Being mum to a 19-month old I fully understand other parents’ anxiety leaving their child – I have had to go through it myself quite a few times – and so I thought I’d share some babysitting advice and babysitting tips with you.
Through running Granny and I, and my personal experience, I’ve learnt there are a few things you can do to make the experience a happy one for your child, and a stress-free one for you!
- Book your sitter 30 minutes to an hour before you are due to leave. That way you’ll have enough time to show her around your home, explain your child’s habits or routine, and watch how she interacts with your child.
- Spend a little time with the babysitter and child before leaving; your words, actions and body language will show your child that you know and trust the babysitter, and they are more likely to be happy to stay with her.
- If you’re really nervous and have never left baby with anyone unfamiliar, book one or two short ‘trials’, of 3 hours or so, during the day; that way, you can get to know the babysitter, see how she gets on with your child, and you’ll feel more confident leaving next time
- Make sure you leave detailed instructions about your baby or child’s routine and exactly what you would like the sitter to do; you’ll avoid misunderstandings and feel more at ease leaving your child. Make sure you tell the sitter if your child has a comfort toy, blanket or dummy that usually helps to calm them if distressed.
- Exchange phone numbers with the sitter so she can call you if needed, and you can let her know if you’re running late. You could also ask her to text you with updates.
- Stay close to home the first time you book a sitter, so you can pop back and check on your child half way through if you feel the need.
- Use an agency that carries out strict background checks, or carry out the checks yourself. It’s really important you feel you can trust the carer – so ask to see her CRB check, call up 3 of her referees, and interview her thoroughly in person.
- Be patient. For some babies it will take a while to get used to a child-carer that is not you! This is totally understandable, and you just need to give your child some time. Eventually they will see they are in safe hand
- Bear in mind that often, once mum has left, the child is totally fine and happy! We only get to experience the distressed child as we leave, but very often this is not representative of the child’s experience with the carer.
We hope this helps!
Francesca Liberatore – Francesca founded babysitting agency Granny and I with her mother in September 2012, after realising how important extended family is for parents with young children. Granny and I run a Granny babysitting service in London, and also an online meeting place of Grandmas and families around the UK. All their carers are experienced Grandmothers!
Have you got any Babysitting Tips you could share with us?