7 Things To Put In Writing For The Babysitter
The less your sitter has to remember, the better able she’ll be to keep your kids safe and happy
It’s date night and you’ve found the perfect sitter. Her references rave about her, she aced her babysitter training class and she truly does love kids. She’s ready for you,— but are you ready for her?
Even the most responsible and experienced sitter needs specific guidance from parents if she’s going to do her job well and give you the peace of mind you’ll need to enjoy yourself while you’re out on the town.
Here are seven important things to put in writing so that your sitter can reference them easily. It’s also a good idea to have the sitter show up 30 to 45 minutes early so you can go over the list and take her for a tour of the house, according to SafeSitter.org, a national nonprofit training program for teens. (Pay her for the time!)
1. Emergency contact list. It should include:
- Your cell phone number
- Your spouse’s cell phone number
- Names and numbers of at least two family members or friends who live close by
- Your pediatrician’s number and address
- The name and number of the nearest hospital
- The drugstore that you usually use
- The poison control phone number
2. Your evening plans. Write down where you’ll be and how best to reach you at all times, advises kidshealth.org. Include phone numbers when possible: You never know when your cell phone will power out or be lost or left in the car.
3. Your home address. In an emergency, your sitter may need to tell someone over the phone exactly where she and the kids are. Include cross streets and any other details that will make it easier for someone to get there ASAP.
4. Instructions about medications and allergies. If your child is on medication and will need a dose while you’re out, write down how much, when and other details (with food or on any empty stomach, for example). List any allergies your kid may have and how to know if she’s having an allergic reaction. If you keep an EpiPen in the house, show the sitter how to use it, advises the nonprofit group Food Allergy Research & Education.
5. Your fire escape plan. You should also point out the best ways to get out of the house. Show the sitter where you keep fire extinguishers, flashlights and first aid supplies.
6. House details. Maybe there’s a trick to locking the front door or a toilet with a tendency to overflow or a weird smell when the heating system kicks in. Provide your sitter with a guide to quirks in your home that she may have to deal with.
7. Technology rules. Leave clear instructions about TV stations, movie ratings or computer sites that are off-limits. The same goes for restrictions on the amount of time your kid can spend in front of a screen. Make sure your child knows that you’ve given the sitter this information.