A babysitter can be worth its weight in gold to parents who need a night out. So when you find the right one, you’ll want to hold on to them tightly.
The next step is introducing them to your little one. But what is the best way to ensure the process runs smoothly?
Norland-trained nanny and founder of Marvellous Babysitting, Ella Trigwell, says the first step is to introduce the sitter to your child prior to the actual date.
While it is not always possible to have an in-person meeting, parents can build up the conversation by talking about the sitter and what they may do together so that they are familiar with their name and who they are.
Ella explains: ‘Communication is key. That way, both you and the babysitter know what to expect and so does your child on the actual date.’
To get your child in the mood for spending time with a new person, Ella suggests finding something fun that the sitter and child can both engage in to get to know each other.
‘Telling your child what to expect helps things run smoothly on the actual night. Tell them about the nanny and suggest an activity that they can do together. That way, from the moment the nanny walks through the door, she’ll be prepared to get stuck right into building Lego or roleplaying hairdressers at bath time.’
When the babysitter arrives
On the day, it’s important to not leave immediately after the sitter arrives, even if they have all the details needed for the booking.
Ella advises that the parents should be in the house for at least the first 20 to 30 minutes, if possible, especially if it’s the first time with the nanny. This helps both parent and child feel comfortable and provides an opportunity for the nanny to ask any questions.
But she explains it is good for the sitter and child to have some initial alone time together.
‘Whilst you are at home, do allow time for the nanny and your child to be in a room without you. This will help ease the transition when you leave.
‘Before you go, make sure you say goodbye rather than sneaking out. Let your child know where you’ll be when you’ll be back and that the nanny will be there to look after them until then.’
Ella also recommends a great tip to tell your child something fun you will do together in the morning when you are back.
‘This helps them focus on the fun event or activity you will do together rather than the thought of you being away from the home that night’.
When friends or family members are looking after your child, they can quickly know your child’s likes, dislikes, and everything in between whereas a new sitter will not know anything. Ella explains how the essential ‘need to know’ info should be relayed right from the start to bridge the gap quickly and efficiently.
‘The most essential details are to provide your nanny with any health concerns like asthma or allergies in the family. It’s also handy to discuss the children’s routine, and what they like to do. If the sitter is doing bedtime, it’s important they stick to the child’s usual routine so that it’s familiar for the child. Let the nanny know what you normally do and when, as this will help keep consistency. If you can share these details ahead of time, on a babysitting app, then you won’t have to worry about forgetting key information.’
What happens if my child becomes shy or distressed?
Sometimes when it’s time to leave the tears and fears begin. Distraction and engagement can really help with keeping your child calm and relaxed- as well as the parent knowing they are in the best hands. That’s why Ella suggests booking someone with experience is of paramount importance.
‘If a child wakes up distressed, there are several reasons why they could be upset so it’s crucial to have a safe, caring person on hand to reassure your child.’
She says that before the parent leaves, the sitter should have all knowledge of what the parent would normally do if their child becomes upset, such as if the child wakes up so that all parties are clear.
‘Parents know their children best so it’s always helpful to understand what they normally do.
‘Usually, it’s small things such as keeping their bedroom door open or turning the night light on which all help greatly to keep them happy and relaxed.’