Babysitter Checklist 1-2-3

A babysitter checklist is a valuable tool to have, whether you're hiring your very first sitter, using a substitute sitter or starting someone new. It can be as simple as a single sheet of paper taped to the refrigerator or cupboard, or it can be a more elaborate setup, indexed and contained in a three-ring binder.

Few of us can remember every relevant piece of information when giving a new sitter a tour of the home. Bringing your babysitting checklist along will remind you of important things to explain. Leaving a copy behind provides detailed instructions to your sitter, as well as a resource to consult should something unexpected happen. 

Here are some key things to include in your babysitter checklist:

  • Emergency Numbers: Always have emergency numbers at the top of the list. Include fire, police, ambulance and poison control, as well as the number of a nearby family member, neighbor or friend who can be called for assistance.
  • Contact Numbers: Provide work and home numbers and cell phone numbers for yourself, grandparents and neighbors. Always include the number of the locations where you'll be while the sitter is at your home. Your cell phone battery could die or your phone might get switched off. Leaving the number of the places you'll be provides another way for your sitter to contact you.
  • Home Address: Don't assume that your sitter knows this; during an emergency, the mind can go blank. Some communities have unusual addresses that could mean minutes spent looking for the house during an emergency. Post it clearly so that the sitter can provide it to emergency personnel. If there's common confusion about how to get to your home, inlcude the needed directions, such as, "Bear left at the fork on Main Street."
  • Allergies: These should be bold or highlighted.
  • Medications: Leave specific dosing information. It is a good idea to have a log sheet to ensure that no doses are missed or duplicated.
  • Bedtimes and Rituals: If your daughter must sleep in the pink footie princess pajamas, or your son must have the nigh tlight on, make sure to include this information.
  • Special Snacks: Let your sitter know the rules for food. Is a snack ok before bedtime? Can the kids have a glass of soda? Be as specific as you can.
  • Pet Instructions: Do pets need to be let out? Brought in? Fed?
  • Alarm Codes: If you have an alarm system, provide detailed instructions on how to disable and enable it. If you have a 24-hour monitoring service, be sure that the sitter knows your code word, in case the alarm goes off accidentally.
  • TV Rules and Operation: Nothing frustrates a babysitter more then not being able to get your child's favorite DVD to play. List the steps for running the TV, DVD player and home theater receiver, if any. Set out your rules for TV time and what programming is appropriate.
  • Workers: If any maintenance workers are expected at the house, list the time of the appointment and the company tgat is coming. This eliminates the sitter being surprised when the plumber shows up or she fears opening the door up to strangers.

Be sure to update the list when phone numbers change and as rules or household conditions change.

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