Sunday, December 31, 2006

Creating A Notebook for the Sitter

When you have a babysitter coming over, it is important to walk a fine line on instructions. When you have a baby, though, you will be tempted to cross the side of the line that overloads the sitter with too much information. You probably took great pains to find a good sitter for your baby, and you should feel confident in that decision. If you do not, then either you should trust your instinct and not get this sitter, or you should give yourself a very small experience with the sitter. Go out for coffee for an hour before you jump into dinner and a movie.

At any rate, you will need to give your sitter information about the baby and where you will be. The problem with many parents is that they give the sitter too much information, so he or she cannot remember or find everything when needed. You can avoid this dilemma by setting up a babysitter notebook days before the sitter will arrive. This notebook will save you oodles of time later on, so it is worth the hour or so that it will take now to set it up.

You should get a small folder or binder. Then you will need to put information on the first sheet about your baby. Include her full name (for correct spelling purposes), her date of birth, and any allergies she may have. You also may want to put down anything special about the baby, such as that he cannot sleep without the increasingly ragged yellow bear in his crib. Just avoid putting a laundry list of things your baby does or does not like. The sitter will figure most of them out on her own. You also should include bedtime for the baby as well as a rough feeding schedule even if it is only to say that she eats every three hours. Then you can tell the sitter the exact time when he arrives.

The next sheet should be for medical emergencies. Make a copy of the front and back of your insurance card and write the name and phone number of your pediatrician at the bottom. On the next page, you should include the hospital where you want your baby to go should anything happen. Also write directions to your home from the closest hospitals in case your sitter needs to call 911. Put your full street address at the top of the page so that it is easily accessible.

The next page should have phone numbers for three to five friends and relatives to be reached in any urgent situation. You should include people you know are likely to be home and who have some experience with babies. These people should be able to give your sitter an idea what to do in any type of basic situation, such as a cut that is bleeding badly or vomiting. The sitter may feel more comfortable calling someone else and asking, or you may be unavailable. Let these people know that you have give out their number in case they get a call.

Finally you should create a template that you can complete each time you have a sitter. In actuality, you probably should put this sheet first as it will be the one the sitter will most likely use. You would have your name and cell phone number on the sheet. Then have fill in the blank sentences that tell where you will be going, at roughly what times, and the telephone numbers at the places you will visit. Also include a section for notes, which is where you could put that the baby is teething and the location of the Orajel and other similar information. Just be sure that you put only important notes, or they could get lost among all of the other information.

This five-page notebook is all you need for your sitter. He does not need to know every quirk that your baby has or have access to your entire family history to be able to keep your baby for a few hours. If you are really worried, you can include a signed certificate to permit the sitter to seek medical treatment, but in an emergency, you should be fine.

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