Tips on Leaving Your Kids with a Babysitter

by Rebekah Martin

Every couple needs a little break from their children at some point, a chance to reconnect romantically. Finding a babysitter so you can go out is relatively easy; working up your nerve to leave your children with her is another story. Calm yourself (and your child) by preparing in advance for your special night out.

You may have already thought about giving the babysitter your cell number, but did you think about giving her your address? In the event of an emergency, she needs to know where to send the emergency vehicles, and it might slip her mind. Write it down for her. Write down your child's schedule for the time frame you plan to be gone. If the babysitter is expected to prepare dinner (or call out for pizza), let her know what time your child normally eats. Include the phone number for the pizza place and the money to pay for it. Write down bath time and bedtime as well. If your child simply must read "Goodnight Moon" 12 times before he falls asleep, be sure to include that on your list, too.

Let your children know that you're going out for the evening and that a babysitter is coming to stay with them. Remember that even toddlers like to be prepared for these things. Because this event is outside the norm, they may get a bit upset. Be sure you make having a visit from the babysitter sound like a fun and exciting occasion. Be prepared to answer any questions your kids may have.

Nothing is more boring than sitting around staring at other people. You don't want this to happen with your kids and the babysitter. Although the sitter may have supplies she brings with her, prepare a few things just in case. Leave out crayons and paper, tell her where the board games are or leave a favorite movie out for the kids to watch together. If your kids have been dying to watch a new movie, save it for this night; they'll be excited to watch it with the sitter.

Arrange for the sitter to arrive at your house about 30 minutes before you need to leave. This is especially important if this sitter has never met your kids before. Introduce them to each other, go over the information you wrote down for her and answer any questions she has. Leave her alone with the kids while you finish getting ready to make your exit. This provides a chance to get friendly with each other while you are still there. When it is time to leave, double-check whether the sitter has any last questions, kiss the kids goodbye and walk out the door. Don't draw it out; long goodbyes upset children more than quick ones.

Put your phone on vibrate and leave it in your pocket. Fight the temptation to call home to check on things. If the sitter hasn't called you, everything is probably fine and you and your partner are free to enjoy your night out. You deserve it!

About the Author

Rebekah Martin is a freelance writer and tutor. Her work has appeared in various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Mississippi College. Martin teaches her young children at home and also teaches Sunday School to preschoolers.

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