Just as household rules vary from family to family, so do bedtime routines, mealtimes, and appropriate television viewing. Leaving a babysitter checklist for your sitter that includes any information she may need is a great idea. Review it each time you hire a babysitter, update it if necessary, and print a new copy if changes were made.
Having a babysitter checklist will prevent you from forgetting to give the babysitter all the necessary information. Here are some ideas for what type of information to include on your list.
- If it is daytime, list who the children are allowed to play with and whether or not they are allowed to play in your house or at their friend's house. If they are allowed to play outside, specify their boundaries and what time they need to be home.
- Emergency telephone numbers, parent's cell phone numbers, neighbor and/or relatives numbers are a must to have on the babysitter checklist. Put your address on the list as well in case the babysitter needs to provide it to emergency personnel. Include the toll free number for poison control in the United States: 1-800-222-1222
- Let the sitter know if she should answer the telephone or let the answering machine answer calls. If you prefer your machine to take messages and it answers silently, be sure the sitter has a cell phone or you have some way of contacting her if you want to check in.
- Your child care checklist should include your preferred method of discipline (always excluding corporal punishment).
- Rules for telephone and computer usage for both the children and the babysitter should be made clear.
- Appropriate television viewing, including channels the children are allowed to watch, movies that are acceptable, and amount of time the children are allowed to watch TV should also be included on the babysitter checklist.
- Most families have a different arrangement of audio and video equipment and many have two or three remote controls. Leaving instructions for how to work your television and related equipment would be very helpful to the sitter.
- Meal times, snack times, what are appropriate snacks, number of snacks allowed, food allergies, and which rooms, if any, the children are allowed to eat in are helpful pieces of information for the babysitter to have as well.
- Which rooms, if any, are off limits such as the parent's bedroom or a formal living room should be included on the babysitter checklist.
- Other helpful information to put on the child care checklist is what time each child goes to bed, bedtime routines, security items children take to bed, whether or not children need assistance brushing their teeth, a list of vitamins or fluoride tablets that are taken before bed if any, where the children are allowed to sleep (some children occasionally sleep with their siblings), and any problems with enuresis (bed-wetting).
- Let the babysitter know whether or not she is allowed to have friends accompany her.
- Be sure to include where the flashlight and first aid kit is kept and anything else you think she may need such as bug spray or sun block.
- If you have a pool, let the sitter know whether or not the children will be allowed to swim in it when you are not home, and list any other rules pertaining to using the pool on your babysitter checklist.
- If you have any appliances that the sitter may need to use (for example a microwave or convection oven), leave instructions on how to use them.
- Is the babysitter allowed to adjust the heat or air conditioning? If so, leave instructions for temperature limits and how to adjust the thermostat if it is not a simple dial.
- Let the babysitter know if she is allowed to sleep once the children fall asleep if you are going to be out late.
- If your home has an alarm or security system, leave instructions on how to use it and also show the sitter how to turn it on or off.
- Remember to leave explicit instructions for medications if any of the children are ill or take medications on a regular basis.
- Anything to do with pets should also be included on the child care checklist, such as whether or not they can be let outside or taken out of their cages, what treats they can be fed, and whether or not the children can hold them.
This may seem like an awful lot of information, but if you keep a copy of the list on a desk or taped inside a cabinet door, the sitter will always have any information she might need. And, if you keep a copy of it on your computer, it will be simple to update.
Whenever you have a new sitter, review the information with her first, in case some of the instructions are unclear to her. Instructions that may seem very clear to one person can be totally confusing to another.
Having this information on a babysitter checklist readily available to your babysitter will help to ensure that everything goes smoothly in your absence and that each babysitting experience will be pleasurable for all involved.
Take note if your babysitter has questions for you after babysitting, you may need to add some information to your Babysitter Checklist. Chances are, if one sitter asks a question, others may be looking for the same answers.
This babysitter checklist includes all the information to leave with your babysitter or child care provider in addition to emergency phone numbers.
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