- Even if you've known this sitter all her life, put your name at the top of the list. If there is an emergency she may become too flustered to remember your name.
- If this is your cell phone number make sure it's fully charged before you leave home and keep it with you at all times.
- Include the full name, not a nickname.
- This should be the complete street address and the name of the city if you're traveling to a nearby town.
- If you're going somewhere else, make sure to include all of that information, too.
- Give your sitter the name and phone number of a trusted friend or relative she can contact in case you're unavailable for whatever reason.
- Make sure you spell this out clearly so the sitter can read it off over the phone without even having to think about it.
- Spell out your child's complete name.
- The 911 operator may need to know your child's age.
- List everything your child is allergic to including foods and medications.
- Does your child like to have a story at bedtime, or a glass or warm milk or water, does he have to brush his teeth first, etc.
- What can the sitter do to entertain your child or distract him if he becomes upset when you leave?
- You may think your child is a little angel when you're gone. But if the sitter isn't allowed to discipline your child you're eventually going to run out of sitters who'll be willing to watch you're little imp when you want a night out.
- If you tell you're sitter you're going to be somewhere at a certain time, be there so she can reach you if there's an emergency.
- If you're not carrying a cell phone, make sure you identify yourself at the restaurant or the party or wherever you're going so if a phone call DOES come for you, people will know you're there.
- You may have several teenagers lined up in your neighborhood who you trust to care for your child. But chances are, when there is a major event going on at school they will all be unavailable to sit at the same time. And that's probably the night you're planning to go out. Take the time now to contact a babysitting service so you'll always have alternate plans.
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When you leave your child with a babysitter a checklist may be one of the last things on your mind. It's such a rare occasion when you get to leave the house without your toddling chaperone that you can't even remember how to get out the front door unless you're dragging a diaper bag and stroller in one hand and wrangling your toddler, his teddy bear and his blankie with the other. But believe me, the minute you get to that restaurant and sit down at the table, the realization will hit you - “I forgot to give the babysitter my cellphone number in case there's an emergency!” Then here's what's going to happen next. You're going to try to call home and the phone will ring and ring but no one will pick up. You'll begin to imagine all sorts of horrible possibilities, all of which end with the babysitter necking on the couch with her boyfriend and your child being rushed to the hospital. And finally you rush home, only to find your babysitter coming up the driveway with your child tucked quietly in his stroller and they're just finishing up a nice little walk before bath time. So next time, print out this babysitter checklist, fill in all the blanks and hang it on your refrigerator.