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How To Keep A Good Babysitter

Getting a good babysitter can be hard work, and getting one that will stay is harder still.

There is nothing worse than going to somebody’s house to look after their kids, the parents have rushed out the door, the kids are running riot, you have no idea where anything is and with in about five minutes the entire house looks more like a small bomb has gone off inside it.

Keeping a good babysitter happy is really important and so here are some things that have really helped me when I have been babysitting.

"The worst babysitting job I ever did ended up with a broken bed, marbles everywhere , an escaped hamster and a broken video player, all because the parents told the kids they could do whatever they wanted. Just because the parents are having a night off, doesn't mean you should let your kids run riot".

Clear rules up front for babysitter and child

Sit down with the babysitter and your child and explain exactly what is and is not acceptable. This may include house rules (pictures really help if you have a young child).

Explain the discipline techniques you use, for example if the child plays up, do they get banned from TV, or should your babysitter use warnings and time outs?

By giving the rules in this way, you are letting the babysitter know exactly what is acceptable and it stops the “mummy normally lets me do it” story rearing its head later in the night.

Write everything down for your babysitter

Being in someone else’s house can be quite daunting especially when you are trying to take in where everything is, how much of everything the child is allowed, what can/cant be done. Put short, it is a lot to take in.

So write down all the important things, for example:

  • How much medicine should your child have and when (and where the medicine is)
  • Where the first aid kit is
  • Emergency contact numbers
  • Allergies your child might have
  • What time you will be back (and stick to it – there is nothing worse then coming home five hours later than planed to an upset babysitter that couldn’t get hold of you).

Although it is not likely that these things will always be needed, it is important to realise these things (you know how horrible it is when your child has cut their hand and needs comforting, the last thing you want to be doing is searching high and low for a plaster).

"Babysitting is great because the kids have someone new and fun to play with"

Leave emergency numbers for your babysitter

Obviously leave your mobile number and the place you are going so you can be contacted if something happens. But what if your battery dies, or you don’t have signal? Who else can your baby sitter contact? A neighbour, a family friend?

Also be specific about when your babysitter should call you. Do you want to know about every whimper? Or just when there is blood?

Prepare your child

Explain to your child exactly what is going to happen that evening so that when the babysitter comes, your child knows exactly what is going on and you can just give them a kiss and a cuddle and leave.

If your child gets upset, don’t hang around. It will just upset your child more and give your babysitter more problems. Check out child separation anxiety for more information on helping your toddler to overcome their anxiety when you leave.

Avoid stressing out your babysitter (especially if they haven’t been with you long)

I have been babysitting before and was left with two kids to look after, I then acquired another one of her friends children to look after as their babysitter had cancelled and to top of three kids running riot, she left me a pile of ironing to do. Safe to say that was the last time I babysat for her.

Your babysitter is there to help you, so unless you agree it before hand, don’t spring any surprises on them with extra chores that you don’t want to do (leave them for when the kids grand parents are there).

Treat your sitter with respect and you can look forward to many nights off, treat them mean and you will soon struggle to find any babysitter willing to come near your house.

Plan ahead

If you have asked your babysitter to feed your child while you are away make sure they have everything they need. If your baby sitter is not too confident in the kitchen, leave some ready meals or money to order in a pizza. Don’t expect your babysitter to do to much and remember they are there to help you out, not do everything for you.

Treat your babysitter with respect and put their mind at ease

Especially if you have a younger babysitter, chances are, they will feel to awkward to say no to whatever you ask them. To be fair to them, they will do what ever you ask them, but if you ask too much, you won’t be seeing them again.