Finding and instructing a babysitter
Getting recommendations from people you know and trust is your best bet for finding a reliable and capable babysitter. If you are new to the area and do not know how to go about finding a babysitter, ask your neighbours or co-workers for recommendations or ask staff at your local doctor’s surgery or day care centre for suggestions.
Interviewing babysitters and checking their references will help you narrow down your choices. Prepare a list of questions to ask ahead of time. Ask about a babysitter's experience caring for children and whether they have taken a babysitter course. Consider inviting a babysitter over for a dry run while you are at home to familiarise them with your household and observe how they interact with your child. Instructing a babysitter is very important.
Before you walk out the door, prepare the babysitter with the following information:
- Go over your baby’s usual routine and your general house rules.
- Make sure the babysitter knows where you will be and how to reach you at all times.
- Provide an emergency phone list that includes your contact details and the numbers of neighbours, friends, relatives and your doctor for the babysitter to contact in an emergency.
- Show the babysitter where emergency exits, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are located.
- If you have security systems, show the babysitter how to use them.
- Show the babysitter where you keep the inside door keys in case a child locks themselves inside a room.
- Let the babysitter know about any special problems your child may have, such as allergies to bee stings, certain foods or household products, or the need for medication at a specific time (explain and write down the directions).
- Review your first-aid kit with the babysitter.
Let your babysitter know your expectations before you leave. If you do not want the babysitter to leave the house with your child, make that clear. If the babysitter can drive, let them know the rules about driving your child. If using the phone and having visitors are off limits, discuss those restrictions.