So, you’ve mustered up the courage to take some much needed time away from your little one. Bravo, mama! Your next step in making sure your outing goes as smoothly and is as enjoyable as possible is making sure you have everything in place for hiring your first babysitter.
Especially if you are hiring someone who isn’t family or a close friend, using a babysitter the first few times would make any mother a little nervous. You’re not alone in that feeling; that is pretty normal. Here are a few things to know, think, try, prep, and do to make the whole process a little easier on you and your baby.
What kind of care are you looking for? It’s good to know upfront what you’ll be asking this babysitter to do. Is this for a recurring date night? Do you need their care while you handle working from home for a few hours? Or will you be needing them here and there sporadically?
Give your babysitter an idea of what you’re ultimately looking for so they can let you know their schedule and how much availability they have. Of course, the first time is always a trial run to make sure you’re a good fit for one another. But if it goes well, you already know if they are someone you can call on again or if you’ll need to find someone with more availability.
Another thing to know is their background. Don’t be afraid to ask for a list of references of past families they’ve worked for, to see their CPR certification, or anything else you want to know.
Take a moment to think through the habits and routines of your little one. Is there anything that stands out as important that you think your babysitter would like to know right away? Or is there anything you’re extra careful about that you want to make sure your babysitter can properly handle?
This could be certain food allergies, sleeping habits, skin conditions, or something else specific to your child. Asking these questions from the get-go is important for the safety of your child so that you can make sure your babysitter has all the necessary skills.
If you’re a little nervous about using a babysitter, try having them over for a few hours earlier in the week to get in a trial run. It’s completely understandable to be a bit apprehensive, but giving them some time together beforehand is a great way to allow them to get used to one another. This also provides an opportunity for either of you to ask any questions that may come up that can be addressed before the official outing.
Use this trial run to go to the coffee shop around the corner, get an oil change, or any other quick errand that needs to be done.
While you’re making sure the babysitter is a good fit for your family, they’re making sure your family is a good fit for them too. One way to make a good impression on the babysitter is to have everything as organized as possible for them. Put yourself in their shoes. If you were walking into a stranger’s house for the first time, what would you need to feel ready and prepared should anything happen at a moment’s notice?
Even as moms, there is nothing worse than our child having a blowout and running around looking for a spare diaper or wipe without making a mess. In addition to baby supplies, write down all important phone numbers, emergency contacts (other than you and your spouse), and even go the extra mile and collect takeout menus or stock the fridge for them.
We’re well aware of how much work it is to take care of our own children, so making it easier for someone else will leave them with a good feeling.
Out of everything on this list, this one will probably be the hardest to go through with. But once you’ve done everything above, go out and enjoy yourself. By this point, you’ve asked all of your questions, tried it out, and gotten everything ready that they could possibly need while you’re away. Now, turn your phone on loud and put it in your purse and enjoy yourself.
If this is your first time using a babysitter, you may have the jitters and get antsy to keep texting them and asking if everything is OK. But know that, if something WASN’T OK, you’d be the first to know. Give yourself a two-time rule — that is, you can check in two times while you’re away but no more than that. Let the babysitter know that you’re accessible and available should they need anything and trust that they will contact you if it’s truly necessary. If you have the chance to go out, soak it up and try your best to not worry.
Letting someone else take care of your child is a big step on the motherhood journey. But it gets easier the more times you do it. Taking the first jump is always the scariest, but once you do, you’ll wonder what took you so long in the first place.