St. Louis, MO

Ideas for Having a New Babysitter or Nanny

In my years as a teacher and then a Director of child care centers and laboratory schools, I have found these ‘Tips’ have helped families (parents and children) starting a new care situations.  Also, the ‘Tips’ apply to situations where you have employed new Baby Sitter or Nanny.

  1. Visit with the Baby Sitter or Nanny; get to know her, her expectations, and experiences your child will be having.  Let her know your expectations, limits or guidance you give your child, and what experiences you expect your child to have.
  2. Have times for you and your child to spend with the Baby Sitter or Nanny.  During these visits, reassure your child you will stay while she plays.
  3. If the care is to be out of your home, prepare extra clothes (several sets for younger children), bag, stuffed animal, and blanket.
  4. Arrange schedules the first weeks so both of you are not rushed in the mornings.
  5. Lay clothes out the night before.
  6.  If possible, arrange several play sessions prior to starting.  Look at these play sessions as ‘dry runs’.  Get your child ready; leave her at the Baby Sitter’s or with the Nanny, and then return.  The length of time playing is not as important as is the arriving, you leaving and returning.  These sessions are as important for you and your child, after all the whole family is starting the new experience.
  7. Arrange for your child to have shortened days when starting the experience.  A full day is a long time, especially for younger children.  Gradually, lengthen the time of the day.
  8. When you arrive at the Baby Sitter’s or when she or the Nanny come to your home, stay and play for awhile if your child indicates she wants you to stay.
  9. Be sure the Baby Sitter or Nanny know what item is your child’s ‘lovey’.  Your child should have access to the ‘lovey’ the entire day.  Eventually, children have so much to do and will need the ‘lovey’ less and less, then they need it mainly during the beginning of the care situation and rest time.
  10. Leave a personal item of yours with your child, such things as a bracelet, purse, key chain serve as a concrete reminder that you will return.
  11. Avoid other changes at the same time, such as when a new sibling is born, a move to a new home, weaning from the bottle or pacifier, etc…
  12. You may reach a point where talking about the next day, just does not seem to do much good.  I believe you simply state, “You have a job and that is to stay with …  I have a job and go to work.  I am sure you will have a fun day.”  Talking over and over about it is fairly useless—it is difficult to convince a toddler or preschooler going through a transition of separation that everything is going to be okay.
  13. If you leave your child and she is crying, chances are that she is playing in next five minutes.  Rather than you being upset and feeling guilty all day, call the Baby Sitter or Nanny and ask how and what your child is doing.
  14.  Know that when you go to pick her up or come home at the end of the day, your child may begin crying when she sees you.  I think this behavior is an emotional release from the day, even though she has had a lot of fun.
  15. After a full week, expect the next Monday will be a more stressful start.  You will see this lessen on Mondays after a few weeks.
  16. This last tip is for you.  Try not to feel guilty.  In today’s society many, many families have their children in someone else’s care.  And that experience leads children to develop to their full potential.  Quality care offers activities and relationships that are so very positive for your child and for you.



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