Most, if not all parents eventually have to leave their babies to resume work, run errands, attend an event, or even go out on dates. Before they leave, they need to identify a responsible adult who can remain with their children for the period they will be away. Having such an individual should give them peace knowing that their children are safe while they are away.
A good baby sitter should keep kids comfortable and safe. She should take her job seriously and keep an eye on the child or children at all times. Depending on her job description and the length of the period she will be watching the kids, she should entertain, feed, bathe, clothe, and put the kids to bed on time, as per the parents' requests. The sitter should also be able to handle any issues or emergencies that may arise before the parents get back home.
Parents play a critical role in ensuring that the sitters have everything they need to do their job since this can make life easy or difficult for the sitter. They must also have clear rules and guidelines on how to handle each task, including what some people consider obvious. In providing everything, the sitter is able to ensure that the children will remain comfortable.
For the sake of parents, here's a list of some things they need to avoid or stop doing before they leave their child with a babysitter.
20 Forgetting To Communicate
Parents can have a hard time leaving their baby with a babysitter especially if it is their first time doing so. They may be worried about how the baby will cope in their absence that they forget to make things a little easier for the sitter by giving her exact instructions.
Parents need to stop forgetting to give guidelines and assuming the babysitter will know what and how they want things done. This is important to avoid disappointments and resentment, according to Verywell family. Parents should also stop assuming the babysitter is always available and communicate in advance any changes in their normal schedules. Communication should always be clear from the very beginning.
19 Not Having A Trial Run
Most children do not like staying behind with strangers. Therefore, parents should stop the habit of hiring a babysitter and leaving them with their children as soon as they get to their home. For sure, children above six month’s experience stranger anxiety when left in the company of people they do not know.
According to Lemon lime adventures, the best way to do it is to have a trial run. A day before you plan to leave, parents need to call the sitter and spend the day with her and the baby. The sitter will babysit the kid while learning the family routine and the child’s personality. That way the parents are able to gauge if the sitter is a right fit for the family. The baby will also be okay when left with a familiar face.
18 Micro Managing
Parents will often find it hard to leave their babies with other people much less a stranger. This is because they are the ones who know their baby the best and want to make all the decisions for them no matter how small. However, parents should stop micromanaging their baby’s sitter when they leave them with the child.
When parents hire a sitter, they already know she is qualified, so there is no need to control every situation however small. Second-guessing every decision the sitter makes can cause a strain on the relationship with her. According to Verywell family, giving sitters some level of freedom to do things their way earns their trust and respect. Nonetheless, it is also important to let the sitter know what particular way they like some things done.
17 Getting Emotional
Leaving your baby in the hands of someone else can be nerve-racking and hard, so parents should stop getting emotional when they have to leave because this only makes things worse. Parents can get emotional because they usually think that no one can take care of their babies the way that they do, so they feel guilty for leaving their children.
When parents get emotional as they leave, the baby automatically gets the message that mom and dad are not okay with leaving them with this person. They can start crying or get fussy as claimed by Parents. Parents should be cheerful when leaving even when they are not, as this reassures the baby that everything is fine.
16 Not Leaving Contact Information
Parents should stop leaving their baby sitter without any contact information. Some parents will only mention where they are going which is not ideal in case of an emergency. Fatherly insists that it is important for parents to make sure the sitter has their cellphone numbers saved on her phone, memorized, or written down somewhere.
As an extra precaution, parents should also leave contacts of the place they will be and a phone number of someone close by, just in case the sitter cannot get a hold of them. A list of emergency phone numbers like the police station, fire stations, pediatrician, and the nearest hospital should also be very easy to access.
15 Sneaking Out Or Having Long Goodbyes
It is difficult to leave your baby in the hands of someone else; however, parents should not sneak out on them or have long goodbyes, this only makes things worse. Parents should always say goodbye. As stated by Zero to Three, sneaking away sends a message to the baby that you are doing something wrong by leaving which only increases their anxiety. Goodbyes show them that they do not have to worry when it happens again.
