Preparing for a Babysitter

Preparing for a Babysitter

Parents need to set ground rules, run through kids’ routines, give written instructions and observe how the sitter works when preparing for a babysitter.


The key to successful babysitting is adequate preparation for the babysitter. A fully prepared carer will be able to find things easily, understand the children’s routines and handle emergency situations more efficiently. This will give parents peace of mind when they leave the house for work or a date night and the babysitter more confidence while doing her job.

Here are a few important things that parents should do before their sitters start working.

Set Ground Rules with Babysitter

First, set some ground rules with the babysitter. Spell out clearly what can and cannot be done. Matters related to disciplining children (if needed), eating and drinking, TV time, playtime and bedtime must be discussed. Talk about rules that apply to the sitter too. These include rules on the use of the house phone, Internet, TV, games and visitors, particularly boyfriends. Stress that the children’s safety and well-being are the babysitter’s priority while they are under her care.

Run through the Kids’ Routines

Get the babysitter to familiarize with the kids’ routines. Write down times for meals, playing, stories, bedtime, etc. Give her a tour of the house so that she knows where all the things the kids need such as toys, books, nappies, clothes, towels, food and snacks are. Discuss any medication that the children may need while mum and dad are away.

Discuss Emergency Situations

Anything can happen in the house when the babysitter is on duty, hence the importance of discussing emergency situations. Show her where the exits, entrances, burglar alarms, first aid kit, fuse box, telephone and flash lights are. Parents should also leave their mobile number and second contact numbers just in case they cannot be reached during an emergency. Additionally, give the babysitter the numbers of the nearest hospital, fire brigade, police station and poison center.

Give Clear Written Instructions to Sitter

All the rules, kids’ routines, matters related to emergency situations and contact numbers should ideally be clearly written down and given to the sitter. While scribbling notes and sticking them up on the refrigerator door works for some families, it may be an even better idea to record these instructions on a document that can be saved, updated and printed out from time to time. This saves parents the hassle of re-writing the instructions each time a new babysitter arrives.

Observe Babysitter Working

It’s crucial for parents to feel completely comfortable with a babysitter. Therefore, some parents may want to observe how a new babysitter works and interacts with the children before leaving them alone. Don’t hesitate to call home for updates if you want to be sure the kids are okay.

Parents must give some thoughts about preparing for a babysitter. Things that parents can do before a sitter starts work include setting some ground rules, going through kids’ routines, discussing how to deal with emergency situations, giving clear written instructions and observing how the babysitter works before leaving her and the kids alone.

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