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How to Create a Babysitter Checklist and Keep Your Sanity When You’re Away From Home

Updated on May 22, 2008
Photo: jeanbowe,Flickr
Photo: jeanbowe,Flickr

Whether you have a weekly date night or only make it out without the kids once every blue moon, it's a good idea to put together a babysitter checklist to take the guess work out of caring for your children. This type of list is a great addition to the Home Organization Notebook.

Before You Leave

Do not assume that a new sitter knows what to do. Take every first time babysitter on a tour of your home. Make sure he or she knows about any security systems, windows that cannot be opened, and where all the telephones are located. Point out which areas of the home that are off limits to kids, such as the garage, basement, office etc. Note the location of the first aid kit, flashlights, and the fire extinguisher. And don't forget to introduce the pets.

The Rules

Spelling out the rules can save a lot of time and heartache later. Trust me on this one. I never thought I had to spell out Don't leave the house with my children, in your car without carseats, to your house, to swim, without lifejackets. Consider stating on your checklist rules for the following:

  • How do you want the sitter to handle misbehavior?
  • Do you want the babysitter to answer the phone, or let the machine pick up?
  • Is the sitter allowed to have visitors while babysitting?
  • Are kids allowed to have hall light or nightlight on?
  • Are kids allowed to watch TV, and which shows and/or channels are appropriate?
  • Do you want the babysitter to use the stereo or computer?
  • Are there any medications the sitter must administer? If so what time?
  • Do kids bathe on their own or need assistance?
  • Are there any food allergies?
  • Is the door to be answered?
  • Are doors to be kept locked at all times?
  • Are kids allowed to play outside? If so, where?
  • Are there any neighbors' homes where children are allowed to play?
  • May kids have friends over while the babysitter is there?
  • Is the babysitter permitted to leave kids alone to watch TV in another room?
  • How often do you expect the sitter to check on sleeping children?
  • Is the babysitter allowed to sleep while babysitting?

The Basics

Once you've addressed your preference on the babysitter checklist, don't forget all the basic information you might take for granted your babysitter knows. The sitter may not know, or may panic in the face of a crisis. Better to write things down and alleviate the risk. Be sure to include the following on your list:

  • Your address
  • House telephone number
  • Cell phone numbers for you and your spouse
  • Neighbors names and telephone numbers
  • Alarm codes (optional)
  • Emergency procedures: ie. call 911 first, then call parent's cell phones, etc.

Feeling overwhelmed? Why not print out a free babysitter checklist and take it from there. You can always add on to customize it later!


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