Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Hiring a Sitter? Go Easy on Yourself!

Many parents feel anxiety when having to leave children with a babysitter whether a new sitter or someone who has watched the children in the past. The anxiety level escalates when a baby is involved. There are things to do to perhaps lower that stress level a little bit so take all the steps you need to take to be able to feel better about bringing in a sitter for the baby.

One great way to feel more confident about the whole matter if you need to go out is to make sure the sitter is equipped with everything he or she needs to know in the case of an emergency. A good way to do this is to make a list with vital information and keep it in a good location in the house. Better yet, make a few copies to put out when a sitter will be in the house and post them in various locations.

So what should these lists contain? First of all it should include your name and address. That may sound silly since you already met and hired the sitter and he or she already came to your house. But did you introduce yourself with first and last name? Did the sitter remember it? Did they find your home by the actual address or just "the big blue house at the end of Elm Street?" Your name and address need to be known in the case of an emergency where the sitter would need to call emergency personnel.

Second thing that should be on the list is the baby's medical needs if any. List any allergies you know of, and any medical conditions. If there would be a health emergency before you would have a chance to get back home, the sitter would have to know those things.

Add phone numbers to the list. This would include not only your cell phone, but the number of the place where you can be located. Include a number of a family member that is close enough in location to be able to help if needed. Add the number of a neighbor or two after checking with them first to alert them you will be doing that.

Other phone numbers on the list should include police, ambulance, fire company (all vital in areas that do not yet implement the 911 system.) The phone number for the baby's doctor needs to be on the list. The phone number of your own home should be on the list as well. Don't forget the number for the poison control center.

In addition to having a list of vital information as mentioned, be sure to show the sitter where certain things are located before you leave the house. This includes things such as where the exits to the outside are located, where to find candles and matches to light them, and where all the telephones in the house are located. If you live in a tornado prone area, show the sitter how to find the basement.

Other things to remember are just basics such as telling the sitter what the baby's routine is. With these things taken care of your day or night having to be away from the baby should be a little more enjoyable for you.