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Tips for Leaving Your Children With a Babysitter

21 July 2010 25 Comments

I know in these tough economic times hiring a babysitter is a luxury. However, I think it is important to make room in your budget for date nights because a healthy marriage = a healthy family. If your kids aren’t use to having a babysitter here are a few tips to help everyone be better prepared.

If time allows, have the babysitter meet your children before the actual outing. Personally, I wouldn’t want someone babysitting my kids who was a total stranger, but sometimes that happens.

If at all possible start by leaving for shorter periods of time so your child and the care giver get use to each other.

Tell your children in advance that you will be spending the evening out and that someone will be coming to care for them.

Write everything down for the sitter. Important phone numbers, bedtime schedules, chores, and television or computer rules should all be on paper so there are no questions.  If you allow your children to pick the peas out of their tuna casserole make sure the care giver knows details like this as well. Remind your children that all this information has been made available to the caregiver so they are less likely to try and “get away” with something.

Leave a clean home. Many times I have heard parents complaining about coming home to a messy home after a sitter, only to find out they left the home messy to begin with. You are hiring a caregiver not a maid. If you would like your house picked up too make sure you discuss that with your sitter before you leave.

Be on time. If you hired your sitter for three hours, return in three hours. If extenuating circumstances cause you to be late, consider that overtime and pay your sitter accordingly.

Relax. Don’t call your home repeatedly while you are out checking on the kids. The caregiver is busy with your kids and constant phone calls make their job harder.

Have fun!

Visit The Happy Housewife for more tips on how to make it easy for someone to watch your children. 

Toni Anderson is a member of the BornFree Mom Panel.

Contest! In the comments below, share your tip for leaving your little one with a babysitter or family member. One person who comments will win a BornFree BPA-Free Twist N’Pop Straw Cup !

If you click “Share on Facebook” leave a bonus comment telling us you shared. You can also obtain a bonus entry by emailing moms@newbornfree.com. Good luck!

Update! The winner is Amanda with the email address: m********@yahoo.com


  • Alison Weiner said:

    We write everything down and sometimes give my son a new toy or book we have been storing away for a special time. We don’t do it often but some nights he needs a little extra!

  • Erin said:

    My biggest tip is to have about 10 minutes where you can stay while the child get acclimated to the sitter. All three or four of you can sit down and play with a favorite toy, and once the child is distracted, so goodbye in a very nonchalant way.

  • Adrienne Dollyhigh said:

    A babysitter would indeed be a luxury in my house. Maybe someday…

  • Kerry Roop said:

    I have 3 girls and all they want is to play dress up and paint each others nails! So I think its important to have a sitter that can relate with the activities the the kids will want to do!! A guy sitter will just never work for us!

  • Jody said:

    When my husband and I have date night, we usually try to leave the girls with my parents. They love them and are very comfortable with them. I usually leave myself some extra time when dropping them off to say goodbye and get my youngest interested in a toy :)

  • Corinne Reese said:

    make sure it’s someone you trust. This seems obvious, but the best part about it is that while you are out, you won’t be worrying about if the kids are ok.

  • Ashley said:

    I have only left them with my parents or other family members so far. It is what I am confortable with and the kids are comfortable as well. Just do what feels right for you and your family!

  • MarLibu said:

    So far i have only left my baby with my parents. We always spend some time with her before we leave her.

  • Rebecca O'Brien said:

    My tips would be….
    Make a few playdates at the care givers home or center before leaving your child there,so your child can get used to the surroundings, the caregiver and othe children and the caregiver can get to know your child.
    Take along his/her special toy, blanket, bottle,nuk, anything that makes them feel at ease (and hope you get it back at the end of the day)LOL!
    Take along a small keycahin size photo of yourself for your child, it really helps with seperation anxiety.
    EMERGENCY NUMBERS!! This will not only help your caregiver, but it will give you peace of mind. We all know anything can happen and it’s better to be prepared!

  • Jaren Taubert said:

    I only leave my son wit my husbands parents. No one in my family helps and I don’t think he would stay with them anyway. He usually stays Saturday nights with them. I feel guilty for leavin him but it is nice to have a mommy minute or time wit the husband.

  • Amanda said:

    good tips for this first time mom! I am nervous about everything this first time around. thanks for the advice!

  • Katy Galloway said:

    I have a 5 month old daughter and so far I have only left her for a very few hours no more than 3 hours with family members like only twice a month. I know my family members will take good care of her but I’m always worried and also feeling guilty. A good tip I have is to plan in advance and take everything they will need to care for you little one with you. I will also be reading others advice….:)

  • Katy Galloway said:

    I shared on Facebook :)

  • Lauren said:

    well my husband and i never go out without our baby – we only have once on my birthday and just talked about him and missed him and felt guilty the entire time! but family is ALWAYS the best way to go – they are the only ones I will ever fully trust! because i know they love him as much as i do.

  • Anna said:

    Print out all your contact details and any special info for the sitter eg allergies, bedtimes etc, and then place it in a frame by the phone. This way you won’t lose it, and you can use a whiteboard marker to write any extra info you need to directly on the glass.

  • Alison said:

    We always make sure the kids (2 and 4) are acclimated to the sitter (even if it’s grandparents or close friends) before we leave – and make sure the sitters know where everything is the kids may need.

  • Natalie said:

    I posted on facebook :)

  • Amanda said:

    We are blessed to have family close who watch our kids. But on the occassion that they are not available I try to have acitivities planned for the kids and sitter to do together that evening. Either a craft, a movie or a game with everything ready to go when the babysitter arrives.

  • Amanda said:

    Shared on fcbk and sent an email! :) Thanks!!

  • brittany b said:

    a break could definately be used at some point as a mother. i have a very close motherly bond with my 9 month old daughter and im very cautious of who is in her surroundings. Family is great when it comes to maybe running to the store to grab something but i couldnt leave her for an everyday thing. i take her for family visits all the time but i like staying home with her and caring for her by myself. i like the bonding time i get to spend with her. shes such a happy little girl and i couldnt imagine losing the one on one time i get with her throughout the day :)

  • K. O'Connell said:

    Make sure you leave good snacks. A fed babysitter is a happy babysitter!

  • Elizabeth Keller said:

    We have an easy sheet preprinted with all of the normal babysitter info (closet hospital, er number, bedtimes, allergies, etc) and have the very last lines labeled “Where we will be” “Number you can reach us at” “Neighbors” “Emergency Contact if you are unable to reach us” which we fill out beforehand. We just print a copy for the sitter and viola! Everything she/he needs to know. At the top is a generic medical statment that will allow the sitter to take your child to the hospital. Don’t always assume that putting both of your cell numbers is good enough. Movies – phones are silent (don’t always feel vibrate). Phones die (mine always seems to). Bad cell. Anything can happen and the sitter needs to know where you’re going in case she can call you there and the name/number of someone close (like grandma, godparent, best friend) who can meet you at the hospital in an emergency.

  • Elizabeth Keller said:

    Shared on FB!

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