Caring for Family

Tips for Leaving Your Little One with a Babysitter

Tips for Leaving Your Little One with a Babysitter

Leaving your child with a babysitter for the first time can be a momentous occasion — for you and him! Not only might you be dealing with your own jitters about a new person taking care of your little one, but your baby may be less-than-gleeful to separate from you, even if just briefly. An anxious response is even more likely from infants over 6 months old, who are quickly learning to distinguish people they know from people they don't.

The good news is there are steps to take even before your outing to help your baby feel more familiar with her new sitter, as well to enhance her sense of well-being once you're on your way.

Preparations are Key to Comfort

When is it easiest to meet a new person? When you're already next to someone you know, of course. This is also true for your baby, who whenever possible should have a chance to meet the new babysitter while you're alongside him.

Here are some additional ways to ease your little one's anxiety with the situation:

  • Invite the new babysitter into your home while your baby is awake and alert.
  • Hold your baby on your lap while you and the sitter chat.
  • When your baby looks at the babysitter, have the sitter make eye contact with him and talk to him while he remains on your lap.
  • Once your baby seems comfortable, place him on the floor with a favorite toy and ask the sitter to play with the toy next to him.
  • Gradually move back as your child warms up to the person and gauge his response when you briefly leave the room.

What to Do on Your Way Out

Ready for your outing? Your baby probably will be too if you've taken steps to familiarize her with the new babysitter ahead of time. To make the process even smoother, ask the sitter to arrive about 30 minutes before you plan to leave. You can use that time to fill in the babysitter on your little one's routine and go over important points (such as how to contact you while you're gone) as your baby continues to become accustomed to the sitter's presence.

Some last-minute steps that may also help include:

  • Get your baby and the sitter involved in an activity together before you go, such as reading a book or playing with toys.
  • Don't skip a proper goodbye in hopes of avoiding tears. Smile, be cheerful and assure your baby you'll return later.
  • If your baby is crying when you leave, keep in mind that most calm down within a few minutes of a parent's departure. Tell your sitter to call you if your little one still hasn't stopped crying after 30 minutes.