How to Prepare for a Sitter

Thanks to Bambino you've finally booked a sitter and you're ready to get out on your own for a while! But are there steps you can take to make sure you get out the door without a hitch?

You betcha!

  1. Give your kids advance notice. Last minute emergencies pop up, but if you have a few days notice, be sure to let the kids know they've be having a babysitter ahead of time so they have time to get used to the idea. Tell them about how much fun they'll have with their new friend. I like to get supplies for them to do a special craft with the sitter. Or some new books from the library so there's something exciting to read at bed time. And I always ask the sitter to come early so he or she has time to get acquainted with the kids while we're still home. Fifteen or twenty minutes of play time while I finish getting ready is generally perfect.  
  2. Create a central station. Use this area to post your emergency information (emergency numbers, the doctor's and dentist's information, etc). You can also write a note about where you'll be in case they need to track you down. I like to leave the Wifi password in case the sitter needs to do homework after the kids are sleeping. This is also a good place to post house rules like "the cat stays indoors" and "no screen time until homework is finished."
  3. Give a house tour. I like to walk the sitter through the rooms I think she'll use, as well as the ones she won't. I would hate for a sitter to be in my house after it gets dark outside, wondering what's behind door number 3. So I always show her that this door goes to the basement but it's finished and nice. And this one goes to the laundry room but it's closed because it's a mess in there. :) Stuff like that.
  4. Review any medical information. If your child is currently taking medication make sure you write the dosage down on a piece of paper and rubber band it to the medicine bottle so the two can't get separated. Also show your sitter the location of your first aid kit and make sure he feels comfortable with everything inside. Last, but certainly not least, share any information about allergies or sensitivities.
  5. Stock up on some sitter happy foods. You're used to thinking about meals and snacks for your kids, but don't forget to grab something that will make the sitter happy too. Especially a nice snack or dessert they can enjoy once the kids are in bed and a few appropriate and fun things to drink like sparkling water, iced tea or soda.

Now, get out and have some fun!  Even a PTA meeting can be fun when you're feeling independent and not worried about how things are going at home. And in this case, an ounce of prevention goes a long, long way.