Your children are the most precious gifts you will ever have. Although we all love our children very much, there are times when you need to take a break from them, whether it is to go to an appointment, have a date with your husband, or just to get some “me time.” When you have to leave your kids with someone, you want to know they are safe while you are away.
For a long time, we didn’t leave our kids with a babysitter because we felt that we could never be absolutely sure that we could trust anyone else to watch them. Over time, we got a little burnt out, and had very little time for our marriage.
Luckily, we eventually met some great babysitters at our church and started leaving the kids with them from time to time. Not only were the kids super excited to have a fun new playmate, but Mom and Dad were happy to get some breathing room.
Here are a few of my top tips to keep your kids safe with a babysitter so you’ll feel less concerned the next time you need a sitter:
1. Find the right person from the start. Take your time finding a babysitter, especially if you’ll be using their services often. Conduct an interview, ask for and check their references carefully, and verify they have up-to-date first aid and CPR certification.
2. Give them a ‘safety tour’ of your home. Discuss with them anything you feel is necessary such as doors which may become locked easily from the inside, keeping windows closed and doors locked. This is especially important if you have a child who can open doors and try to escape.
3. Talk to them about potential dangers in and around the home. Show them where the medicine cabinets are located as well as a first aid kit. Discuss other things you feel could be a problem, such as your child climbing to get toys and how to deal with that possibility. Ask them how they would react in each circumstance.
4. Discuss how to react in an emergency. Depending upon the emergency, would they call you first or call emergency personnel? What is your preference? Do they have permission to take your child to the emergency room if necessary? These are things you don’t want to have to worry about, but things you’ll want to discuss beforehand.
5. Tell the sitter where you will be and when you’ll be home. Leave them a list of a nearby friend or relative they can contact if there are problems they can’t handle, the children’s doctor’s telephone number, fire department, police department, poison control, and hospital telephone numbers. Show them where your child’s ID cards are.
6. Let them know that you want them to watch your children. This means they aren’t left alone to play outside and if they’re indoors, they aren’t allowed to play in a room which opens to the outside. The sitter should either remain with the child or check on them frequently when playing in a different room indoors. It might also be a good idea to ask that they refrain from using their smart phone when with your children so that the sitter is not distracted.
7. If you have a pool, you’ll want to discuss use of it while the children are being cared for. Does the sitter know how to swim? Be sure the sitter knows the children are to be supervised all the time they are in the pool if they are allowed to use it. What should the sitter do if the telephone rings? If your family doesn’t have a cordless phone, tell them to let it ring and the answering machine can pick it up. Your children’s safety is more important than a telephone call.
Finding the right babysitter is something which may take some time. Once you’ve found them, however, you want them to know these top tips to keep your kids safe. With the right babysitter you should be able to relax and enjoy your time away from your children, knowing they’re in capable hands.