I have 3 sons, so right away, I’m looking for a special calibre of babysitter for both my working hours and the date night I fantasize about eventually taking with my husband. I can’t just get a random teenager over here with my rowdy boys, aged 5, 2, and 3 months. Even if I’m screening someone I met through a friend, I’ve realized there are certain things I always discuss with sitters to determine whether they’re a good fit for us.
1. My Gut Reaction. My oldest son is my most spirited. He’s my litmus test for babysitters…or anyone, really. If I can tell my oldest son likes a person, and if it seems like the person likes him back, I automatically like that person. I can usually just tell if someone will be calm enough to wrangle my oldest in addition to the others.
2. Preparation of Expressed Breastmilk. I’m insanely particular about how I would like my sitters to prepare and serve my milk to my baby. I’m very open about this when we first meet. I actually say out loud, “You might make fun of me about this later, and that’s ok, but I’m going to walk you through how I’d like you to prepare and feed milk to my baby.” And then I hand out a printed sheet about paced bottle feeding. And then I review the printed sheet point by point.
3. Diapering Particulars. My younger boys are uncircumcised, and I’ve learned never to assume people know what to do about a foreskin during a diaper change. “Wipe it just like a finger,” I tell them. “Never, ever, for any reason pull on or retract the foreskin.”
4. Firearms. Only in the past few years have I become acutely aware of what it really means to have a conceal-carry permit for a firearm. I want to make sure potential sitters understand that I do not want them to carry a firearm into my house. I want to know in advance if this is a deal-breaker.
5. Discipline. We don’t spank, smack, or hit our kids and we don’t want a babysitter to do so, either. I want to know up front what the sitter’s style of discipline is because I have 3 rowdy sons. One of them is going to hit or throw or say something shocking.
For me, those are the essential elements I want to make sure we’re on the same page about before I hire a sitter. I could really care less if bedtime is a bit fudged or if the kids eat pretzels for dinner…because in exchange for that I will be out of the house alone with my husband.
What are your essential topics to discuss with a new sitter? Leave a comment to share your experiences!