After traveling out of town for a business trip last week, the idea of babysitting has been high on my mind. Luckily for me, my husband was available to watch Bee while I was away, making the process a bit easier than I had anticipated. Yet at some point in her baby’s new life, every mother has to rely on a trusted family member, friend, babysitter or nanny to take care of their little bundle. And although I’ll be releasing a more in-depth guide to babysitting in the next few weeks, a helpful starting point is the Official Babysitter’s Checklist below: a quick and easy form to leave on the kitchen counter or refrigerator before you run out the door. Here’s everything you need to include in your own checklist!:
1. Baby’s full name and birthdate.
Include baby’s full name and official birthdate in case any emergency situations may arise that might require medical or legal documents.
2. Allergies and medications.
If your baby has any known allergens, both of the food or non-edible variety, be sure to include this information for your babysitter. A list of safe medications for baby is also helpful, along with any pertinent instructions that might apply to your child. (I’d recommend printing out a recommended dosage chart to attach to your medicine cabinet with instructions for your babysitter to call a parent before administering any medication at all.)
3. Naptimes, bedtimes and mealtimes:
Routines are great for babies, especially if they’re in a separation anxiety stage of any sort. Encourage your babysitter to follow a general routine by offering guidelines surrounding your baby’s activities. Rather than a strict schedule, give flexible windows of time and corresponding cues for certain routines, i.e. “Bee takes a 45 minutes nap between 2-4pm. She’ll rub her eyes and purse her lips when she’s ready!”
4. Favorite (and not-so-favorite) activities:
Give your babysitter some insight into your baby’s favorite games, toys and activities. This makes for a happier experience for everyone! In addition, feel free to include things that might scare or disenchant your baby, such as loud noises or bright lights. The more intel, the better!
5. Special foods:
Whether you’re providing breast milk, formula or pureed food, be sure to leave your caregiver with ample “cooking” instructions for re-heating, along with details on the location of necessary accessories, i.e. bibs, spoons, plates, bottles (if not readily available).
6. Insurance information:
In case of emergency, leave your insurance information or a copy of your insurance card for your babysitter. In the same vein, it’s a good idea to type out a temporary medical release form to sign, stating that you are temporarily entrusting the named babysitter with your child’s care.
7. Contact information:
Include your contact information, as well as an emergency contact (neighbor, grandparent) if you’re not able to be reached immediately.
8. Household information:
Last, but not least, include any helpful details about your home, i.e. “The freezer door gets jammed” or “The gray remote controls the TV; the manual is in the end table’s top drawer.” The more ways you can make your babysitter comfortable, the better the outcome!
Most of all, relax. Entrusting your baby with someone else can be difficult, but it’s a healthy step for you and your child. As the saying goes, it takes a village!
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