The evolution of growing up can be simplified into four main stages. The first, is being the adorable baby your parents love and cherish. Next thing you know, you are being babysat by some teenage kid down the street. Then, you start falling in love and one day create the most beautiful babies the world has ever seen. Finally, you find yourself hiring some responsible neighborhood teen to watch your angels while you go out and enjoy date night with your honey.
While we can all identify with a specific stage, or perhaps all of them; we can also unanimously agree that the top priority of the babysitter is to keep the kids safe. Yes, even more important than the kids not being wide awake when you come back home from a romantic evening. Here is a helpful list of what every babysitter needs in order to provide optimal safety for your kiddos.
A great way to prepare for the greatest safety outcome is to take the American Red Cross Babysitter Class. This well-respected class offers training in how to safely and responsibly care for children of varying ages. The class discusses how to make good decisions under pressure, and how to feed, diaper and care for infants. Most importantly, the course also includes how to identify potential safety and hygiene problems, and how to respond to emergencies with first aid and/or rescue breathing. If your life looks a little too busy to sit in on these classes, the Red Cross Babysitting Training is also available through an online course option ($25).
One of the most important factors in keeping the kids safe is communication between the parents and the Babysitter. A Babysitter needs to know the rules of the house he/she is watching over. The parents should show the babysitter how the locks, alarms, extra keys, and thermostat work and where they can be found throughout the house. In case of a power outage, are there flash lights in the house? Locate them. Parents, consider giving a quick tutorial about your kitchen appliances to make sure the babysitter can cook dinner safely if they are expected to do so. The University of Michigan has a great checklist for you to consider as well.
The truth is, Sally the Girl Scout will never be Mommy, and Johnny the paperboy will never be Daddy to your children. So they won’t know which stuffed animals your kids need to sleep with, or which onesie is their favorite. Even if they are the funniest kids on the block or the most responsible students, they will never know your children the way you do. Make sure before you leave for a date, the Babysitter knows which kid is allergic to what, where the dog food is and when to feed him, and what TV shows are acceptable for your family to watch. Kids love to test boundaries, so help your Babysitter out. Make sure your Babysitter knows where you stand on child temptations such as sweets and treats, and staying up past their bed time. Overall Babysitters, remember that you are there to keep the kids safe. Be the entertainer but not the best friend.