When you step out and leave the tots at home with a sitter, what goes on at home after you leave will be a major deal. Whether the babysitter is a teen, a friend or a grandparent, setting rules for kids will help everyone know how to behave. The best course of action is to keep house and family rules consistent. Just because Mom and Dad are gone, doesn’t mean anything goes.
Talk to the sitter about your family routine so she knows what to expect. It will be important for her to know what time the kids eat, rules for meal time, after-dinner routines and bedtime routine. Include all pertinent information – such as television rules or cleanup rules – so your sitter is on the same page as you.
Give hints and tips for dealing with your kids. If your tot won’t sleep without her pink poodle or needs help eating her peas, tell your sitter these important details. This helps ensure continuity of care for your kids and it makes your sitter’s job easier.
Explain any special care or health issues your kids have to the babysitter. If your tot needs medicine at a specific time, give detailed instructions for the timing and dosage. If your kid has allergies or other health issues, bring the sitter up-to-speed so she’s prepared for any situation.
Provide details about your family's discipline techniques and explain what discipline you authorize the babysitter to use if kids need correcting. For example, if you have a time-out chair for your 3-year-old, give the sitter details about when, why and how you time out your child.
Have a talk with your kids before you leave so everyone knows what to expect. Tell them that you’re going away for a short time and that “Penelope” is going to stay with them to take care of them. If she’ll be feeding them a meal, tell your kids what’s on the menu – hint: make it a fun meal that your kids will eat happily. If she’ll be putting them to bed, tell them that you’ve told Penelope everything about bedtime and that you know she’ll tuck them in perfectly.
Invite calls if anyone gets upset after you leave. This may help calm little people who are missing you.