5 Ways to Set Your Babysitter Up for Success

by Lynn Perkins, founder, Urban Sitter 

Finding a great sitter isn’t always easy. Keeping a great sitter can be even harder than that! Once you’ve hired a babysitter who you trust, who your kids adore, who abides by bedtime rules and maybe even loads the dinner plates into the dishwasher, you’ll want to be sure she (or he!) comes back. Here are some good reminders for every parent, the experienced and the babysitter-boss newbies and the rest of us in between, on how to set the sitter up for success. 

1. Go over the basics. You may assume that everybody knows how to change a diaper or whip up a batch of mac ‘n cheese. This is not always the case. Ask her if she’s familiar with the less-than-glamorous aspects of child-rearing, and if not, show her the process, step by step. You’ll be happy she knows for next time!   

2. Exchange text messages with her when she arrives. This is a quick and easy way to ensure he’s armed with your cell phone number in case of an emergency (or even to ask if chocolate milk is OK with dinner).  

3. Be ready with dinner options — for THE SITTER. According to a recent survey conducted by UrbanSitter, most sitters do not expect a homemade meal or take-out, but they do appreciate a casual mention of options. “Help yourself to a frozen burrito” or “I’ve ordered a pizza for the kids. There should be enough for you, too” are great ways to start.  

4. Have some new games or activities ready. To make your departure easier, show the sitter (and kids) at least one new and exciting game/puzzle/craft/coloring book. This makes passing the time until you return easier on both parties.  

5. Be sure to have the correct change on hand — or round up. Most sitters want to be paid in cash, and there’s nothing worse than realizing you don’t have any at 11 p.m. Hit the ATM on your way out, and if you owe her $55 but you only have twenties, round up. She’ll remember you fondly.

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