Having a babysitter checklist is the perfect way to make sure your sitter has all the information they’ll need at their fingertips. When taking care of children—knowledge is power. What and when should they eat? When is bedtime? How much screen time is appropriate and who should be called in an emergency? You know how long it took you to learn what works, and it’s important to pass this on to caretakers to have peace of mind that your kids are safe and having fun while you’re out.
A comprehensive and helpful checklist will give you something to go through with the babysitter when he or she arrives. Whether you are leaving your kids for an evening or a long weekend, you can use this checklist to make sure everything is set in place while you are away:
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the following list of information should always be left with a babysitter:
- Parents phone numbers
- Neighbors phone numbers
- Poison Help Line (1-800-222-1222)
- Home phone
- Home address
Checklist for Parents:
- Meet the sitter and check references and training in advance.
- Be certain the sitter has had first aid training and knows CPR.
- Be sure the babysitter is at least 13 years old and mature enough to handle common emergencies.
- Have the sitter spend time with you before babysitting to meet the children and learn their routines.
- Show the sitter around the house.
- Point out fire escape routes and potential problem areas. Instruct the sitter to leave the house right away in case of fire and to call the fire department from a neighbor’s house or cell phone.
- Discuss feeding, bathing, and sleeping arrangements for your children.
- Tell your sitter of any allergies or specific needs your children have. Leave a note with your children’s dates of birth and approximate weights in case these are needed by medical professionals.
- Have emergency supplies available including a flashlight, first aid chart, and first aid supplies.
- Tell the sitter where you will be and when you will return.
- Be sure any guns are stored unloaded in a locked cabinet, and lock and store the ammunition in a separate place..
Provide and install appropriate car safety seats and booster seats if the sitter will need to drive the children in a car.
Checklist for Babysitters:
- Be prepared for an emergency.
- Always call or text for help if there are any problems or questions.
- Never open the door to strangers.
- Never leave the children alone in the house – even for a minute.
- Never give the children any medicine or food unless instructed to do so by the parents.
- Be patient with a child who is unhappy or who cries when the parents leave. Try a different activity, read a book to the child, or suggest playing in the yard.
- If a baby is crying and cannot be soothed, it is OK to put the baby in a safe place, like a crib, and walk away for a few minutes.
More Checklist Tips:
Contact information for you and your partner
Have your sitter put your and your partner’s cell phone numbers in his or her phone. If you’re a single parent, provide your sitter with the phone number of someone trusted and local who they can call if you can’t be reached. If you don’t text, let your sitters know so they don’t send you messages and then wonder why you don’t respond.
Emergency contact information
Post a list somewhere obvious – like on the fridge or by your landline phone, if you have one – with fire, police, doctor, poison control, and hospital numbers. If your children have specific medical insurance numbers, provide those as well. If you’re going out of town or won’t be accessible, it’s smart to designate one or two neighbors, friends, or relatives as local contacts. Leave their names, numbers, and addresses. That way your sitter has someone to turn to in case of minor mishaps, such as a pet that gets loose or a power outage. Also, leave your street address (including floor and unit, if you’re in an apartment) to give to fire, police, or medical personnel in an emergency.
A mapped escape route
In case of fire or some other crisis that requires hasty evacuation, your sitter should be aware of all the possible exits from your house. Also make sure she knows where to find the fire extinguisher, the first-aid kit, the circuit breaker, the water shutoff, and a flashlight.
Medical information about your baby
If your child has any allergies or other medical conditions or needs to take medication, tell your sitter about it in advance. Also spell out any additional health problems – such as a bad case of diaper rash or a tendency to spit up food. Also, just in case you or your contact person can’t be found in an emergency, leave a healthcare authorization form that allows your babysitter or childcare provider to get medical attention for your child.
Food and drink list
Don’t leave this to chance. Your sitter may not be aware of foods that pose choking hazards. Leave specific instructions outlining what your baby can and can’t eat and drink. And if the sitter will be preparing formula or giving your baby expressed breast milk, explain exactly how to do it.
Your baby will feel more comfortable sticking to his usual routine, so let your sitter know what time he eats his meals, when he goes to bed, and how his bedtime routine works. If you usually read to him from a particular book, for example, let them know and leave it out where it’s easy to find.
Finally, it’s wise to let your sitter know about any special words for favorite toys or security objects.