Eve, but during the summer...) - make sure you let the babysitter know the rules of the pool and whether or not you are comfortable with them letting the kids get in while you are gone. Are friends allowed? (I would suggest the pool be off limits, but that's just my opinion).

9) Pets - If you have pets, let your babysitter know whether or not they can be let inside (or outside) and make sure they are fed and watered before you leave.

10) Bedtime - when should the kids start their bedtime routine? What is their bedtime routine? (Brush teeth, baths, medications) Do they need assistance with getting ready for bed? Do they have a blankie, pillow or teddy bear that they bring to bed for security? Where do they sleep? Is it okay to sleep somewhere else? Is the babysitter allowed to go to sleep (if you are going to be out late)?

I recommend taping this list to the fridge or the inside of a cabinet for easy reference and if you type it up and save it on your computer, you can always update it easily as needed.

If you have any other ideas or if I've managed to leave anything off of this oh-so-very-important list, please feel free to leave a comment!

Have a safe night out!


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    Have a fabulous 2011!


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