Finding that just right, reliable person to whom you will entrust the care of your precious baby may be something of a challenge and you will be glad if you began your search before the baby was born. Many mothers feel most comfortable leaving their new babies with grandmothers or other relatives, but family members are not always available. And while you know and trust them, they may be critical or make you feel as if you are imposing on them.
Later you will probably look into the availability of teenage sitters in your neighborhood. You’ll find that it is wonderful when you can find a family with two of more young people who like to babysit so that when one is not available, the other may be. Until your baby is a little older, you will probably prefer someone more experienced-perhaps a woman who has had a baby herself-unless you can locate a mature teenager who has a certificate from a good babysitting course.
Check with such local agencies as the YWCA, Girl Scout Council, Campfire Girls office, and the park or recreation department. If any have offered courses, they probably keep lists of dependable, qualified sitters. Other possibilities are a college home economics department or a hospital school of nursing. A good idea when you have a young new sitter is to arrange for a get acquainted visit before you leave him or her alone with your baby. You might wish to have such a young person come in on a regular basis to help you with the baby.
You may not be ready yet to accept the responsibility for caring for others babies as well as your own, so you may not now consider making reciprocal baby care arrangements with a friend or neighbor or joining a babysitting co-op, but you may find that there’s a capable neighborhood woman who ants to earn a little money. Agencies that supply trained and bonded adult sitters are listed in the Yellow Pages, but their fees are higher than those charged by individual sitters.
Your sitter has the heavy responsibility of caring for your child, but you have a responsibility to the sitter, also. You should be as reliable as you expect him or her to be, returning home when you say you will and paying fairly and promptly. Always leave a phone number where at least one of the parents can be reached in case of an emergency. It’s a good idea to leave other emergency numbers as well, such as a nearby neighbor, and of the police and fire departments.
Don’t make your sitter guess what’s to be done, leave careful instructions about feeding and caring for the baby and tell the sitter where to find diapers, baby blankets, bedding and other supplies. If you have pets, give instructions about them too. It’s also a good idea to give them basic information about your house available, such as the locations of fuse boxes, or circuit breakers, flashlights and fire extinguishers and how the smoke detector and burglar alarm work.
Information to Give a Babysitter
- Address and phone number of your location.
- Doctor’s name and phone number.
- Emergency room phone number.
- Police department phone number.
- Poison control center phone number.
- Fire department phone number.
- Phone number of neighbor and/or relative.
- Time you will return.
- Locations of:
- Food and baby supplies
- Fire extinguishers
- First aid supplies
- Timing of feedings, medication, bedtime
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