What your babysitter should know

When arranging your babysitter's start time allow sufficient time before you go out to go through the following with the babysitter. Rushing means you will forget an important detail. You also need to allow sufficient time to make sure your children are settled before you leave.

The Environment:

Make sure the babysitter is familiar with the layout of your house and also the garden if the children will be playing outside. Whilst showing them around explain the following:

Ensure they know where safety items are such as first aid kits and fire extinguishers. Show them where the necessary items are in the kitchen, snack foods drinks etc.

Explain your security requirements such as locking windows and doors, pulling curtains at night and not opening the door to unknown visitors. Show them how the baby monitor works (if applicable) and the location of the telephone.

Tell the babysitter if you have pets and explain their feeding requirements and where they sleep, e.g. The cat is to be put outside at bedtime as it tries to sleep on the children's bed.

Leave them details of how you can be contacted,- where you will be and a list of phone numbers. Include your mobile number and if possible the number of a neighbour or other friend or relative who could be contacted in an emergency.

Explain what behaviour you expect from them, i.e. whether or not they are allowed to have friends over, if there are areas of the house you do not wish them to access, whether or not they are allowed to use the computer, whether you want them to answer the phone or use the answer phone to screen calls etc.

Tell them what time you expect to be home. If you are late ring or text them to let them know.

Your Children:

Explain your children's routine for the period of time they are being cared for. Routine is very important for children and following it will make the children happier and more accepting of the carer. Include such details as the order in which things are done, e.g. they always brush their teeth first before they have a story, their favourite toys or games and what time they eat.

Explain what you normally do to settle the children for bed and what they can do if they wake in the night. Reinforce the need to contact you should there be any problems. With older children you can explain to them what instructions you have given the babysitter about their bedtime, so your children know what to expect.

Arriving Home:

Make sure you have the correct money to pay the babysitter. If you wish to pay by cheque you will need to establish if that is acceptable with the babysitter before you leave. Show your babysitter to their car or drive them home if you have arranged to do so.

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