Background and personality wise I am a bit of a natural worrier when it comes to letting anyone watch my babies. Emotional scars run deep after years of seeing tragedies happen at the hands of care providers in the pediatric ICU. I tend to over think every scenario that could potentially go wrong when my kids are out of my care. That being said, I also feel that spending one on one time with my husband is so important for not just our marriage, but for our family as a whole. My kids benefit when I am rested and recharged. The also benefit when we, as a couple are strong and united which comes from time spent putting our marriage first.
We are fortunate to have helpful grandparents, but sadly they don’t live in town. Everyone may think I’m a little nuts, but too much info is never a bad thing! You know your kids best of all so helping the caregiver mimic their routine is a gift not an annoyance. Anyone that gives you difficulty with this may not be best suited to watch you children. This can get especially tricky with family sitters as so much has changed in the last several decades, but I encourage you to stand your ground specifically on safety preferences. Somethings are great to simply write down for reference. Others I would definitely verbalize. For me, for example sleep safety is so important that is always one I go over explicitly with sitters. The more prepared you and your sitter are, ideally the less stressed you will feel. I hope this list is helpful to you on your much deserved time away!
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY CALL 911: I always write this in all caps because often I think sitters may call the parents rather than first responders if something were to happen when there is nothing the parents can really do in a true emergency from a distance.
Full home address for 911
Contact Information for a friend who will remain in town and knows the children well
Where you will be staying, flight information, other pertinent itinerary information
Date of birth for children
Pediatrician name and contact information
Insurance Card and Pharmacy Information
Consent for Emergency Medical Treatment: Sources debate the necessity of this now. In a true emergency, all minors will be treated until the guardians can be reached by phone for consent. However, in the event that you cannot be reached you may wish to designate temporary medical consent privilege to the care provider. Be sure to specify dates as to not leave the consent open ended.
Any medical conditions including medications and food allergies
Any medications, times, doses
Doses for as needed medications such at Motrin and Tylenol and instructions on when they could be given
Typical wake/sleep schedule for each child including nap times and durationsSleep routines: night lights, security objects, white noise, black out curtains, milk/bottles (great time to review safe sleep practices with those less familiar or any preferences you may have read: 5 Reasons the Family Bed is Not for My Family)
Diapering/Potty Training Routine: any caregiver over the age of 35 thinks there are too many diapering choices these days between pull ups, nighttime diapers etc. If you have a more complex routine be sure to review it!
Meal times and preferences (also a great time to review common choking hazards for small children: popcorn, tortilla chips, nuts, hot dogs, baby carrots, non sliced grape tomatoes/grapes)
Show which cups/bottles etc each child uses if they are in that stage
Screentime routines: I am all for extra movies when we go out or out of town, but I’d prefer a sitter not park my kids in from of the TV for hours so I like to mention this.
Wifi Password/ How to Work Cable/Netflix
Review how carseats work (chest clip at nipple line, tight fitting, rear facing as necessary)
Activity schedule with addresses and required supplies ex: Preschool backpack with change of clothes, packed lunch, water and nap mat
Household needs (Trash day etc) and where extras of things are stored for kids like diapers, wipes etc.
List of local restaurants
List of fun near by activities with any passes you may have for such (zoo passes)
Leaving your children is always a hard thing to do, but like I mentioned above it can be so great for you and for them. So fun to get spoiled by someone other than you. So nice for you and your partner to catch a little break and sleep in a bit. Even if it is just a staycation with the babes at grandma’s house, it is so refreshing! I hope these tips can be applied to your next time away from the babies!