How to Prepare your Children for a New Babysitter
If your babysitter is new to the family, it’s also sensible to put in some groundwork with the children as part of your pre-night preparations. Even if the new babysitter is a friend or relative, it’s natural for both children and parents to have a few nerves – and if the babysitter is a stranger, those nerves can understandably be magnified. Will everyone get on? Will the bedtime routine go smoothly? What happens if someone can’t sleep, or World War Three breaks out between siblings?
Experienced babysitters are skilled at putting children at ease quickly once they arrive, but as a parent there are also certain steps you can take to help your children prepare for a new babysitter.
Booking a new babysitter through a babysitting website
For little ones, the prospect of a new sitter arriving can lead to mixed feelings. Some children will love the idea of a new audience and playmate; others may feel a little worried at the idea of someone new looking after them. Who is this person, who’s going to invade their house and sit on their sofa? Why are they coming over? And will they be fun?
The right reassurances
Every child is different, and as a parent you’ll know just how much to talk about the evening’s arrangements beforehand. Some little ones may demand to know everything about the new sitter, as well as where you’re going, what you’re going to be doing and why exactly you want to go and drink wine with other boring grown-ups. Others will be happy with a simple explanation and a promise that the babysitter will be friendly and fun. Click here for more tips about how you can help your child to feel comfortable with a babysitter.
If your sitter has been booked through a babysitting website or babysitting agency, you can share a few details from their profile with children to help familiarise them with the sitter ahead of their arrival. Because babysitting websites allow you to find a babysitter near you, your sitter is likely to be local, so you may also be able to make connections to people or places your children know once they arrive.
If little ones are feeling anxious, reassure them that the new sitter will have your phone number, and that they’ll be able to get in touch with you should they need to. That said, you may also want to be clear that just because you can be contacted, that doesn’t mean it’s ok for them to demand the babysitter calls you when the battery has run out on the iPad or they’re trying to wriggle out of going to bed on time.
A gentle reminder
It goes without saying that it’s a good idea to remind children – especially those who are slightly older – of any important rules or routines before you head out, and be clear that the babysitter is in charge for the evening.
Little night owls who are reluctant to go to bed might see an opportunity to push boundaries with a stranger, and although an experienced babysitter will be more than capable of dealing with the situation, a firm reminder will help.
A new playmate
A professional babysitter is likely to be a dab hand at putting children at ease quickly. However, it can also be a great idea to ask the kids to think about what they’d like to do, and what they might show to the sitter, before they arrive.
Are there particular toys they’d like to get out? A new book they can’t wait to read to someone new? Or even a TV show they want someone else to enjoy with them (you may need to apologise in advance to the babysitter for that one!)
Encouraging children to see the evening as a positive occasion can help to settle nerves before the sitter’s arrival.
Make time for your peace of mind
If it’s the first time you’ve used a particular babysitter, it’s sensible to plan in a little extra time between the sitter’s arrival and your departure, for your own peace of mind.
Mum Michelle recalls: ‘The first time we booked a babysitter through Sitters, I built in plenty of time before I needed to be anywhere, just so I could be certain everyone was happy and settled before I went out. As it turned out I needn’t have worried, as the babysitter was fantastic and my daughter took to her straight away, but it made sense to allow that extra time just in case. In reality, they got on so well that at the babysitter’s suggestion, I said goodnight quickly without a fuss and headed out much earlier than expected.
‘It’s been the same with every babysitter we’ve used since through Sitters,’ Michelle adds. ‘They’re always wonderful with my daughter, and put everyone at ease.’
If children are very young, or bedtimes can be particularly tricky, some parents may prefer to wait until the kids are tucked up before heading out that first time. If that’s the case it’s a good idea to make sure the sitter has arrived well before bedtime, so they’re a familiar face should anyone wake up later in the evening.
Familiar faces for the future
Good babysitting websites not only make it easy to find childcare when you’re looking for a babysitter but also allow you to shortlist your preferred babysitters once you’ve met them. That means that in future, the chances are your sitter will be someone you’ve all met before, so there will be no more worrying about new faces or sharing house rules.
Mum Karen says: ‘We have a shortlist of three babysitters now who my son loves. If I’m heading out, he’s always excited to see them. I know he’s happy and well looked after, so I can relax and enjoy my evening out.’
We believe your little ones deserve the very best care. That's why our local network of babysitters are personally checked and picked by our family for your family www.sitters.co.uk.