Thursday, November 15

babysitters...A to Z

Quality time away from the kids is essential for every relationship, but it can be very difficult to feel comfortable leaving your children with a sitter. Here are some helpful tips from OC Family for creating a positive babysitter experience:

1. Make a comprehensive babysitting manual in advance. Instead of scribbling down notes at the last minute, put all the important information in one place and let the babysitter know where it is when he or she arrives. Be sure to include emergency contact information, including you doctor's name and phone number. 

2. Make copies of your children’s insurance cards, along with a release form. This is another thing to keep in the babysitting folder along with the manual. Hopefully, it will never be needed, but if there is an emergency, your babysitter has the insurance info as well as a release form that gives him/her permission to seek treatment for the children in your absence.

3. Have the babysitter arrive about a half hour before you leave the house. This is helpful on two fronts: It allows you to have a few child-free minutes to get ready for your date, and it’s also a good way to make sure that you have time to answer any of your babysitter’s questions. This is especially true with a new sitter, who might need a tour of the house and a little more time to ask questions.

4. Explain your plans for the evening to your kids well before the babysitter arrives. The last thing you want to do is ambush them with the news that they’re having a sitter just as she walks through the door. 

5. When it is time to go, leave quickly. Lingering can give the kids the idea that they might be able to convince you to stay. It's best to say quick goodbyes and scoot out so the babysitter can take over. 

6. Get your babysitter on the same page with the house rules. Kids seem to always test the rules with new adults, so make sure your babysitter is armed with knowledge of your rules so he or she doesn't allow the kids to break them. Important things to go over are your rules on sweets and screen time. 

7. Keep bedtime consistent. Again, kids will always push the boundaries with someone new, so be sure to tell your babysitter when bedtime is and that it is a non-negotiable. 

8. Leave the guilt at home. Regular date nights are important for a relationship, and they can also be beneficial to children. It is nice for kids to see you making your relationship and your time a priority. Kids need to know that the world does not revolve around them, and that you have a life full of your own interests and passions. But more than that, it’s important for you to get away and let your brain be free from the constant multitasking that is motherhood – at least for a few hours.

Contributed by Alyssa, Fairmont Private Schools 

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