We’ve all experienced the nightmare. You come home after some time away from your kids, refreshed and reset, only to discover that your home, children, and possibly even the pets are in complete disarray and a disaster!
Some people just don’t know how to babysit (or clean, or let a dog outside to go to the bathroom, etc.). So we’ve asked our amazing Momforce for advice and they came up with the best ways to set your babysitter up for success. In fact, these are especially great tips if you have a child who is getting close to that babysitting age!
Get the screens off the scene. Make it clear to your sitter that the kids have limited screen time—and they definitely shouldn’t be exposed to the sitter’s Instagram and Snapchat. No screen time at all is always the preference. The babysitter’s job is to play with and entertain your kiddos, giving them full attention. Kids are always excited to have someone to talk to and show fun things to. Make it clear that your sitter needs to save social media until the kids are asleep.
Be prepared. Coming armed with supplies and goodies always sets the tone for a fun night. What kid doesn’t love new things? Encourage your sitter to bring their favorite games, coloring stuff, and snacks (that are parent-approved and allergy free, of course). Little kids are easily impressed so simple things like bubbles, crafts, and pipe cleaners can go a long way.
Keep calm and babysit on. A good sitter knows to check in with the parents and learn if there are any allergies and how to handle them in an emergency, but it’s also important that you remember to tell them. If your kiddos suffer from allergies, make sure your sitter knows how to use an Epi-Pen or understands what gluten actually is (it’s not just wheat). CPR is an excellent skill to have and be certified in (hiring sitters who double as lifeguards is a bonus!). Some moms in our group insisted that their sitters be certified in CPR and First Aid (even just knowing the Heimlich Maneuver is a plus!). It’s so important to know how to handle scary situations, so being trained makes it much easier to not worry when you’re away. Tell your babysitter not to hesitate if she needs to text or call you, a neighbor, or even 911.
Safety comes first. Assuming yours has never watched one of the many horror movies featuring a babysitter be sure to make it clear that no one at all is permitted in your home. If someone knocks, tell them to ignore it. No one needs to enter the home while you are away. If a situation arises, tell your sitter to text or call you. This no-visitors rule also applies to their significant other, so make that clear. No one should be there distracting your sitter while they’re getting paid to take care of your kids. But if your sitter wants to bring a friend, it’s certainly worth considering—two babysitters can be better than one!
Keep it clean. Make sure your sitter knows to pick up messes that are made on their watch. There is absolutely nothing more infuriating than coming home to a messy house and then paying for it. Tell your sitter they’re responsible for wiping up spills, putting food away, and cleaning dirty dishes (or loading them into the dishwasher). More importantly, if a child throws up or has an accident in their pants, the sitter needs to be prepared to clean it up. Make sure they know how to properly change diapers, wipe bums, and start the washer in case of a major mess. Clarify though that your child being cleaned up (and potentially bathed) should be their number one priority. Tell the sitter where to find fresh clothes and/or sheets. Nothing is sadder than coming home to find your little baby improperly dressed or lying in random, stinky blankets. Kids need extra love when they can’t have their mama in a crisis. So emphasize that they need to take care of the child first and the laundry, bedding, and dishes last.
Here’s a great checklist to leave for your sitter that’s simple, yet reminds them of their duties:
Were the kids safe?
Were they happy?
Was the house left clean?
Answering “yes” to all of these means you’ve coached your sitter accordingly! Maybe you’ll get to enjoy a night away in which you actually stop worrying about the kids for five minutes. 😉 You’ve got this, mama!