Whether it’s while you work, after school, or for a date, everyone leaves their kids with a babysitter at some point. And whether it’s the first time with any babysitter at all, or just the first time with a new babysitter, it’s important to make sure things go well.
Getting your kids off to a great start with a new babysitter will keep them happy and improve your peace of mind when you need to be away from home. And it ensures that you get to keep a great babysitter for when you need one. Try the following steps with your kids and new sitter to help everyone enjoy a smooth transition.
Steps To Take With Your Kids
1. Bid a warm goodbye to your old sitter. If your kids have grown close to a previous babysitter who is departing for college or for other reasons, help them say goodbye to make the transition more comfortable. You can have a simple celebration with cake or let your kids pick out a small gift.
2. Praise the new sitter. Your children will be sensitive to how you feel about your new sitter. Convey your confidence and good impressions. Tell them some interesting facts that you learned during the interview process, like whether they do magic tricks or have ever won a bicycle race. It’s fine if you feel nervous, just don’t let on to your kids.
3. Help your kids look forward to meeting the new sitter. Talk up the whole experience. Show them some pictures of their new caregiver. Countdown the days to when they’ll meet in person. Make it a big, exciting deal!
4. Ask the new sitter to come by for a meet-and-greet. Take the pressure off of everyone by having the new sitter come by when you aren’t going anywhere so they can meet the kids and everyone can get to know each other. This also gives you a chance to observe their interactions and consider options if things don’t go as well as you hoped.
5. Let your kids play host. Give your children a role in providing an orientation for your new hire. Kids can give them a tour of the house, introduce any pets, and explain their own bedtime routine. It’s a great way to break the ice and help your children develop poise and good manners.
6. Plan some special activities. Help their first time together go smoothly by arranging some activities your little ones and their new sitter can enjoy.
· Get a movie that will appeal to both children and adults. You could try a classic old comedy or animated films that are popular with all ages, like one of the Toy Story movies.
· Order your kid’s favorite takeout food. Let them eat pizza or tacos for dinner. It will simplify one task and make the evening feel festive.
· Put out some craft supplies. Make it easy for your kids and their new sitter to interact. Crafts are especially good for children who tend to need some time to get comfortable talking with new people. In addition, they can show off their creativity.
Steps To Take With Your New Sitter
1. Ask your new sitter to arrive early. It’s usually a good idea for a new sitter to arrive about an hour before you plan to go out. This gives you plenty of time to make introductions (if they didn’t already meet the kids). You can also stay on hand in the next room while your kids and the new sitter start getting to know each other. It also allows time for you to go over anything you might have forgotten to mention before.
2. Provide all the necessary contact information and review the house rules. Give your sitter a list of important contact numbers to reach you or handle emergencies. Ensure they understand all the household routines like the alarm system, bedtimes, and any limits on visitors and television viewing.
3. Make a check-in call. About an hour after you depart, call home to confirm that everything is okay. It will make it easy for your sitter to ask you any questions that may come up. And it gives you the peace of mind of knowing everything is still okay at home.
4. Do a debriefing. Have a chat with your new sitter at the end of the evening. It’s valuable to get their impressions so you can consider any improvements you might want to make in your arrangements with them or future babysitters.
When your new sitter and your kids hit it off, you can relax, knowing they’re safe. Choose wisely when hiring someone to look after your children and give them all the support they need to do a good job.
Wendy Miller is a meditation teacher, single mom coach & writer. She helps moms use mindfulness, meditation & self-care to create a calm & happy life. She lives in Florida with her two sons and enough pets for a zoo.
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