However, when parents say goodbye they should keep it short. It is usually unfair to the sitter and child when parents linger and keep returning to say goodbye. If the baby starts crying, the parent should just leave because trying to soothe him or her before leaving only prolongs the cry. They will eventually stop crying once they are gone.
14 Not Leaving A To-Do List
It is hard for babysitters to remember every instruction they get within the five minutes before the parents leave. Parents should stop rambling the things the sitter needs to do and instead make a to-do list. Babysitters appreciate written documentation and find it more effective especially when it is detailed.
The to-do list should entail things like what the baby should eat when to give the baby a bath, and other chores to be done. According to Parents, sometimes non-first-timers may not need the list but it is usually a good reference to look at just in case they cannot figure out why a baby is not satisfied.
13 Not Stocking Up
Babysitters usually spend a good number of hours in your home and they may feel hungry or want to use the bathroom. Parents should not leave their pantries empty when they have a sitter around. According to Verywell Family, babysitters are similar to employees and parents should always make them feel comfortable in their homes.
Parents should also give sitters permission to prepare something to eat as no one feels comfortable going to some else’s fridge or pantry without their host’s permission. Stocking up on snacks is also an easy way to ensure the sitter has something to eat. They can also ensure that there is ready-made food so that the sitter does not shift her focus from her job because she has to cook.
12 Leaving Private Documents Lying Around
Parents should stop leaving their private documents around the house when they leave the baby sitter, especially if they do not want her to snoop around. When parents hire a sitter, they are inviting her to their private place and she can gain access to a lot of their private information.
Therefore, parents can limit what they want out there in the public domain by ensuring they keep their tax information and bank statements away from the counters and tables. Babysitting World notes that parents should also ensure they tell their sitters which rooms are off limits to the children, friends, and guests; they should also try to keep them shut.
11 Being Disorganized
Babysitting infants is a lot of work. The sitter will have to feed them, change them, put them to sleep and repeat the process until the parents come back home. Parents should try to make the sitter's life easy by having everything ready for her so that she does not get too swamped while they are away.
A good example is to set a number of diapers on the changing table so that the sitter can change the baby as fast as she can. They should also lay out other essentials that the sitter will need during a diaper change near the changing station. BabyCenter points out how parents should also ensure they always stock up on extra items to avoid frustrating the sitter when they are away.
10 Not Sharing Calming Strategies
Calming down another person’s baby can be challenging. Parents need to stop assuming that babysitters know what their children like or dislike and share tricks that work for their babies before they leave. Babies have fluctuating emotions, they are usually happy one minute and crying their lungs out the next.
Norton Children's points out how moms should tell their sitters the best positions to hold their babies, how to soothe them to sleep, and what music calms them down. They can even go the extra mile of actually showing them how to do the above. They should also share their child’s favorite toy or distraction, which can come in handy to the sitter.
9 Not Giving House Tours
Again, parents should stop assuming that the sitter knows where things are in their homes and give them a house tour. Parents should arrange for the sitter to get a tour of the house. Something, like using a dishwasher or setting an alarm, can be obvious but parents should always orient sitters with gadgets around the house.
Parents points out that house tours give the babysitter a realistic preview of the job and help establish expectations. There should also be a show-and-tell process, for example when in it rains; they should show the sitter where kids usually put their shoes and umbrellas. Moreover, they should not rush the tours so all the information can sink in.
8 Forgetting To Reveal Any Medical Information
Parents should stop forgetting to reveal any medical information about the baby when they leave them in the hands of another person. If a baby has food allergies or asthma, it is very important for them to inform the sitter. They should also inform the sitter of any meds that the baby is taking and when and how much they should take it.
Parents should also share what to do in case of an emergency or reactions to a particular food, according to Verywell Family. Not all sitters have kids of their own so it is important for parents to make a list of hazards and any other thing that might cause harm.
