The Babysitter

Probably each of us remembers the first time we left our baby in someone else's care. Whether it was Grandma, our best friend, or our neighbor's son or daughter, we felt those tugs on our heartstrings. If you're a new parent, be prepared to experience guilt, concern, or baby deprivation during the first few times you're apart from your baby.

To set your mind at ease about the care your baby receives, it's important to find someone you and baby like, trust, and can depend on. Begin by asking trusted friends and neighbors their recommendations for babysitters, and what arrangement worked best. Also, check out professional organizations such as Zero to Three for information about childcare resources and guidelines. Keep in mind a "childcare provider" reflects the high level of professionalism of anyone providing care for a baby vs. the term "babysitter."

Once we feel confident about the person we've chosen to care for our baby, we then want to build a healthy relationship with that person. Here are a few guidelines to help establish such a relationship:

  • Introduce the babysitter to your family and your expectations. Invite the babysitter to your home when everyone is home. Show him or her how you care for your baby, including how you play together. Include your babysitter in family events. Talk about emergency plans and demonstrate your safety routines. Help your babysitter, your baby, and your entire family be comfortable together in your home.

  • Help your baby develop a special relationship with the babysitter. Encourage your babysitter to care for and play with your baby while you're close by. Share your baby's favorite toys and games with your babysitter. As your child grows, pay close attention to how she acts toward and talks about the babysitter.

  • Develop a relationship with your babysitter's family. Whether your childcare provider is an adult or a teenager, his or her family is the back-up team for you and your family. Get to know them. Keep them informed about your schedule and your plans. Be sure they know what you expect of your babysitter.

The content on these pages is provided as general information only and should not be substituted for the advice of your physician.

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