Of course you would prefer to be the one watching your kids 100% of the time! No one takes better care of them, knows their every want & need, and no one can keep an eye on them like you do!
But unfortunately this just is not possible, or you may at times find yourself needing a quick break. Every once in awhile, or perhaps even every day, we will need to trust someone else to care for your sweet little darling(s). Here are a few tips for making sure that they are in the best of care, and insure that everyone stays safe & well until you return home.
Now let’s assume that you have already gone through all of the steps of hiring a sitter who is very reliable and who you already trust….. but now what? You checked references, did background checks, went through several rounds of interviews, and finally hired that special sitter or nanny to watch your children. But are they fully prepared for what your kid(s) might really need?
A great place to start might be having this individual shadow you for a couple of hours, or even days. Sure it might be more money spent upfront, but if it gives them a better understanding of what your child’s routine is like, and you better piece of mind – than it is a win-win!
But what if it is a family member or a close friend helping you out? They may not be able to add this extra time to their schedule. Either way, here are a few things to go over no matter who is watching your kids:
When Leaving the House
Think about what the schedule is for the day and prepare ahead of time. Will the kids be home all day, or will they be getting in someone else’s car? If so…
- Does the driver know the car seat safety laws? Things have changed a lot since our parents were raising us, so maybe an updated review could be helpful.
- Do they have an age appropriate car seat in their vehicle? Or a base that is compatible with your baby’s car seat? If not, be sure that you switch over yours before you leave the house, and show them how to use it. Car seats can be a bit confusing if you are not using them daily, or if they operate differently than what they have used prior. Be sure to even show them how to buckle/unbuckle, adjust the straps, and so on.
- Do you have a diaper bag or bag packed with essentials for the day? Consider putting something together ahead of time with snacks, sippy cups, change of clothes, bottles, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, bug spray, band-aids, etc. It will be much easier for the sitter if you have this already prepared.
- Does your child have a special lovey that they can’t leave without? Maybe a pacifier, blankie, or stuffed animal? Make sure there is a note on the door reminding them not to leave without it!
Planning for Emergencies
Whether they are home all day or out and about, one of the most important things to review is a plan for emergencies! I know that this is not fun to discuss, and hopefully this will never be needed, but you should have a plan just in case.
- If the babysitter steps outside with the kids and gets locked out, is there a hide-a-key they should know about?
- If they are leaving the house, even for a walk to the playground, does your child have something to identify themselves in case they get separated? Consider asking the sitter to put a safety bracelet on your child before leaving the house.
- Does your child need medications? Either way, a note taped inside the medicine cabinet door with medications and dosages can be very helpful! Even if it is for just for the occasional Tylenol when they don’t feel well *Just be sure to update this as your child continues to grow*
- Consider leaving a list of numbers by the phone – your cell number, the neighbors number, the pediatrician, poison control, and so on…..
- Filling out a thorough Notes For Your Childcare Provider will be very helpful! Fill it out once, and leave it on the counter each time you leave the house.
When your children are in the care of someone else, you want to know where they are and that they are being treated well. You can always check in with your babysitter, but even that may not give you the full picture.
Stroller Patrol was created as a way to give parents further peace of mind! All you need to do in order to take advantage of this amazing service is have your sitter, and yourself, download the free Stroller Patrol App. This app allows you to track their GPS when they are with your children.
This can be especially helpful if your sitter ever needs help when out and about. Or if you ever need to swing by the park and pick up one of your kids for soccer practice, or grab all of the kids from another activity – you will always know where they are.
Another key feature of this app is that it allows others in the area – through security settings of course – to send anonymous feedback to you (although you can always reach out for more details if desired). Maybe they want to compliment your caretaker and let you know everyone is doing great! Or maybe they want you to know about an incident they just witnessed on the playground. It’s kinda like having an extra set of eyes and ears watching out for your little ones.
Stroller Patrol also provides another level of accountability since your sitter is aware that others may be keeping an eye out too. You don’t want to breed an environment of mistrust, but you want to encourage awareness, safety, and responsibility at all times. You can even encourage your sitter to use the app to help share compliments or concerns to other families while she’s out and about as well!
Download the app here from the app store, and encourage others within your community to do the same! It takes a village 🙂
12 Free Printables
If you are like me, than you love to stay organized! Below are a few lists that we have created in order to make routine and life easier for whoever is watching your kiddos. Consider printing these lists, laminating, and leaving in designated areas to be helpful reminders.
We all know that when trying to get out the door with kids, you can so easily forget something. So having a visual checklist to quickly look over will save everyone a mess or disaster later on. There is not much worse than arriving at your destination and realizing you forgot something at home!
- Important Notes for Your Caretaker – leave them all of your important info
- While You Were Out – find out how their time went while you were gone
- Daily Summer Checklist – use as a nice schedule for the day
- 30 Summer Activity Ideas – leave out as a suggestion of things to do, maybe highlight your child’s favorites so that you know they have a fun time while you are gone
- Prepare for the Pool – make sure everyone has what they need for a pool day
- Car Travel Bag Checklist – everything you need to keep in the car when traveling with kids
- Pretend Play Printables – leave these out to encourage some fun imaginary play
- Bedtime Routine – a cute reminder for the night-time routine
- Morning Routine – make sure everything gets done before school/preschool/daycare
- Sticker Carts – some kids respond well to a chart for behavior, chores, or working towards a goal
- Checklist for Living with Sensory Processing Disorder – very helpful if someone in your home has SPD
- Sensitive Child Checklist – helpful tips, suggestions, and important things to remember & understand if your child is sensitive, or if any sensitive child ever visits your home
Hiring a babysitter, nanny, or au pair is a big decision! No matter if it is for an occasional hour or two, or all day – 5 days a week, it is so important that we hire someone reliable and trustworthy! These are our precious children that we are leaving in their care, and mishaps can happen so quick! So let’s try to make sure everyone involved is as prepared as possible – best of luck!
For more on this topic, check out the full Childcare Options collection
Featured Business: Stroller Patrol
Stroller Patrol is a free mobile app that can be downloaded onto your and your nanny’s smartphone. It combines the power of geolocating technology with community-sourced feedback to ensure your child is always in the best of hands. Know where your nanny is when they are “on the clock” and watching your kids. And take advantage of their added security measures to ensure that your kids are always getting the care that they deserve! Download the app here and encourage others within your community to do the same! It takes a village”