From the Babysitter :: Four Common Questions for New Families

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Over the years, I have had the privilege of caring for some amazing children. I took my role as their caregiver very seriously because their health and safety were totally my responsibility while they were under my care. Now, as a mother myself, I am realizing how hard it is to leave your children in someone else’s hands. I feel very humbled that those families chose me to take care of their precious babies. Now, I worked for fantastic families and they all had great kids, but there are a few common questions that came up with almost all of them. 

How do you cook things for your kids?

There is nothing worse as a babysitter than preparing a meal for the kids and them refusing to eat because, “it’s not the way Mommy makes it.” Now, I know that whatever I make for them is never going to be equal with what Mommy makes, but if you have certain recipes that you know your kids love, jot them down for your sitter! If your kids like their food cut a certain way or if they prefer specific foods, tell your sitter! I had one sweet mom actually share her recipe book with me and I would often watch how she made meals for the kids and write it down so I would remember the next time. Also, if there are specific foods you don’t want them to have, let your caregiver know. 

Do you have emergency supplies?

Your babysitter needs to know where you keep flash lights, batteries, band aids, first aid supplies, OTC medicines, etc. In the event of a crisis, whether it be severe weather, or a busted knee, it’s hard to console a sobbing child who wants their mommy while also searching the house for the first aid kit. It is also important to share any family emergency plans that you have made with your children. Do you have a meeting place in case of a fire? Which room of  your home have you designated as the safe zone in case of a tornado? I also asked for a list of emergency numbers, including pediatrician info, just in case I couldn’t reach the parents. Lastly, keep the number for the poison control hotline on your fridge or in an easily accessible place! 

How can I help you?

You should make your expectations clear with your babysitter about any additional duties you would like help with, such as cleaning, organizing, etc. I generally always assumed responsibility for cleaning up whatever mess the kids made while I was on duty. However, after they were asleep, I had no problem helping out in other ways. It felt weird to just sit and watch t.v. after the kids were asleep since I was being paid for my time. Usually I found myself asking, Can I help with anything around the house? Now, I know every mom has her own specific way of keeping her home, but if there are simple tasks that will make your life easier when you return home, let your babysitter help! They are, after all, there to make your life easier for the few hours they are in your home.

Do you have weapons in your home, and are they secured?

Yeah, it’s a big question. It’s also a question that can be awkward to ask. A study done by the American Academy of Pediatrics revealed that, on average, 82 children are killed each year by an accidental firearm injury. It’s a huge problem. At your well child visits most pediatricians will also ask if you have weapons in your home, and if they are secured. In my years babysitting, I have learned that children will test their limits with a new caregiver quickly. A game of hide and seek might send them searching for a hiding place in a room that might normally be off-limits when Mommy and Daddy are home. Plus, we all know our children are naturally drawn to things we don’t want them to have. It’s an important subject of conversation for families and new caregivers. 

Mom guilt is so hard, but at some point, you are going to need to leave your children for one reason or another. Hopefully this post will help you gather some information that will be a huge help to your babysitter. As a babysitter for many years, I saw so many moms who didn’t want to leave their babies. I could see the internal struggle going on with juggling work and home life. Now that I am a mother myself, I understand it even more acutely. At the end of the day, you are the #1 comfort to your children, and your babysitter should take great pride in being a part of their lives.