Childcare Checklist: What to Share with the Babysitter

childcareAs a parent, it can be difficult to leave the house on your own, as it requires you to hand over the reins of childcare responsibility. Whether it's a daily sitter so you can go to work, a weekly gig, so you can have a date night, or just a special once-in-a-while need, leaving your kid with a babysitter is a tough task. Once you've found a good one you trust, make sure she is has all the necessary knowledge and tools to keep your child's safety and well-being top of mind. Here is a checklist of what you should review with your sitter before you put your child in her care:

Personal Contact Information

Make sure your babysitter has contact information for you. This includes home phone, work phone, cell phone and the number of where you'll be. Make sure the list is legible and easy to access. Post the list on the inside of a cupboard door with other essential sitter information. Include a number of personal contacts, such as family members, in case she has any urgent questions that may not fall under the category of an emergency.

Emergency Contact Information

Equip your sitter with the contact information for emergency services for your area, which includes poison control, fire, police, doctor and hospital numbers. Print out a map of the nearest hospital with directions, so she knows how to find medical help. Also post a print out of your address, accompanied with a map, in case your sitter must relay directions to the local authorities or medical personnel. Provide the names and numbers of a couple local contacts, like a neighbor or close-by friend, in case there are non-life-threatening emergencies that require assistance. Check out this handy info sheet for guidance.

House & Security Information

Take your sitter on a tour through your home. Provide her with instructions for the various appliances and tools. Specific appliances that require additional safety considerations are the garbage disposal, space heaters, clothes dryer, extension cords and any sharp kitchen tools. Review the specifics of your home security technology with your sitter. Home monitoring provides an extra sense of security, and security cameras are available in many styles. Show her the areas that these cameras monitor and teach her how she can check the live feeds. If you want her to set the alarm at any time, relay security codes for your system as well.

Health & Food Information

If your child has any food allergies, post a list on the fridge for your sitter. FoodAllergy.org provides useful reference sheets and in-depth information on allergy cross-contact dangers and symptoms of an allergic reaction. If you have a younger child, also include on the list any food that may pose choking hazards. Write out the specific foods that your child may or may not have - a clear list will ensure the sitter won't forget. Include in your instructions, if applicable, any necessary preparation information for formula or milk. Review bathing instructions with your sitter and show her the specific soaps and ointments you have for your child. Discuss bath safety information and your child's bathing routine with them, as well.

Activity Schedule

Your child will feel more at ease with a sitter if she stays true to the normal routine. Create a written timeline of mealtimes, bathing times and bedtimes. Elaborate on the bedtime routine for your child, so your sitter and your little one can easily get through without you. Include a list of games and activities that your child enjoys and show your sitter where these are located. If your child has a special blanket or stuffed animal he uses as a security object, make sure your sitter is informed about them. Include these on your list of your child's behavioral tendencies, so your sitter knows how to adequately handle any turbulent emotional situations that may arise.