Leaving your child with a babysitter can be a nerve-racking experience, especially in instances when you are going out of town. While there can be no way to ensure that an emergency won't arise, there are many things you can do to equip your babysitter to handle an array of possible situations. By leaving clear, detailed instructions with your babysitter, you can breathe a little easier knowing that she has all the knowledge she'll need to keep your child happy and safe while you're out of town.
Make a contact information sheet that includes cell phone numbers for you and your partner and the number where you'll be staying. Also provide your babysitter with the name, address and phone number of one or two relatives, neighbors or close friends she can contact in case you can't be reached. Local phone numbers for police, fire, hospital and poison control can also be included on this sheet.
Detail any medical information the babysitter might need to know about your child, such as food allergies or necessary medications. Inform her of any other health problems your child might have including asthma or diaper rash. Leave a photocopy of your child's health insurance card along with the name, address and phone number of his pediatrician. Depending on how long you'll be gone and how much trust you have in your babysitter, consider signing a health care authorization form that gives her permission to seek medical attention for your child.
Familiarize your babysitter with your child's daily schedule. For younger kids, this should include meal times, nap times and nighttime routines, such as whether or not he bathes or listens to a story before bedtime. For older kids, let your babysitter know about school drop-off and pick-up, when homework needs to be completed, and any extracurricular activities she might be involved in.
Notify your babysitter of any restrictions or limitation there may be for her or your child. Make sure she knows what foods your child can and can't eat, as well as what food she is welcome to at your house. Let her know if there are certain television shows your child isn't allowed to watch or computer sites your child is restricted from visiting. Establish boundaries regarding home visitors and taking outings with your child.
Point out to your babysitter where the emergency exits, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and first aid kits are in your house. Show her where the circuit breaker is in case of a power outage. If you have an emergency evacuation plan established with your child, inform your babysitter of that plan as well.
Along with verbally discussing your instructions with the babysitter, leave written instructions detailing everything you've gone over. That way, your babysitter will have something to reference if she forgets anything you've discussed.