What Responsibilities Should We Require of Our Babysitter?

A babysitter’s primary function is to care for your children. Thus, the majority of her responsibilities will be related to this area. The should include:

– Correctly responding to an emergency. Your babysitter should be willing and able to use emergency contact numbers. She should have a grasp of general first aid practices, and know where the first aid kit is kept. She should know if you have specific emergency procedures with your family, such as a “safe meeting spot” in case of a fire. She should be able to contact a neighbor or other individual of your choice in case of an emergency.

– Implementing your rules and plans for the children. You should specify any places that in the home that they children are not allowed to be. You should specify activities that the children are allowed to engage in. You should clearly indicate how much TV is allowed and when. You should expect your babysitter to discipline the children according to your wishes (i.e., through the use of time-outs or whatever method you choose). Your sitter should put the kids to be at the time and in the way you wish.

– Engaging the children in specific activities. You may wish to have your babysitter help your child with homework, or to play a specific game with the child.

– Dispensing medications. If your child needs to take medication while you are gone, your sitter should know where the medicine is, what dosage to give, and when to give it.

– Feeding the children. If the children will need to eat while you are gone, she should know what you expect them to eat and be able to prepare it. She should know what sorts of snacks are allowed, how much, and when.

In addition, you should clearly spell out rules for your sitter to follow. These can include rules about her use of the phone, whether she can have friends visit, when, and how many. She should know what you expect from her as far as the use of your things and eating your food.

Some babysitters are able and willing to help with other household chores. For example, after the children are in bed, she may be willing and able to do the dishes, clean the living room, or any number of things. You should discuss these items specifically with your sitter ahead of time, remembering that her first responsibility is for your children.


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