What does the babysitter need to know?

One of my clients recently went out to get a hair cut while I stayed home with her baby. This is a fairly common occurrence. We like to give our clients time for themselves, including a little pampering. I have her and her husband’s cell phone numbers, but I got to thinking while she was gone about what information parents should leave their sitter. Though kids don’t come with operating instructions, leaving detailed information for the person in charge when you’re not home makes good sense.

stick figure babysitter

Rather than posting the information on a sticky note each time you head out the door, put a little effort in up front and it will last you for years. Consider using a small binder (½ to 1 inch) with extra paper in it behind your details. That way, the sitter can leave notes for you, like how much the baby ate, how many diapers, phone messages, etc. I like to leave feel-good information, too, like how awesome the baby did with tummy time.

What I’m suggesting is a lot, but it will be appreciated by both first-time sitters for your children and close family members alike. And, it will give you peace of mind to know you’ve been thorough.

Here’s what to include in your babysitter information notebook:

General Details

  • Names of all family members
  • Address and telephone numbers, including cell phone numbers
  • Names and contact details of other family members, such as grandparents or a close neighbor who is on your emergency call list

Medical Details

  • Allergies suffered by the children, including food allergies
  • Medications required while you are out, including incidental ones such as for asthma or teething

Where To Find:

  • Spare house key
  • Spare car keys
  • First aid kit and required medicines
  • Flashlights in the event of a power failure

When You Should Be Contacted:

  • If a child is inconsolable and the babysitter has tried unsuccessfully to remedy the situation
  • If a child has developed an illness such as vomiting or fever
  • If anyone is injured and more than a simple bandage is required
  • Any time it seems there has been a breach of security in the home, such as phone calls where no one answers, suspicious visitors, etc.

Emergency Contact Numbers

  • Poison Control Center
  • Police
  • Fire
  • Ambulance
  • Hospital
  • Family doctor
  • Neighbor assigned to help in emergencies

Fire Procedures:

  • Rule number 1: Everybody out!
  • Provide a map showing the most logical exits
  • Detail locations of fire extinguisher(s) and blanket(s)
  • Outline any other pertinent details

House Rules:

  • Bed times
  • Television programs that are off limits
  • Rooms that are out of bounds
  • Foods that are allowed or not

Where You Will Be:

  • Details of locations where you will be while out
  • Phone numbers where you can be reached
  • What time you expect to be home
  • When you expect to call in to check on everyone

Do you have other suggestions of things that should be included in the notebook?