All good parents know that hiring a babysitter can be a difficult and scary endeavor. Trusting your precious children with a stranger can be nerve racking. However, having a trusted baby sitter can be a life saver. Beside allowing the parents a date night once in a while or to attend any social functions, having a babysitter to call if an emergency arises is a great assurance.
No babysitter is a mind reader, however, and no two people parent the same way. Here are five conversations to have with your new babysitter or to revisit with your current babysitter:
- How To Contact You And Who To Contact In An Emergency
Not too long ago I left my children with a babysitter. We were in a big rush to meet some friends and kissed the kids goodbye and took off. A few miles later I realized I had never given her my phone number. Panicked, I sent her a Facebook message but knowing our house has poor reception, I was worried. I tracked down a mutual friend and was able to get her number and then text her mine. Needless to say, 5 minutes of swapping information and also emergency contact info would have been a good use of time.
- Boundaries For Your Kids
Our family has a rule that no one is to bathe our children except the parents. Imagine my surprise coming home one night to learn the babysitter had bathed the kids and put them to bed. It was our fault for not setting the boundary. Whatever your boundary is, be it what you kids can eat, watch, or do with the babysitter, make sure that rule is explicit.
- Rules About Travel
Some babysitters take kids in their car or to the park with the parents’ permission. Other parents, like me, insist their children be home with the babysitter and only permit the parents to drive the kids or walk them in the neighborhood. Reasonable babysitters might think a walk is okay but, unless they know where you stand, may do something you are not okay with. Make your rules in this regard known.
- Who Allowed In Your House That You Know
Grandma is knocking at the door and the babysitter doesn’t know if this is the regularly visiting grandma or the estranged grandma. Your babysitter should know who, if anyone, is allowed in your house to not have to be put in the awkward position to decide. Worse yet, if your babysitter makes a judgment call and allows in the wrong person, you will be very unhappy.
- Who Is Allowed In Your House That The Babysitter Knows
Does your babysitter have a sister who also babysits and knows your kids? What about a boyfriend who she can’t be without? You might allow the sister to visit but (hopefully and should) decided the boyfriend is out of the question. Make sure your babysitter knows all the rules. It is easier to air out all questions in advance than worry who your child had contact with without your consent.