Monday, October 31, 2005

Non-Emergency Information For The Sitter

Besides the emergency information, there are details you need to share with your sitter. While you should tell him or her the most important of these points in person, you cannot expect someone to remember everything. If you want to make notes, there are some key topics you should include. Just remember not to overload the sitter with information, or it will be hard to make it through it all.

You definitely want to include information about food, especially if you have a baby. You need to let your sitter know specific foods baby can have. Also point out information about what he or she cannot have. Many parents allow their babies to have Cheerios or other cereals, for instance. That does not mean they can have milk, so you need to make that clear. If your baby has any known allergies, you should include that information as well. With babies, it is best to get the foods you expect the baby to eat out before you leave and to ask the sitter to feed baby only food on your list.

Don't forget that the sitter will want to eat, too! If you are doing something such as giving her money to order pizza, make that clear. Otherwise, you should say where snacks or food to cook for dinner is kept. If you want to ask him not to eat certain foods, be sure to put that with your information. (You really should avoid this technique unless it is something you are planning to cook in the next day or so.)

Bedtime is another key issue for sitters. Include information about baby's bedtime and the routine you have. If baby has a certain stuffed animal she loves or if he wants a certain book read, then you need to get that out before the sitter arrives and put it on the information form you leave. Also let the sitter know if there are any special things to do, such as rocking baby or giving a pacifier for bedtime.

If you are specific about television, you need to let the sitter know. Some sitters, typically very young ones, will think that they can watch television indiscriminately because baby cannot understand what is going on. If you don't agree with that idea, then you need to your sitter know. Be specific about what is okay and not and whether baby is permitted to watch television at all. Let the sitter know what other "fun" stuff there is. If your baby has games or songs or other favorite activities, then you need to let the sitter know about them. You want to help them pass the time and have fun.

You also should include information about what the sitter is permitted to do, such as talk on the phone or use your computer. Do not assume that he or she will share your boundaries. Be sure to include information on your limits so that there are no conflicts later on because your sitter was on the Internet, and you don't approve. Giving your sitter the appropriate information will help you to be sure that your baby is in good hands.

By Julia Mercer

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