Finally getting a night out with your spouse away from the kids? The last thing you want to worry about is your new babysitter. Instead of leaving things up to chance, set up your new babysitter for success. Check out these new babysitter tips and prepare in advance detailed instructions for your time away.
Items to Prepare for the New Babysitter
Here are some new babysitter tips of items to prepare in advance. Be specific if you want things done a certain way. Do not leave them up to chance or assume they will be done as you would do them.
Use this template to write out instructions that will guide your babysitter through their time with your kids. After the event, make any notes on the sheet that you want to change for next time. If there is nothing you want to change keep your babysitter instructions for the future so you don’t need to write out new instructions next time.
Plan ahead, prepare these things, and try these new babysitter tips to make for an easier night for you, your babysitter and your kids.
Write Out a Routine or Schedule
It is helpful for a new babysitter to have a schedule to follow with the kids. Have a schedule they can easily follow. Include when the baby or kids should eat, sleep, diaper change, do this or that, when watching tv is ok, etc. More details on specific routines are laid out below.
Food and Drinks
One of biggest questions new babysitters have is what should the baby or kids eat.
Write down detailed instructions when it comes to your baby and eating. Answer these eating questions as you are writing new babysitter tips down.
- What should the baby eat? Prepare the food in advance and set out anything you can instead of making them go in the pantry to find it.
- When and how often should the baby eat? Write down what time the baby should eat or give time increments. Here is an example of what to write down: Carter last ate at 4pm. He will eat every 2-3 hours. So he will next need to eat in between 6 or 7pm.
- How to know when the baby is ready to eat? (what cues will he/she show?) Each baby can be different when showing they are ready to eat. They might put their fingers in their mouth or smack their lips. Let the babysitter know what to watch for so they aren’t in a situation where the baby is screaming because he is ready to eat.
- Write down bottle preparation instructions. Be clear on how to prepare and warm up bottles. For instance, I would write specifically Do not heat the bottle in the microwave. Breast milk cannot be heated in the microwave so I would want to leave those clear instructions.
- How to burp your baby. Each baby can be different in how they burp. Some baby’s burp better up on the shoulder while others burp better sitting on your knee. Some burp 30 seconds after they eat while others may need pats on the back for 5-10 minutes afterwards.
If your kids are a little bit older write down the answers to these questions:
- What should they eat for dinner?
- When should they eat dinner?
- What should they have to drink?
- Can they have snacks and which ones?
- What food/drink should they absolutely not have?
- Any other special instructions.
Here is an example of eating instructions for a 3 year old:
Carter can have the container of 6 chicken nuggets in the fridge. Heat the container up in the microwave for 30 seconds. He usually likes them with ketchup. There are carrots and strawberries in the drawer in the fridge he can have as sides. If he eats all his chicken nuggets and has 7 carrots and 7 strawberries he can have a cookie for dessert. Before bed Carter can have a snack. He can have pretzels or cheese crackers (both are on the side of fridge). He should not have anything to eat or drink after 8pm.
Writing these instructions down lets your babysitter know what to do. Also, what to look for, which will make sure your baby gets what they need. A new babysitter tip: Do not give your babysitter something difficult to prepare or do. If there are specific items you want the babysitter to eat or drink leave them out or make note of those on the babysitter’s information sheet. Have as much done and prepared for them to make it as easy as possible.
Lay Out Any Changes of Clothes
Another new babysitter tip is setting out everything the baby or kids should wear throughout the time with the babysitter. If the baby or kids are going to be going outside and need to change clothes lay them out. Lay out a jacket and hat if it is going to be chilly. Get out the shoes you want them to wear and extras like sunscreen or sunglasses. Make sure to note any special instructions for going outside like staying in the back yard, or what to use if going for a walk.
If the babysitter is going to be putting the baby or kids to bed layout what pajamas they should wear. Lay out an extra change of clothes and underwear in case there is a bathroom accident or the clothes got dirty. Do not leave what your kids wear to chance, lay out every piece of clothing they may need.
