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Many parents rely on the help of local babysitters to care for their children when spending an evening out with their spouse or tending to work commitments. If you plan on hiring a babysitter in the near future, make sure that you share these five important things with them before you head out the door.

House Rules

Before you leave for the evening, make sure that you explain your home’s rules to the babysitter. This should be general guidelines of what the kids can and cannot do. For example, if the home office is off limits to the kids, make sure you let the sitter know this beforehand. Bed times and nightly rituals should also be explained in detail so that your child’s typical routine is uninterrupted by your absence. Ideally, you should also explain what rules you have for the babysitter as well.

Emergency Contact Information

Should an emergency arise while you are away, you want to ensure that the babysitter can handle the situation with minimal panic and stress. Include phone numbers of nearby neighbors or family members they can contact in the event of an emergency. Also include numbers for local emergency services, the family doctor and the poison control hotline.

Home’s Security and Safety Information

It is imperative that the babysitter understand how to use your home’s security system. According to experts, it is not uncommon for security companies to offer tutorials on how to use their products. The babysitter can refer to this information should they need to report an emergency or turn off an alarm. If it a babysitter you have not used before it may be wise to change the password when you get back.

In addition, they also need to know where to locate your first aid supplies, emergency exits, medications, the home’s fuse box, flashlights and fire extinguishers. If you have devised a family emergency plan, explain this in detail to the babysitter so there is no confusion should there be an emergency while you are away.

Important Medical Information

If your child is suffering with any medical conditions or taking prescription medications, the babysitter needs to understand how to handle these issues. Provide them with dosage instructions and times for any medications that your child will require.

Diet Restrictions

Some children have special dietary restrictions due to food allergies or other medical conditions. Be sure to explain these to the babysitter in advance. If you prefer that your child avoid certain foods, such as cookies or cakes, be sure to share this with the babysitter as well.

Communicating with your babysitter is of the utmost importance. If you prefer not to have your children stay up until after 11PM, let the babysitter know this beforehand. Remember, this person will be in charge of caring for your children and running your home in your absence. In the off-chance that the sitter is faced with an emergency, they will know who to call and how to react if you provide them with all of the information that they need.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who use babysitters.