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Finding the right babysitter is a tough decision that parents sometimes have to go through. Having a personal babysitter to care for your children while you’re away is important to have incase a family emergency comes up, going to work for short while like on weekends, having date night with a significant other, or simply needing a little breather from the kids and having some alone time. It’s okay to want to be away from the kids for a while because everyone needs to have personal quality time to relax. This doesn’t mean that you don’t love your kids, but rather builds self-confidence, time to think, and recuperate your energy.

Your best bet for finding a reliable babysitter is through recommendations from family and friends that you trust. According to the American Red Cross, parents should find someone who is older than 11 yrs. Old. Find someone who is mature, trustworthy, honest, reliable, and good with children. It’s also helpful to ask for a resume, have a background check done, infant CPR and first aid certified, and have a practice babysitting run with the babysitter and your children together while you are still at home in order to get a feel about how he/she handles certain situations. Here are some questions to ask to potential babysitters (Baby Center Medical Board Staff, 2006):

  1. Why do you like working with children?
  2. What do you like best about babysitting?
  3. Do you know the steps to take during infant or toddler choking?
  4. Do you know what to do incase of fire or other emergencies?
  5. Are you willing to play board games with the kids instead of letting them watch TV the whole time?
  6. Do you have any personal habits like smoking or drinking?

Remember to let the babysitter know of any household rules and of your own expectations. Here are some rules for the babysitter to follow (KidsHealth.Org, 2009):

  • Go over your child’s usual routine (homework, bedtime, and mealtime) and your general house rules, including any limits on TV, computer use, video games, playing outside, etc.
  • Make sure the sitter knows where you will be and how to reach you at all times, and under what circumstances to call 911 before contacting you.
  • Point out where the sitter can find the number for the poison control center, which is 1-800-222-1222 (it should be posted in a prominent location).
  • Make sure the sitter knows whom to contact in an emergency. Provide an emergency phone list that includes neighbors, friends, relatives, and your doctor. Write your own phone number and address on the list, so that in case of an emergency, the sitter can give that information to the 911 operator.
  • Show the babysitter the location of all emergency exits, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers. Demonstrate how to enable and disable security systems and alarms if you have them.
  • Show the sitter where you keep the inside door keys in case a child locks himself or herself inside a room.
  • Let the sitter know of any special problems your child may have, such as an allergy to bee stings, certain foods, or household products, or the need for medication at a specific time (explain and write down the directions).
  • Review your first-aid kit with the sitter.
  • Teach kids the meaning of 911 and how to call for help, so that if something happens to your babysitter, they know what to do.
  • Have an emergency contact list available at all times. This website provides an emergency contact information sheet that you can print out at home:

http://kidshealth.org/PageManager.jsp?lic=1&article_set=29950&cat_id=20221

Reference:

Baby Center Medical Board Staff (2006). Using a babysitter. Baby Center LLC. Retrieved from http://www.babycenter.com/0_using-a-babysitter_44.bc

KidsHealth.Org (2009). Choosing a instructing a babysitter. Kids Health from Nemours: The Nemours Foundation. Retrieved from http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/babysitter.html


Information on this site is intended for Angel Kids Pediatrics patients only. Always consult your doctor before beginning, modifying, or discontinuing any treatment plan.

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