Babysitter Basics For The Holidays

It’s not uncommon for parents to participate in company parties, holiday events or social activities during the holidays … without their kids. If your family rarely works with babysitters, but is planning to in the near future, here are some steps to keep in mind before the big occasion.

First, talk with your kids. Reassure younger children if this is a rare experience for them. Remind older children about family ground rules and proper behavior, even when parents aren’t home. Consider planning activities in advance, like board games or favorite movies, that will keep kids entertained while you’re gone.

Be clear about the terms of your arrangement. Beyond the agreed upon hourly rate (more common) or flat rate, discuss contingencies. Will you be picking up or dropping off the sitter? What happens if you are running late on the way home?

Have the “food talk.”  Depending on your activity it may not be practical to feed your children before leaving, but you’ll at least want to let your sitter what your plans are. A pre-cooked microwaved meal or ordering pizza are good ways to keep it simple. Be sure you’re also clear to everyone about your policy on desserts and snacks.

Have the “health talk.” If your child has a cold, or needs to take meds at a specific time, be sure the babysitter is aware of that. Occasionally kids will get upset stomachs or need a band aid. Show your sitter your medicine cabinet, so he or she can get to these items if necessary.

Keep the lines of communication open. The age of your children and experience level of your sitter will dictate whether you need to check in while you’re out. But make sure your sitter has a few ways to reach you if necessary. If you’re running late on the way home, let your sitter know that too.

With proper planning, “babysitter night” can be a great experience for all parties and an occasion that everyone looks forward to.

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