Many people aren’t fortunate to have family nearby who can pitch in with babysitting duties. In fact, most rely on outside help with a babysitter. The first time hiring one can be a bit stressful. Here are some ideas on planning ahead to make the event less stressful for everyone.
by Sarah Staples from helium.com
Taking the plunge and making the decision to leave your child with a babysitter for the first time can be a momentous moment. Whether you decide the time is right when your child is six moths old or six years old, leaving your little one in the care of another person can be difficult. Ensuring the first time you leave your child with a babysitter is a success requires planning. The following tips will help make your first venture back to the adult world as uneventful as possible.
Firstly, and most importantly, it is essential to find a babysitter you are totally happy with. Ideally you will ensure that your child has had the opportunity to get to know your potential babysitter prior to being left in their care. In many cases the first time a child is left with a babysitter is when that babysitter is another closefamily member; often a grandparent. This will hopefully be a situation that both you and your child will feel comfortable with. Don’t be mistaken though; even leaving your child in the care of your parents will feel strange and difficult that first time.
If your babysitter is someone other than a close family member, ensure you interview your potential babysitter and take references. A personal recommendation from a trusted friend will be of great value. Make sure you ask a potential babysitter questions relating to their experience in caring for children and find out if they have any first aid qualifications. Having a list of questions to ask will avoid missing anything important. Make sure you allow time for the potential babysitter to ask you questions.
Once you are happy you have selected the best person to be your babysitter, plan together the first time they will care for your child. Ideally you want to make this a time when you are fairly sure your child will be at their happiest and most relaxed. Maybe after a feed for a younger baby, or after a nap for the older toddler. Make the first sitting a short period of time, and ideally a time when it does not matter if you are called back due to problems or your child being upset. If your child appears at all unwell when the planned time arrives it is probably best to reschedule to a later date.
Make sure you and your babysitter have discussed important issues before you leave, and leave written contact details for you and another family member. Tell your babysitter you are happy to be contacted about anything.
If your child is older and able to understand that they are going to be left with a babysitter it is important to discuss with them what will happen. Children can actually understand far more than we often give them credit for. Thetoddler with the limited vocabulary can actually comprehend much more than they can say. For this reason, tell them that you are going out for a short period of time and that “Jane” will be looking after them. Tell them what time you will be returning, and make sure you arrive home at that time.
When the time comes to actually leave, say a quick goodbye and give your child a kiss and cuddle. Then leave. Don’t spend ages saying goodbye as this will most likely distress your child further. By all means, stay close by to make sure your child settles, but make sure your child does not see you. They will be fine.
Most often leaving your child with their first babysitter, especially if your child is a baby, is actually far more distressing for you than for your child. Your child will probably relish in some undivided attention, whereas you will probably be checking your telephone for messages or thinking of calling home every few minutes!
Learn more about this author, Sarah Staples.