No matter how skilled and experienced a babysitter is, there will always be circumstances in which they need parents to leave them specific information. From your contact information to your child’s dietary plan and daily activities, there are all sorts of important details that a babysitter might need you to inform them about directly. Set your babysitter up for success by providing them with all the details that they might need while looking out for your little ones, so that you can rest easy knowing they have things handled at home.
Important Contact Details
Your babysitter will need a way to reach you if they have questions or if they encounter emergencies while on the job. This is why it is critical for parents to prepare babysitter information sheets with a variety of contact information.
Personal and Community Contacts
The most basic contact information to leave your babysitter is your own. Ideally, they should have your mobile number so they can contact you wherever you are. You can also provide your work landline, so you can remain within reach in the event that cell service is disrupted.
In addition, you should leave your household information, particularly your complete home address and phone number. These are important details should your sitters need to call an ambulance or, on a less serious note, have food delivered.
However, your contact details should not be the only ones available to your sitter. As the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. So, on the off chance that your babysitter is unable to get hold of you, you should provide contacts from your social circle that your sitter can turn to. These could include your spouse or close family members, as well as trusted friends and neighbors. Just make sure to inform them beforehand that you will be placing them on an emergency contact list for when a sitter is watching your children.
A study by Child Care Aware revealed that 1,030 child fatalities from 1985 to 2003 occurred during home-based child care. These could have easily been prevented a babysitter knew who to call for help during the emergency. Some important contacts to prepare for your sitter include:
- Local emergency hotlines for fires, life-threatening situations, and accidents
- Poison control in case your child accidentally ingests harmful substances
- Local clinics, hospitals, and emergency medical services (EMS) for immediate medical help.
- Pediatrician or family doctor for non-emergency medical situations
- Animal control, if you live in an area where wild animals tend to roam
Your Child's Medical and Personal Care Information
As a parent, you know what’s best for your little ones. So, before you leave your kids with a sitter, be sure to leave detailed information and instructions regarding your kids’ medical and nutritional needs. You should also provide clear guidelines on what to do during emergencies to ensure your children’s safety.
Sitters should be made aware of your child’s allergies or medical conditions. This helps them determine if there are food, things, or activities that they should not expose your child to. You can also brief them on any temporary health concerns your child is experiencing—such as diarrhea or an ear infection—so they know to monitor the situation.
Also inform your babysitter about special medications your child needs, as well as how and when to administer them. These include drugs for serious medical conditions, antihistamines, and EpiPen shots, among others.
Make sure to leave a copy of your child’s insurance information and a healthcare authorization form for your babysitter. Otherwise, hospitals and clinics might not be able to accommodate them.
Growing kids need a healthy diet, and so you need to ensure that they get nutritious meals throughout the day. Inform your babysitter about any dietary guidelines you would like them to follow, such as:
- Making a list of approved food items, as well as food and drinks to avoid or limit
- Stocking up on healthy snacks and meals
- Reminding them of potential choking hazards like popcorn, grapes, or small biscuits for younger kids
- Giving them instructions on how to heat up breast milk and prepare formula milk if you have an infant
- Providing them with healthy recipes they can make with your kids
One can never be too prepared for emergencies, especially if you have kids in the house. Ideally, you should also check a babysitter’s qualifications and make sure they can perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and basic first aid. Beyond that, you may have to take extra steps to prepare them for situations like fires, accidents, and natural disasters.
Let them know where to find your first aid kit, as well as emergency kits for power outages. You can also instruct sitters on how to use your fire extinguisher. In addition, you may give them specific instructions on what circumstances they should call you or the authorities.
Your Kids' Daily Schedule and House Rules
Babysitters can be instrumental in helping make all of your child’s day-to-day activities. This is why you may want to clarify if they can accommodate your child’s after-school schedule and your family rules. Some factors to take into consideration are:
- Extracurricular schedule: If your kids participate in after-school activities such as sports, dance lessons, or music classes, provide your sitters with the schedule as well as where these activities take place.
- At-home activities: Do you feel uncomfortable if your kids have too much downtime at home? You can ask your sitter to prepare educational activities for your kids, or maybe even take them on virtual tours of famous travel destinations.
- House rules: Do you let your children watch TV for long hours? Perhaps you want them to finish their homework before they can play outside? Let your babysitter know your house rules, so they can be consistent in enforcing them while you’re away.
- Bedtime routine details: You have probably taken pains forming a solid bedtime routine for your child to fall asleep on their own. By informing your babysitter of the details, you can help your child retain this habit even as your schedule gets disrupted by long work hours, travel, and the like.
Hire Trusted and Vetted Sitters
A babysitter does so much more than just keep your kids company while you’re away. They serve as partners in child care, enforcing your house rules, and helping raise your little ones to become responsible adults. They also serve as your kids’ protectors in an emergency.
To find this perfect person, consider using a babysitting app. Hiring a babysitter from a trusted provider such as Nanno is the critical first step toward getting your kids the care they deserve. Nanno uses a detailed four-step background check process that allows you to access vetted child care professionals near you. They specialize in sitters for both long-term and impromptu engagements, whether for regular scheduling or a few hours one evening.
No matter the efficacy of your babysitter, their ability to care for your child depends on what information you choose to leave them. But hiring a babysitter from a reputable service at least puts you on the right track. Sign up for Nanno today and find out for yourself!