What You Should Know About Babysitters

We all know it's hard to leave our children with sitters the first few times, but it can be a lot easier to leave your kids in the capable hands of a babysitter if you know what to look for when you choose your sitter, and what your responsibilities are as the parent when leaving the home.

What Makes a Good Babysitter?

The most important thing to have in a babysitter is maturity and good judgment. A babysitter should be able to think on her feet enough to know what to do in an emergency. You also want a babysitter who likes kids and who will do fun activities with your kids, not just put them in front of the television. A good babysitter will know some basic things about child behavior and he should be able to handle basic needs like making a meal and putting your child to bed. First aid training is also important. Read more about how to choose a babysitter.

Your Responsibilities as the Parent

Before you leave for the evening, especially if this is the first time using your babysitter, there are a few things you should do to ensure everything runs smoothly when you're away. Introduce the babysitter to your children and any pets, and make sure they are all comfortable with each other. You may even want to have the babysitter over about a half-hour before you leave so that your children are comfortable with her before you leave.

Show the baby sitter around your home, and explain which areas are pose dangers to your children and pets. In your tour also make sure to show the babysitter where your first-aid supplies and fire extinguishers are kept. Make sure the sitter knows how to use them. Explain how to use certain appliances if they will be needed.

Give your sitter a list of important phone numbers of who to call in an emergency, and also a number where you can be reached while you are out. Make sure the babysitter knows when to call 9-1-1.

If your child has allergies, takes special medications, or if there is any important medical information about your children, let the babysitter know. Establish the rules about eating,  snacking and times for bed, and discuss which TV programs and video games your children are allowed to play. Establish rules regarding visitors for both the sitter and your children.

Arrange transportation to and from your home for the babysitter, and let the sitter know when you will be home. Call if that time changes.

Call the babysitter when you are out to make sure everything is going smoothly.