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Prepping Your Kids for a Babysitter

Prepping Your Kids for a Babysitter

When you decide you need to get out of the house for a bit, whether it's on your own for some "me time," on a date with your man, or to dinner with a bestie, getting out the door while leaving your littles with a sitter is not always an easy task.

The truth is a lot of parents struggle with the idea of leaving their kids behind to be watched by someone who isn't a parent or relative, and it can be hard to feel like you're not traumatizing your babes when they're screaming before you close the front door. Yikes. So what are some things we can do for our kids to prep them before a babysitter even shows up? P.S. If you're also wondering what it is you can expect from a sitter when they're with your kids, check out this post for the 411. Here are a few things that have helped our kids to get used to babysitters and make going out easier on everyone!
Nuna Sena Mini Playard

Start With Someone They Know

This one is sometimes easier said than done depending on how close you are to any family, but I recommend having your kids' first experience with a sitter to be with a family member or a close friend that the child is used to seeing or has a relationship with. If they're seeing a familiar face, it will lessen the blow when they get the idea that you're not going to be sticking around. I say do this a few times before you get a babysitter, and work on different times of day (like a lunch date and then a later night out) to get your child used to the concept that no matter when you leave, you'll be back! This is a great reason to have a portable crib like the lightweight and super easy-to-use Nuna Sena Mini Playard. So if you're dropping your babe off at your mom's, you won't have to worry about where they'll be sleeping while you're gone.

Start Early

Even though every babe is going to be so different, and depending on whether you're bottle or breastfeeding, your child will demand a certain amount of your time/attention, but I think the sooner you get your child used to a babysitter, the easier it will be down the road. Now don't get me wrong, when they hit that clingy, separation anxiety phase, there's really no prep in the world that can tame that beast, but you can at least make sure babysitters aren't a foreign concept at the same time they're stressing every minute they're not in your lap. I think that this is important for parents, as well as kids, because it will help you to feel comfortable leaving your child with people you can trust without stressing the entire time you are gone that something horrible is going to happen. If you're a stresser and you're going to be leaving at night while they're asleep, then getting a monitor like the Owlet V2 Smart Sock will allow you to have a link to your little (through your phone) even when you're not at home. Babysitting is a practice-makes-perfect thing for both your kids and you!

Childcare with Other Kids

Try your best to get your child into situations where they're being watched by another adult when they're in a group of kids their age. A game changer for us was the childcare at the gym, and even though there were some tough months where our oldest had a hard time at drop off, overall he did great because he looked forward to playing with the other kids (it sort of outweighed the fact that I was leaving him with strangers). You can also get your littles signed up for tumbling or dance class, day camps, or even just take them to story time at the library and sit at the very back--if they're paying attention to the librarian and focusing less on you, they'll get more comfortable with it down the road when you're not there at all. Also, keep in mind that having something for your child to play with or an activity that they're engaged in when the sitter comes over is going to be a great way to keep their mind off you leaving, so invest in some great toys.

Goodbye Ritual

I found this super helpful with my son, especially when we went to our church child group, or the childcare at our gym. When we have something that we always do together before saying goodbye, you can give him the time and attention that he needs to accept that you're taking off, and you can feel good (well, sort of) about leaving them for a couple of hours even if they're crying as you're leaving. With me and my son it was a big hug, a kiss, a high five, and then another hug. Do whatever works for you and your little, and even hand them a fave plushy like this adorable little guy, Chomp, from Manhattan Toy Company, or the perfectly sized Milkbarn Kids Mini Lovey Blanket to soften the blow-- but make sure that it's something that you pull out only when the two of you are saying goodbye. You can even have different "bye byes" with mommy and daddy if that will help your child feel better.

Whether you're trying to get a jump on prepping your little ones for having a sitter, or you're moving to a new place and this is the first time you're having someone other than family watching your kids, getting your kids used to the idea of being left with someone they don't know is tough. Take the extra time to set the stage with these few easy tips, and you and your littles will be babysitting pros in no time!

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Who Should I Hire to Watch My Kids? | The Baby Cubby Community Blog - November 26, 2020

[…] recently hired a nanny/babysitter and I’d like to share my experience with the process I went through to get to this point. Because […]

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