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Creating Your Babysitter Handbook

I recently hired two regular sitters for my kids when the fall semester starts up. We’ve 922242_julia_on_a_swing_4.jpg always relied on family members to babysit for us, so this will be the first time we are trusting our children in the hands of non-family. This will also be the first time that I am regularly away from my children. Due to this upcoming change, I put together a handbook for our babysitters. When I was a babysitter, I would have LOVED it if my families left me with a handbook like this! I babysat for many years as a teenager and it was very hard to remember all of the last minute instructions parents left me as they were kissing their children goodbye. I can’t expect that a babysitter is going to remember when bedtime is, what to feed them for dinner, whether they need to bathe Susie first or give her a bottle first, etc…

I opened up my word processor and got to typing! For those of you who are crafty, I could totally see the handbook being done in a cute scrapbook style!  Mine is in a cheap, navy blue folder with prongs.  Some of this may be excessive, however I would rather be over-prepared than under-prepared.

So, what’s in my handbook?

Contact information

  • Our full names
  • Our home address and phone number
  • Our cell phone numbers and my husband’s work phone number
  • Emergency contact (Grandma) home/cell/work numbers


  • I listed my children’s basic no-no’s (climbing on table, hitting each other, etc…) 838452_grandma_reading_-_front_far.jpg
  • I gave basic household rules (no shoes on in our house, our policy on television, etc…)
  • I gave the babysitter basic rules as well (keep stair gate and bathroom doors shut at all times, no smoking, guidelines on having visitors over, etc…)

Special instructions

  • Potty/Diaper instructions-I listed where diapering materials are kept and instructions on what to do with dirty diapers. I also gave instructions on where the kids are at in potty training and instructions on when to let them sit on the potty.
  • Outdoor instructions-I gave instructions on outdoor play. I asked that the sitter check for fire ants and check with me before hand if they wanted to play in the pool. I mentioned where the wagon is kept and other quick notes about outdoor play.
  • Mealtime instructions-I noted where mealtime accessories are kept and a few notes about mealtime with my children.
  • Bedtime instructions-I mentioned their nap schedule and bedtime routine. I most importantly noted that Darah must have her lovey for bedtime to be successful!
  • Discipline instructions-I explained our discipline strategy with our children, located time-out and the buzzer for them, and explained which offenses deserved a time-out. I also explained redirection when time-out was over and what I expected from each child after time out (apology, hug, etc…)

List of foods

  • I basically just listed the foods my children will eat so they don’t have to guess what to feed them if they need a meal or a snack.

Medical information

  • I gave a complete list of all of our medical providers and specialists, including their addresses and phone numbers. This has been a handy list for myself!
  • I typed up each child’s full name and their birthday and indicated if they have allergies and typed up the medications they are on. I also typed up their health issues, including a list of all surgeries and medical procedures and dates.
  • Health insurance information, including copies of our insurance cards.
  • Darah and Connor both carry a special card indicating their need for an antibiotic in case of an emergency due to their heart defects. I copied these for our babysitters.

More resources for creating a babysitter handbook:

Children’s Safety Zone Guide for Babysitters

Checklist for Preparing a New Babysitter

A Babysitter’s Guide to Babysitting for a child with diabetes

Printable Babysitter Checklist

What else would be beneficial in a babysitter handbook?

8 Responses to Creating Your Babysitter Handbook

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Trina
    July 28, 2008 @ 10:35 pm

    That is such a wonderful thing to have for anybody, not just sitters, family members too. Great idea McKenna.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Heidi
    July 29, 2008 @ 9:41 am

    That’s a really extensive handbook which will be valuable for any babysitter. Did you find the sitters through a company? I need to find a reliable sitter for my kids so that Jacob doesn’t have to take so many half days off work. I’ll probably need to gather some advice from you McKenna at a later date.

  • Comment by McKenna
    July 29, 2008 @ 11:37 am

    @Heidi- I made mine pretty extensive mainly because the kids will have a babysitter every afternoon. I will write up some ideas about finding a reliable sitter and post it next week for my weekly post, although I have to admit it took me a long time to find my two gals!! :D

  • Comment by Sharon M
    July 29, 2008 @ 1:55 pm

    I think this is a great resource for babysitters, especially ones that will watch your kids once a week or more.

    Also, when babysitting small children, it was always helpful for me (back in my babysitting days) to know what sorts of games the kids liked to play. I think at one point I actually made a Babysitter’s Club-inspired “Kid Kit” to take on jobs, because the kids often enjoyed playing with games or toys that weren’t already in their house.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by amelia
    July 29, 2008 @ 2:11 pm

    ohhhhh Sharon, that is a great idea!

    McKenna, what a fabulous idea! We don’t have babysitters too often but it sure does make a handy resource. I know I always list a ton of different things before we leave so at least someone could go back to the handbook and reread what was already said.

  • Comment by Amanda
    July 29, 2008 @ 8:33 pm

    Sharon’s comment reminds me that when I used to babysit I had a VHS copies of the movie ‘The Sandlot’ and VeggieTales. I would sometimes bring ice cream too. Wow. TV and ice cream. I sound like a horrible babysitter now…

  • Comment by Dawn
    July 29, 2008 @ 8:59 pm

    ha ha ha, ice cream and movies should be reserved for babysitters. no need to make them bust out health food and educational games. :)

    however, with how much they’re charging these days, maybe i should take that back. i’m speaking from my own teen experiences and remembering the peanuts i was paid for my efforts.

  • Gravatar August 4, 2008 @ 8:39 pm

    [...] posted last week about creating a babysitter handbook, but that’s just not very valuable if you don’t have a babysitter! Here’s some [...]

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