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I have lots of babysitter stories of things gone wrong–that one time the sitter calls me 15 minutes AFTER I expected her–to tell me that she couldn’t come because she had something else planned. Seriously.
Thankfully, I only have two horror story in the 10 years we’ve hired a babysitter. I’ll briefly share one of them. We got a call from the sitter, that our child was vomiting. We asked some questions and figured out it wasn’t an emergency. So we just asked her to put him in bed and we would wrap things up on our end and head home. We finally get home and I walk into the house and it smells awful. The whole house. Well, apparently she didn’t bother to clean up the throw up that was in a couple of places in our house. She just left it as is. I didn’t expect her to scrub anything but at least remove it off the couch.
It was just our luck, he threw up on our NEW week old micro-fiber couches. The sitter didn’t bother to wipe it off, so the liquid had soaked into the spongy part of our couches. My son was thankfully not sleeping in throw up clothes but his clothes was on the carpet with the vomit chunks everywhere. Again I didn’t expect her to scrub our couches but we would have greatly appreciated if she’d wipe the couches off.
Seriously, we have been so lucky to have great sitters for the most part. My favorite sitters have been the ones that play with my kids but who are also firm and kind. They gently redirect their disobedience. My ultimate favorite are those who have done that and clean up!
Okay, I asked my mom readers to share their tips, so I’m gladly sharing them with you. One tip I want to add is before your babysitting gig, stock up and go to the dollar store, yard sales or go through your old toys and bring a few with you. You can get tons of great ideas by just perusing the internet. The image above is a printable using blocks and stacking them in different ways. Kids love getting new ideas on how to play with their toys.
How to Be a Great Babysitter Tips & Printable
- Make sure you have all of the emergency numbers and the parents cell numbers.
- Make sure you know where they are going. I know you don’t want to seem noisy but ask, “In case of an emergency, where can I say you’re at?” Or just print out the printables below and hand them the sheet that says “In Case of an Emergency” so parents can fill it out.
- When I was a teenager and beginning to babysit – I always brought an old suitcase full of new things for the kids to play with, read, etc. This always made the evening easy and fun with well behaved children – because they wanted to know what else was in that suitcase…
- I left a few dirty dishes in the sink once and when we got back they were washed. Another time the sitter brought a new toy for my son to play with.
- The same sitter also sent us a picture while we were out of my son playing and having fun. Little things like that mean a lot.
- When the kids say “but mommy lets me” its a TOTAL LIE 😉
- I think it would be nice for the sitter to clean up the toys on the floor… even if its not in the correct spot, as a mom i would much rather come home from whatever I had to do to a picked up living room!
- If the kids are allowed to play outside make sure you ask where there’s a spare key. We once had a babysitter have to crawl through the upstairs window to get back inside. I didn’t find out until the next day when my kids told me.
- Write out their “routine” for them to get an idea of how the evening usually goes.
- It’s helpful to let the sitter know your common rules/ procedures
- It’s also helpful ahead of time to discuss picking up/ washing dishes and their fee for this ahead of time. It’s hurtful to be fussed at by parents for not doing something you were not even aware of in the first place.
- Be on time and come 10 minutes early so you can get the run down on all the info.
- Don’t answer the door or let anyone else in the house. Not even if they say they are family.
- If you aren’t sure about something call the parents. Or if it’s a minor thing and you’re needing advice call your parents.
- Play with my kids, don’t just set them in front of the screen.
- Always be honest with the parents.
- If things are out of control, please call me. I know my kids and it probably won’t surprise me.
- As a child safety trainer, I highly discourage bathing children. If the parent request it, just politely decline and say, “A child safety trainer told me to avoid those type of situations.”
- Take coloring sheets and crayons even if they already have some kids always like new things to color.
- Have a few age appropriate games planned. Make sure to jot down which ones were a success, for future reference.
- Don’t assume that the parents will be okay that you bring along a friend–make sure you ask.
- Never give a child medicine unless you’ve cleared it with the parents.
- You should know where the kids are at–don’t spend time tweeting, texting or online.
- Don’t tell the kids your babysitting this–Don’t tell your mom it’s our secret. Completely inappropriate no matter how small the matter is.
I hope you find the above information helpful and it’s giving you some things to consider or add to your already great Babysitter Checklist. If you don’t have one feel free to print out our FREE Babysitter Checklist and Important Information printables by clicking this link: Babysitter Checklist.
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