Sleeping and Bedtime
If the babysitter has to put the kids to bed include their specific bedtime routine. Write out the the exact order things are done, what time to start the routine, and what the sleep area should look like. Also include what they should expect after putting the baby or kid to bed like if they cry or how long it takes to fall asleep.
Bedtime routine specifics could include the following:
- Getting pajamas on
- Having a snack
- Taking a bath
- Reading a book
- Brushing teeth
- Changing a diaper
- Going to the bathroom
- Watching something specific
Other parts of the bedtime routine include what the sleep space looks like. This includes things like the following:
- Do they sleep with a night light?
- Is there a sound machine?
- Should a humidifier be turned on?
- Do they sleep with a nuk, blanket, or stuffed animal?
- Is their a sound or video monitor to turn on?
- Do they have their door open or closed?
If the baby or child will be taking a nap, go through the same specifics as above and include where, when, and typically how long they nap.
Note Special & Emergency Instructions
Have emergency information and instructions ready and accessible for your babysitter. I always have my emergency information sheet on the back of the babysitter notes. I put them both in a page protector sleeve. The babysitter notes is face up and on the back side is the emergency information sheet. Click here to get a blank copy of the emergency information sheet I use for my family. Here is what a sample emergency information sheet looks like.
In addition, I keep an emergency information sheet with my first aid kit and medicine cabinet. For more tips on how to make a home first aid kit click here. We always want to prepare as best as possible for an emergency. We do not want anyone to go into a panic and have to try figure out who to call or what to do.
List any other special instructions that the babysitter will have to follow. Some examples that could fall into this category would be any medications they may have to give the child, or allergies they may have. Note things kids afraid of, what they will try get away with. Write out if you have an absolutely NO list.
Furthermore, note what stage your baby is at. Like can they sit on their own, are they mobile, crawling, or walking. If you have a mobile baby let a babysitter know to keep gates closed and always have an eye on them. There should be no paper, drinks, food or other items they can’t have near them.
Toileting Tips for the Babysitter
Another area that can raise lots of questions for a new babysitter is the bathroom. Again, give as much detail as possible and lay out items they will need. Have enough diapers, wipes, cream, all laid out ready to use.
Write down the following items regarding your baby and toileting:
- What kind of diapers you use. Do you use disposable diapers or cloth diapers.
- Where to change diapers. Let the babysitter know where to change diapers. Example: There is a changing table in the baby’s bedroom down the hall.
- How often diapers should be changed. Write down how often to change diapers, when they last were changed and if they might have a BM. For example: Carter was last changed at 3:30pm and should be changed every 2-3 hours. He did not have a BM yet today, so he may have one yet today.
- Add any special instructions. Does the baby need diaper cream on after a change? Add anything extra they may need to know.
Make sure to note any toileting instructions for toddler or youth children. Here is some potential items to note:
- Is your child potty trained?
- Do they need help wiping if they BM?
- How to know when they have to go. Do they need to ask the child every hour if they need to go potty? Does the child do a potty dance?
- Potty routine. This can include making sure they flush, wash hands with soap, dry hands well.
- Any special instructions.
Give the Babysitter Activity Ideas
You know your kids the best and what they enjoy doing. Set your babysitter up for success by giving the babysitter a list of things he/she can do with the kids. Include things inside and outside (if allowed/weather permitting) and in different rooms of the house. Give the new babysitter tips by listing the kids favorite toys and favorite activities.
To make it easier on the babysitter and you as parents give ideas that will not make a mess or lead to potential bad situations. Give many options as it is hard to predict how kids will respond to a new babysitter. They may be shy or try to get away with more since mom and dad are gone. The babysitter does not know what you allow and do not allow so let them know. Note if the child has been into anything lately or what their favorite toys are or things to play.
Here is a list of some activity ideas for a new babysitter:
- Play board or card games
- Work on puzzles
- Color pictures, coloring books
- Read books
- Play pretend or dress up
- Put on a play
- Play outside games
If the kids may watch tv, or for after the kids go to bed, leave the TV and TV remote instructions. Also, leave any instructions related to when it gets dark out – where the light switches are, etc.