7 Not Sharing Rules On Discipline
Sometimes babysitters do not know what to do when a child starts misbehaving or becomes naughty. Parents should explain to the sitter what action to take when this happens especially if they have their own way of disciplining their children. Most sitters will not discipline a child unless they have the parent’s permission.
It is always good to let the sitter know what to do in different case scenarios. According to Huffpost, a child might behave better when his or her parents are around and misbehave when they are with a sitter. Children will always try to get away with bad behavior especially if the parents are not home.
6 Not Explaining Screen Time Rules
When parents hire a baby sitter, they should clearly state the screen time rules before they leave. If there are other older kids, they should give a list of the television shows and movies they have permission to see and which ones are they should not.
Screen time rules vary greatly from family to family. According to Kid Health, parents should make sure the sitter knows it is okay for the kids to watch TV and how much and how close to bedtime they can watch. If the rules are not set, the children have room to argue, making it difficult for the babysitter to set rules in a house that is not hers.
5 Forgetting To Lay Out Clothes The Child Might Need
Babysitting a new child can be difficult because the sitter might not know the parent’s preference in terms of clothing. In order to make life easy, parents should not forget to lay out clothes the child might need to wear while they are away. This may seem like a simple task but it is essential for parents to do beforehand.
Some parents may want their babies to be dressed warmly while others may prefer them in one piece of clothing. Laying out clothes also saves the sitter time from digging through unfamiliar drawers to look for a change of outfit. Showing preferences is important and with time, the babysitter is able to learn the parent’s style.
4 Not Childproofing The House
Not childproofing the house is one thing parents should stop doing when they leave their baby with a sitter especially if the baby is crawling or learning how to walk. Childproofing prevents potential accidents in the house. Power outlets, staircases, and cupboard doors are among the first thing parents should take care of.
Todays Parent notes that the best way for parents to know what to childproof is to get on their knees and see the world from their baby’s perspective. Not childproofing can be very frustrating for the baby sitter because it means she has to be extra careful around the house and keep an eye on the baby every second.
3 Diverting The Sitter From Her Job
Parents need to stop diverting the babysitter from the job she has come to do, especially if they did not discuss it when hiring her. Sometimes parents forget that they hired the babysitter to only look after the baby and not mow the lawn, clean the house, or fold laundry.
According to Huffpost, diverting the sitter from her main job can make her forget about looking after the baby. If parents want to add her extra tasks they should have a discussion with her first, adjust her schedule and maybe review her compensation. Otherwise, they should not assume she is okay with it.
2 Coming Back Late
Parents should stop extending time away from home especially if they have not notified the sitter that they will be late. Parents may sometimes miscalculate the time they are supposed to be back home to relieve the baby sitter, and this is a huge problem. However, some sitters might not mind the parents coming home late especially if they are receiving payment on an hourly rate, but the ones who have other plans or responsibilities to attend to will feel inconvenienced.
If the parents are unable to get back in time, they should call and inform the sitter that they will be late. CBS News points out that, babysitting is a tough job and parents should not inconvenience the person taking care of their child because they will need her again.
1 Not Discussing Bedtime Routines
Some parents have strict bedtime routines while others do not. Not discussing regular bedtime schedules is something parents need to stop doing when they leave the babysitter with their baby. Older children can be a task to put to bed especially if they do not have a specific time for going to sleep.
As previously stated, parents also need to advise on what to do in case a child misbehaves and wants to stay up past his or her bedtime. It is normally hard to control a child who thinks that he or she cannot get into trouble for being difficult, according to Huffpost. Babysitters usually appreciate these guidelines because they are sometimes unable to enforce rules if they don't even know the rules.
Sources: verywellfamily.com, fatherly.com, lemonlimeadventures.com, zerotothree.org, babysittingworld.com, nortonchildrens.com,huffpost.com, kidshealth.org, todaysparent.com, cbsnews.com, parents.com, babycenter.com