Give Me a Break! A New Parents’ Guide to Babysitters

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You don’t need us to tell you that this new parenting lark is hard going. In fact, if you’ve been at it for a while now you’re probably ready for a night off and a trip out to your local pub or restaurant with your better half to remind yourselves what a bit of baby-free indulgence feels like. That means finding yourself a reliable and trustworthy babysitter. If you’re looking for a babysitter for the first time it can be difficult to know how to go about it. Basically, you’ll probably have a choice between hiring an independent babysitter or contacting a local child-minding agency. Whichever option you choose, here are some helpful hints and tips to help you ensure that babysitting is a safe and comfortable experience for everyone concerned.

In This Post:

Hiring the right babysitter

As a parent choosing a babysitter for the first time you need the peace of mind that comes with an experienced and recommended babysitter. Of course, you might pay a little more for this but where your baby is concerned it’s far better to be safe than sorry. Look for a babysitter with good references and check them out. Don’t choose a babysitter any younger than sixteen years old and, ideally, try to find one that has been CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) vetted and has undertaken first-aid training.

If possible, before the night you wish them to babysit, invite your babysitter over for an informal chat. Ask them about their babysitting experiences and how they might respond in various situations, and introduce them to your baby. This is a good opportunity to find out how your babysitter and baby are likely to get along together, and to ensure that you feel comfortable with your choice. If you have even the smallest doubt about a babysitter, or your child seems unhappy or distressed in their company do not engage them but look for an alternative.

On babysitting night

Make sure that your babysitter is due to turn up at least fifteen minutes before the time you will be going out for the evening. Give your babysitter as much information as possible about your child’s routine and anything else they need to know – it’s a good idea to prepare written notes beforehand. Make sure that your babysitter is aware of any ground rules (are they allowed to use your phone or computer? Can they help themselves to food and drink? Should they answer the phone if it rings? Etc.) and that they are familiar with the layout of your house. Give the babysitter any contact information they might need (your mobile number(s), the name and number of the pub, restaurant or other destination you’re going to) and take their mobile number if they have one.

For peace of mind, ask your babysitter to send you a text message at sensible intervals (every hour perhaps, if you’re going to be out for more than a couple of hours) to let you know that everything is OK. Until you are satisfied that your baby is in safe hands it is better to choose a venue for your night out that isn’t too far from home in case you need to return urgently.

After your night out

If you’ve promised your babysitter that you’ll be home by a certain time, show them some courtesy by sticking to it. Once you arrive home, don’t usher your babysitter straight out of the door but offer them a drink or a snack over which you can discuss with them how the babysitting went. Lastly, if your babysitter has done a good job for you be sure to pay them promptly and don’t be shy to show your appreciation by way of a tip or a box of chocolates.

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