Knowing when to leave your child with a baby sitter can be difficult to judge
Find out when and how you can leave your baby with a sitter and what you might want to consider
Children are the most important things in the world to us. So, choosing a babysitter – and even deciding on when you should first leave your child with a babysitter – can feel like a tough call and one that everyone seems to have an opinion on or a friend to recommend. But what’s right for you?
The fact is that there is no right or wrong answer to this big, even daunting decision. You are your best judge of when you feel ready to leave your baby for a few hours. That might mean a full night out with friends or just a few hours out as a couple for an early evening bite to eat or trip to the movies. But if you’re not ready to leave them until they’re talking and toddling we get that too!
Yet, for whenever you are ready, we’ve compiled a list of the best things mums and dads can do to get comfortable when using a babysitter for the first time.
Ask family or friend for recommendation. Having mutual friends/family in common helps reassure you and so often the best place to start when finding a sitter is with a personal recommendation. Many parents often find babysitters by asking at nursery or baby groups as the young teachers/carers who look after the children there give them the reassurance of good training and background checks. Plus, in many cases your child might already know them which can help with the transition when you want to head out the door when your little one is still up and awake.
Start Early. Leaving your child with a babysitter before separation anxiety begins can help get them comfortable and used to your returning – which helps them feel secure about being left. So, if you’re comfortable leaving you little one for a couple of hours try a few trial runs in daytime hours so they get to learn that you always return
Ask to meet up first and agree terms. It’s quite common to ask a sitter if they can meet up at your home before they sit for you, but do be fair and offer to pay them for their time. It’s also a good opportunity to discuss the detail of their terms and yours. Chances are they’ll have told you their hourly rate before you meet up but when you do meet you can go over extra questions such as whether you need to cover a taxi fare home? Their rates after midnight? Expectations about rounding up the next quarter or half hour. Likewise ask about their daytime rates – if your children are up playing and/or you’ve an older child who wants daytime help with homework or the likes, your sitter will likely command more than in the evenings when they arrive to find your children tucked up asleep.
Ask anything you like. You need to feel comfortable with the sitter you’ve chose so don’t be shy about asking for the information you need to feel comfortable with the sitter. For example, you’ll want to agree if you’re happy about them bringing their friend, boyfriend or girlfriend over. Your requests and questions are unlikely to surprise your babysitter so ask away.
On the night, book earlier than you need them. If your child is going to be awake when you leave book your sitter 30 minutes earlier, so you can all get settled in.
Don’t forget the detail. Of course you’ll want to leave emergency contact information with your sitter, but don’t forget the familiarities that are naturally comforting to you and your family. Leave out favourite books, music, calming toys and maybe even foods just in case they could do with a distraction.
Stay close to home. You might all feel happier when you’re using a sitter for the first time to keep local.
Relax. Okay we know… it is easier said than done, but you can prepare to make it as easy as you can for your child, the sitter, and yourselves but the truth is that at some point you have to give it a go!