I can remember the first time I left my son with a sitter. I wanted picture messages at 30-minute intervals and regular updates. I said it was to see how he was adjusting, but we all know it was all about me. Those updates made our first movie date after my son was born suck pretty bad, but it made me a lot more comfortable as a mother.
Leaving your baby for the first time is terrifying. It’s even scarier when they're being left with someone and you’re unsure if they know what they need to do. You’ll feel more comfortable if you know for sure that you and your babysitter are on the same page. Here are three things to be sure you discuss with your sitter.
As parents, we know that there are some things you just don’t want your kids to eat. For example, I learned the hard way that my son does not need to have a lemonade under any circumstances. Why? Because he gets hyper and will do cartwheels and flips across the floor. Also, I learned the hard way that he doesn’t need to eat cranberries because they go straight through him and he will be pooping for days.
It’s vital that we let our babysitters know these preferences and necessities in our children’s diets. You can alleviate some of that pressure by providing a list or preparing the meals in advance. It might save you a bunch of time or a headache later.
Let’s face it. Kids act up sometimes. If I’m completely honest with myself, I’m not too firm on discipline. As parents, we use discernment about when we do and don’t want to discipline our children. But when a babysitter is there it’s important that you have specific expectations in place.
How comfortable are you with someone else correcting your child? Or do you just let them be free and live life on the wild side? All of these things are important to discuss ahead of time, so the sitter knows what you expect when things get tough. Make sure that the child care provider you hire has the patience to deal with your child’s energy level. Kids can be a handful, and not everyone is going to be a good fit.
Imagine this: There you are, enjoying your hot date with your partner, and you get a text from your sitter that says your child is swollen red and scratching themself all over. Of course, you want a sitter that informs you of what’s going on at the house. But you also need a sitter who is mature enough and experienced enough to know what to do in these situations.
Most times things will be fine, but if they aren’t, you want a plan in place. Discuss allergies, potential risks, and home hazards with your sitter. Set a clear expectation for when you want to be contacted during an emergency.
It’s scary leaving your child with a sitter for the first time, but it’s typically worth it. We all need some time away from home. This isn’t an all-inclusive list – there are many things to discuss with your sitter, but hopefully the above provides a stable baseline for where to start the discussion of the things your sitter needs to know.
About the author:
Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez is a writer who specializes in sociology, health, and parenting. Her work has appeared in Healthline, Yes! Magazine, HuffPost, Allure, and many other publications. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter or check out her website.