Leaving your little one at home with a babysitter can be a very scary and anxiety causing event. I know it took me a long time before I was comfortable leaving my children with anyone other than a friend or family member. I always felt that no one would look after my children as well and with as much care as I would.I fretted over what would happen if they needed me at bedtime, would they be inconsolable, would they feel abandoned, would the babysitter be gentle enough (in nature) to sooth my youngest in my absence? Of course, as they got older and therefore became more independent, I felt more comfortable that they could express themselves. They could make their needs known.
Once my youngest was 4, I finally felt better about leaving my brood with a sitter. For my own peace of mind, I put together a little survival kit for her. It contains everything I think is important for her to know. So though I may have discussed verbally my requirements, she had a reference to look at about routines, emergency procedures and other info I felt might make her stay and the children’s experience a better one.
I placed the following items in a small basket.
Medication if needed
I usually leave Children’s Nurofen or Calpol handy with a note to call me first before administering any so that we can talk through what the problem is. If it is something simple like a toothache, then I will say yes, but if it is a fever or vomiting, then that means an end to my evening out. This is a good thing too, if your child requires routine medication that you will be unable to administer yourself. Perhaps a couple of Plasters or antiseptic creams for injuries.
I like to give the sitter a general idea of bedtime routine. I list tooth brushing, story time, bedtime, lights out etc. Obviously I don’t expect these be adhered to strictly unless it is a school night. The reason I find this a helpful tool, is that I have 3 children and they have varied lights out times. My 4 year old has his 30 minutes before my 9 year old for example. It can be tricky for a sitter to remember this and we all know that bedtime can be overwhelming even with your own kids!
I also tell the sitter about any fears, night lights etc that my children may have so that they can prepare for it if it happens.
I direct them to what boardgames they like, video games, devices and where to find these items. I am pretty sure my children are capable of finding their own toys but it is sometimes nice for the sitter to be able to say “hey, let’s play this…”
I always include a sheet with my number, my partner’s number, where we are, my designated friend -someone local who is prepared to pop over to help if needed or if for whatever reason the sitter cannot get through to my mobile phone.
You just never know if there will be a power cut. Having these handy can save the children and the sitter a lot of stress.
“How to Use” Guide
Every home has different set of remote controls and pin codes for television. I write down the codes to enable her to watch more grown up programmes (age of babysitter dependent, although mine are always 18 or older) once the children are asleep. Instructions for the Wii, PlayStation or other gaming devices are helpful too.
I also leave instructions for the oven as I have found that some sitters like to bring a pizza or something to reheat for their meal.
Clean up kit location (in case of spillages/accidents)
I let her know where I keep paper towels, wipes and other mopping up equipment so that should there be a spillage, she can easily clean it up.
Treats and or food
Sometimes I leave a meal for my sitter- this will be pre arranged , especially if we are leaving early for an occasion and it’s likely she won’t have had her evening meal yet. The meal won’t be in the basket though! 🙂 Otherwise I may include sweets, crisps or chocolates and other snacks that she can help herself to.