babysitter saying hello to mother and child

What Can – and Should – I Expect of My Babysitter?

Different families – and certainly different children – have very different needs. While there are basic tasks you can realistically expect of your babysitter, it is always advised to carefully go through all expectations and house rules to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

 

Things You Can Expect of Your Babysitter

You and your babysitter need to have an open, honest conversation and agree upon the responsibilities that are required of them. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • Changing diapers and preparing bottles for younger children
  • Helping older kids with homework
  • Transporting kids (picking them up from school, and taking them to or fetching them from extracurricular activities)
  • Making snacks
  • Entertaining the kids or providing basic lessons (playtime, reading, etc.)
  • Clearing up dishes and play areas
  • Getting the children ready for bed

 

Depending on your arrangement with your babysitter, tasks can also include cooking, cleaning, and other household chores. However, this should only be expected when agreed upon beforehand.

 

Things Your Babysitter Should Know

A good parent/babysitter relationship goes both ways. Help your babysitter do their best job by sharing the following with them:

  • Any allergies or illnesses your children may have, and what to do in case of an emergency related to these conditions
  • Your contact numbers and the contact numbers of neighbours and/or relatives
  • If possible, a landline number for where you will be while they are babysitting
  • Emergency contact numbers for your area, including the police, fire brigade, ambulance, doctor, dentist, and poison control
  • Your physical address – remember that in an emergency, your babysitter may not know your street address by heart
  • Where to find all exits from your house, the main power board, first aid kit, the water shut-off valve, and a flashlight
  • What to do if your child breaks a rule or misbehaves
  • Food and drink schedule – when do they usually eat and what snacks are they allowed to have
  • Activity schedule – kids are most comfortable when they stick to their familiar routine
  • A list of basic stuff and where to find it, like extra clothes, pajamas, toys and books, and bath supplies
  • Your house rules, including whether the babysitter is allowed to have friends over, which rooms are off limits, foods that are not allowed, what TV shows/movies they are allowed to see or not see, bath time, bedtime, etc.

 

Ultimately, it comes down to good communication. The more you and your babysitter communicate, the better understanding they will have, and the more your expectations will be met, resulting in a happier, healthier household.

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