- Wifi Passwords// One of the awkwardest things about babysitting is deciding if I can ask for the wifi password. I only plan to use it after the kids are asleep but I am afraid the parent will think I am going to neglect their child or feel like I am intruding their privacy. If you trust your babysitter and are okay with giving them the wifi password then just give it to them! Don't put them through the awkwardness of asking!
- Let them know the expectations// One of the hardest things while babysitting is remembering you forgot to ask when/how something should happen. Then you are left to wonder if the child is telling the truth, taking advantage of you, or has any idea what they are talking about. Making rules or expectations clear can save a lot of frustration for both the babysitter and the parent. This is especially important if you are switching babysitters. For example, if your first babysitter always washed all the dishes and swept the floors but you come home to find that your new babysitter hasn't then give them a chance. They might not realize what you expect.
- Routines.// If your read your child two stories every night and sing them a song while they drink from their favorite sippy cup (or any other bedtime, dinner, nightly routines) make sure you tell your babysitter about these! It will make the night so much smoother! There is nothing worse than trying to put a kid to bed, but they won't go to sleep and are crying and you have no idea why. By letting your babysitter know what your child will expect your kids will be happier and will be a lot more excited the next time a babysitter comes instead of remembering the "scarring" experience they had with the last babysitter.
- The Drive// When you pick up/drop off your babysitter it is super important to make some small talk. Sometimes it is harder for a teenager to come up with topics to ask the parent about because they don't want to be intrusive or the questions just sound awkward and snoopy. For example, how was work sounds weird, but it's totally normal for adults to ask about school. Does that make sense? If you are stuck on topics some pretty no fail topics are: school (classes, homework load, favorite class, etc.), extracurricular activities, hobbies, what you have in common (when I say this I mean your connection. I usually know that people that hire me, so how you know them is a good topic. For example, if someone from church hires me we can talk about church activities.), upcoming events/holidays (what are your plans for Christmas/summer/thanksgiving? School breaks are a good one for this too. Holiday specific questions can draw it out a bit- are you dressing up for halloween? Do you have any favorite traditions you do each year for _____?), and lastly current things and observations always work too. (The weather, the sunset is pretty, etc.) I know some of these seem super awkward but a lot of the time you can get started on a topic and keep going with it for a while, and even if you think your observations about the weather are awfully boring, I'm sure your babysitter will appreciate your effort to prevent awkward silences.
By doing these things your babysitter will feel so much more comfortable! The instructions and picking up of the babysitter make a huge difference in the way the night goes and these few tips will make the night better for you, your kids, and your babysitter!