Are the kids driving you nuts? Then it’s time to call a sitter and take a breather. Thanks to our handy checklist, you’ll remember to provide your sitter with all the essential info—from emergency phone numbers to television regulations—and enjoy a kid-free, stress-free night out.
IMPORTANT NAMES AND NUMBERS:
- Where you can be reached
- Two nearby friends, relatives or neighbors
- Fire department
- Police department
- Poison Control Center
- Hospital (Choose one that is close and offers good emergency care for kids.)
- What your child is allowed to eat and drink
- Bedtime (or nap time) and how to enforce it
- Play activities your child enjoys
- Activities not permitted while you’re gone
- How much television (and which programs) your child is allowed to watch
- How you want behavior problems handled
- How to use any baby equipment
- Warning not to open door to strangers
- Warning for sitter not to tell phone caller she is alone, just take a message
- Rules for sitter on her use of phone, television, smoking and alcohol
- What to do in case of fire or other emergency
- Show all entrances and exits, fire and burglar alarms, first aid supplies, flashlights and fuse box.
- Post your address and clear directions on how to locate your house (in case sitter needs to provide directions to emergency services).
EMERGENCY MEDICAL CONSENT FORM:
- Without parental permission, doctors will only treat children in life-threatening situations. To make sure your child receives emergency medical treatment when he’s under a sitter’s care, prepare a consent form that includes:
- Your child’s name
Date of birth
- Insurance carrier and policy number
- Doctors’ names and phone numbers
- Important medical history, including allergies and chronic conditions
The following statement: “Any licensed physician, dentist or hospital may give necessary emergency medical service to my child (YOUR CHILD’S NAME) at the request of the person bearing this consent form.”
- Your signature
How to Find a Good School-Age Baby-Sitter
When you begin the search for a sitter, consider the following:
- Get references from friends or neighbors who already use teen- or college-age baby-sitters.
- Spread the word. Place notices on bulletin boards where teens gather, such as schools, community centers or the town swimming pool.
- Post notices at the student employment offices at local colleges. It helps to recruit at the beginning of the school year when students are forming their schedules.
- Check with church or community leaders for names of responsible teens.
- Some libraries, hospitals or community centers provide baby-sitting courses. Inquire about a list of those who completed the course or send a teen you’d like to groom for regular baby-sitting chores.
- Ask the baby-sitters you know for the names of friends and relatives who might be interested in similar work.
- Think twice about students who are very involved in school activities and may not be as available as you need them to be.
Once you find a good baby-sitter you trust, the following tips will help you keep him or her:
- Take the time to break in a sitter. Have the sitter come for a preliminary ‘house tour,’ perhaps delivered by the children. Point out favorite play spaces and any potential hazards.
- Be clear about your expectations regarding bedtime, how to handle fights, your approach to sweets, etc. Specify what kinds of activities are off-limits.
- For the first baby-sitting assignment, you may want to choose a short, daytime outing.
- Before giving Contact to the sitter, consult your children as well.
- Always leave a phone number where you can be reached and a good estimate of when you’ll be home.
- Stock the refrigerator with food the sitter likes.
- Work out fees up front, and agree upon rates you’re both comfortable with. You may want to check the going rate in your neighborhood. And, if you’re satisfied with your sitter, think about providing a raise every six months.
- Call well in advance to book a sitter and try to avoid cancellations.
- Call often enough for the sitter to feel loyalty to you.
- Consider giving a small gift for birthdays or holidays