Prepare the House for a New Babysitter
A new babysitter tip that will make life easier when you get home is to prepare your house for the babysitter before you leave. Here is a list of items to complete for a babysitter-ready home.
- Put things away you don’t want your kids to play with while you not home. This could be something that is messy or requires lots of set up or clean up. Maybe it is something that your child tends to misbehave with and you do not want to take any chances.
- Put things away you would not want a babysitter to see. Of course you trust your babysitter otherwise you would have not hired them to watch your children. However, there maybe sensitive information you don’t want them to see just laying out. This could include mail, bank statements, check stubs, money, passwords or any financial or private documents.
- Make sure paper products and disposable items are stocked up. This would include toilet paper, kleenex, paper towel, and hand soap.
- Make sure windows and window coverings are how you want them. The thermostat is set to how you want it.
- Have your house picked up and clutter free.
Prepare Your Kids for a New Babysitter
All babies and kids may react differently to a new babysitter. Kids may be excited to have someone new to play with. On the other hand, they may be nervous or anxious to meet someone new. Not to mention staying with them for a period of time without you. A baby could be going through separation anxiety. They may not want you to leave, so you may have to sneak out.
To help ease the kids into a new babysitter (if they are 3 or older), go over with them who is coming over and what they will do together. Talk to your kids how to treat a babysitter and behavior expectations. You know your kids best, so prepare them as best you see fit for a new babysitter.
Go over with your kids what to do in case of emergency. This is good practice to do outside of a new babysitter coming, but a time for a good reminder.
Check In With a New Babysitter
Another new babysitter tip is to check in with the babysitter throughout your time away. While going over instructions let the sitter know you will check in with them and ask the preferred method of communication. After an hour or so check in with them to make sure all is ok. Ask them how the child is doing and if there are any questions they have. Make them feel at ease that you are there to support them.
End of the Night New Babysitter Tips and Feedback
There are some good ways to end a day or night with a new babysitter.
Pay your babysitter when you get home. Unless they are babysitting for you consecutive days or all week during a school break or summer vacation and you told them this upfront they would get paid on the last day or end of the week, pay your babysitter on the day they did the job. They provided you with a service so they should be paid for their work. Know how much how you are going to pay per hour before getting home. This way you can pay them as soon as you walk in the door and don’t have an awkward time trying to figure out how much to give them.
If you are unsure what to pay a babysitter you should ask around to your friends, neighbors, or coworkers what they pay their babysitters. It is your choice what to pay or if you want to pay extra for a job well done. Be prepared as some babysitters may ask what you pay per hour.
What to Ask a New Babysitter When You Get Home
As a parent I always want to know all the details on how a time went with a new babysitter. This is a person I trusted to watch and protect my babies for me so I want to know what all happened while I was gone.
One way to ask about the time while gone is to go through the list you left them.
- Ask how they ate
- When they ate
- What activities they played
- How many times they went potty
- How the bedtime routine went
- What time they went to bed
- How the no list or off limit areas went
Some more general questions to ask are how their behavior was, or if there were any issues or concerns. If a baby was watched ask the last time they were changed and fed to know when to expect to do it next.
What to Ask Your Child After the Babysitter Leaves or the Next Morning
If your child is 3 or older ask for their feedback on the new babysitter. It is important to figure out if your child likes them, you like them, you trust them, and want them back again.
You can ask your child things like:
- Did you have fun with the babysitter?
- What did you do with the babysitter?
- What did you have to eat?
- Did you like the babysitter? Why or why not?
- Do you want them to come watch you again? Why or why not?
While it is fresh on everyone’s mind ask questions and determine if you want this babysitter to watch your kids again. Then add them to your Babysitter contact list and make appropriate notes if you want to hire them again.
New Babysitter Tips Final Thoughts
A new babysitter can be hard on everyone. At least after one event they are not new any more and everyone should know what to expect. Use these new babysitter tips to ease your mind and set the babysitter up for success. In the end, as long as the kids are safe and happy that is what matters most.