What Does a Babysitter Need to Know?

By Willow Breckenridge | Nov 22, 2021

For those who have kids, hiring a babysitter is a common occurrence. Whether parents need a date night, have errands to run or are stuck at work, they count on babysitters to care for their children occasionally. 

When parents are new to hiring someone to watch their children or are looking for a new care provider, there are a few things that all parents should go over with the babysitter. This ensures the safety and proper care of each child. But what does a babysitter need to know? 

There are quite a few pieces of information that a babysitter should know before caring for a child, and the more information and tips provided, the better. What counts the most is what the sitter learns from the parents. Providing this guidance gives parents, children and the sitter peace of mind.

1. Contact Information

The most critical information a sitter can know is the contact information of the parents. All parents should leave their contact information, like a cell phone number and other emergency contacts, such as a grandparent, neighbor or other trusted adult. 

For extra caution, parents can leave the number of the place they’re going, whether it be a restaurant, movie theater or place of work. Additionally, the number and address of the nearest hospital are other good contacts to provide. 

2. Soothing Methods

Different children have different preferred soothing methods. Little ones, especially infants and toddlers, cannot communicate through words, so when they need something, they cry. Usually, sitters have techniques to soothe a crying baby, but if there’s something specific for a child, the sitter should be aware of it. 

Parents should let their babysitters know tips and tricks that can calm their children. It might be a blanket, toy or music that lulls them right to sleep.

3. The Child’s Routine

Kids often do best when they have a routine. Parents usually have a specific routine for their children throughout the day. Little kids love knowing what they can expect after dinner or early in the morning. 

Writing down each of the details of a daily routine can help a babysitter immensely. The child can have something familiar to fall back on whenever their parents aren’t home. 

4. Allergies and Food Restrictions

Babysitters should know of any allergies or food restrictions for the children they’re watching. Sometimes, parents require that the sitter provides a meal or snacks while they’re away. This is a typical occurrence, and parents need to be specific about what foods their child can eat or any allergies. 

Additionally, it’s helpful to provide food rules, too. This includes what to feed and when to feed, as well as specifics, like if a particular child likes the crust off of their sandwich. 

5. Locations of Everything the Child Needs

Another thing babysitters should know is the location of everything the child needs. Parents can make this easier by keeping some essentials in one place, like a drawer or in the child’s bedroom. These may include diapers, emergency money, an EPI pen, extra clothes or a first aid kit.

Parents can also provide a detailed tour of the home. One way to do this is by asking the sitter to come a half-hour early to walk through the house and make notes of locations. This will help the babysitter find everything they need while caring for the child.

6. House Rules

Before leaving the child with the sitter, parents should go over basic house rules. Whatever rules they regularly implement for their children, they should relay to the babysitter to ensure they behave. 

House rules may include things such as: 

  • What happens when a child breaks a rule or misbehaves
  • What television shows, movies, and other videos the children watch
  • What time do the kids need to go to bed
  • Where the sitter can take the kids — to the park, pool, for a walk, etc.
  • Which rooms in the house are off-limits

Parents should mention any other specific house rules to the sitter before the parents leave.

7. Family Safety Plan

If anything were to happen in the home while the parents are away, the babysitter needs to know the family safety plan. Where are the fire extinguishers? What is the exit route? Is there an emergency escape ladder? Where’s the first aid kit?

Parents should answer all of these questions for the babysitter to ensure the kids are safe if an emergency occurs. The safety plan could include emergency phone numbers, too, for poison control and police.

8. Pay

Finally, parents should discuss the pay rate for the babysitter. This is a professional service, and the babysitter needs to know what they are getting paid, so it’s important to discuss an hourly rate and a rate per child.

When parents decide on a rate for the sitter, they should consider the sitter’s credentials, like if they have CPR certification and any other first aid training. Additionally, parents should pay the sitter before they leave unless a payment schedule is discussed.  

Leave This Info for the Best Care

Providing a babysitter with as much information as possible when they’re left to take care of children is the best thing a parent can do. It will keep the home, children and sitter safe when they know how to navigate the house and care for the children.

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