Every parent should need to use a babysitter at some point before their child is old enough to stay home alone. I said “should” because all parents will have some reason or responsibility to leave their child in the care of another before she is old enough to be left home alone.
Parents can help children become accustomed to a new babysitter (or a new early childhood program) by following these steps:
1. Slowly introduce the child to the new caregiver(s). If the person is watching your child in your home, bring him in to play with the child and her toys with the intention that you will remain at home. This is also true for starting a new early childhood program too: first visits should include the parents staying to play.
2. The first time the parent leaves the children in the care of the new sitter should be kept to a short outing, such as a trip to the grocery store or the health club. This will reassure the child that her parents will return. If the child is distressed, a short outing will reduce the time that both sitter and child must cope.
3. Listen to your child. She might not have all of the verbal language needed to communicate how she feels about her new sitter, but behavioral changes, moodiness or clinginess should be interpreted as an expression of distress.
4. When you are fortunate enough to find a caregiver and child who are fond of each other, celebrate this relationship by expressing your gratitude. Make your child part of this process. It does not have to be a store-bought gift or even a gift card. A hand drawn thank you card is very much appreciated.
Leaving one’s child in the care of another person can be daunting for any parent. And while many of us would love to be the only caregiver in our child(ren)’s lives, this is just not realistic. There are many people who have dedicated their lives to the care of young children. These suggestions can help every child feel just as safe in their care. #parenting #babysitter #caregiving