Awesome, Expert Tips for Hiring a Holiday Babysitter


Awesome, Expert Advice for Hiring a Holiday Babysitter

The invitations to holiday parties are stacking up and you need to decide which ones to accept and which to decline. You can practically feel it in the air: the countdown to Christmas has certainly started! It’s time to organize: look at the calendar, make some decisions, and book a holiday babysitter.

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, but along with that comes some extra considerations for babysitting arrangements. Whether your holiday babysitter is grandma, a neighborhood teenager, or a close friend be sure he or she knows these 7 things when babysitting your children.

Seven Things to Communicate to Your Holiday Babysitter

1. Be Clear on Acceptable Activities for your Holiday Babysitter

If you don’t want your holiday babysitter to chat with friends on the phone, text, or be online, make sure you are clear with them up-front about your expectations. And if TV is off-limits for the evening, tell the sitter in front of the children. That way there’s no room for negotiation! Not that your sweet angels would EVER try something like that. 😉

2. Food Expectations

Holiday time can present many opportunities for overload on sugar and high-fat foods. But we all gotta eat! While a little indulgence is fine, make sure you leave healthy snacks for both your child and the holiday babysitter to eat. After all, a hungry babysitter is not a happy babysitter. Amiright? Check out the link to our Pinterest board full of easy, great ideas.

3. Be Specific about Bedtime

The first time I hired a babysitter, I made sure to write down the typical bedtime routine so she would know exactly what the kids were used to. That way they couldn’t talk her into anything crazy (“Well, sometimes Mom lets us…”) and they would be comforted by following the same schedule as when I’m home. It worked out great for all parties involved, and I highly recommend it.

… especially if your two year old has a photo with Santa Claus scheduled the next morning — you’d probably want to be very clear so he goes to bed on time!

4. Be Realistic

Please don’t leave your holiday babysitter hanging when it comes to what time you’ll be home. Think about it in advance and even contact the host or hostess of the Christmas party if you’re not sure what to expect. Your babysitter will SO appreciate your effort for timeliness.

And if you’re out and find you’ll be more than 15 minutes late, don’t be bashful. Call and let your holiday babysitter know an updated time. This is especially important if you’ve hired a teenager to babysit your kids, as he or she probably has a curfew and would need to contact his or her parents to let them know the situation.

5. Decide on the Location

Babysitting in Your Home

The most traditional arrangement is for a babysitter to come to your house — especially if the holiday plans you have coincide with your kids’ bedtime. It’s probably easiest for everyone if bedtime routine happens in your home.

So if a holiday babysitter is coming to your house, give her a tour! Some things you’ll want to communicate:

  • Locations of phones, exits, bathrooms, and the first aid kit
  • Emergency contact information, left in plain sight
  • Show her how to use the remote controls if TV is allowed
  • Give her the Wi-Fi Password for her smartphone if she’ll be staying for a while after the kids have gone to bed
  • Give her a heads up on any areas that are off-limits for the kids (like if some of their presents are stashed in your closet and you suspect your kids might try to sneak a peek)

Dropping Kids Off at Someone Else’s Home

Now, if you’re getting a holiday babysitter during the day, Grandma or your friend might prefer watching your kids at their house. If so, make sure it is kid-proof for your child’s age. Pay close attention to this simple formula: Glass Ornaments + Christmas Tree = Potential Toddler DISASTER

Christmas equation for toddler disasterWhen you have a toddler, the likelihood of a nativity annihilation is obvious, right?! But it’s easy for Grandma or a Mom-friend who has older kids to forget.

Because kids can make a quick mess of cherished Christmas decorations, give your sitter a heads up regarding childproofing — especially if you have a toddler.

And when you arrive to drop off, don’t be shy to visually confirm the house is kid-friendly. After all, you’re protecting their decorations as well as your kids.

It’s also a good idea to make sure any firearms are securely stored and internet safety protocols and expectations are in place when dropping your kids off with someone else. A quick question won’t hurt anything!

6. Provide Clear Communication Expectations for Your Holiday Babysitter

Tell the childcare giver when you’d like to be contacted and how you can be reached. Do you want them to text you if the kids are fighting? Do you want a call if someone falls and gets a bump? Should they let you know if your toddler is still crying 20 minutes after you leave? Just tell them what you’d like to know about immediately, just in case the situation arises.

7. How to Pay the Holiday Babysitter

Be prepared to pay your holiday babysitter in cash! (Not sure what to pay the babysitter? Click the link to watch our free, quick, informative video.) It’s a kind gesture to your sitter if they don’t have to think about cashing your check later at the bank, especially if you’ve been out late!

If you are swapping out childcare with a friend, be persistent to schedule a time for you to return the favor. You wouldn’t want to be that friend who never follows up on a promise. If Grandma or a friend is taking care of your children as a favor, get them a gift card to a favorite restaurant or coffee shop to show your appreciation. They probably don’t expect it, but do it anyway. Hey — that’s what the holidays are about, right?

And if you have a regular babysitter or nanny, definitely consider giving them a holiday bonus. Some people use a week’s pay as a rule of thumb for how much a childcare bonus should be. Others say their go-to is giving a nice gift card — such an appreciated gesture. Whatever you choose, spread that holiday cheer and don’t leave your beloved sitter out!

Want to save these tips for later? Pin the image below so you don’t forget them!

Awesome, Expert Advice for Hiring a Holiday Babysitter

I know the holidays can get crazy with all the parties, events, and school plays. I sincerely hope these tips make your December a little less frazzled. Simply be sure you’ve communicated with your holiday babysitter and planned ahead to make the holidays a run more smoothly. If you’re really into planning ahead, you should try to book your childcare early! Just another way you can make your holiday a bit merrier. 🙂

Be sure to share these tips with your friends who are also parents. Here’s wishing you (and your babysitters) a wonderful holiday season from us at Smart Kids 101! May your days (and kids) be merry and bright!

READ NEXT: Simple Ways to Make Your Kids’ Christmas Wishes Reality 

Sign up for our Babysitting, Safety, or Manners e-Courses today

About Aubrey Hunt
Before hopping on the crazy ride we call motherhood, I studied engineering and taught math and science to middle and high school students. Now, perhaps like you, I fill my days singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider and praying my preschooler will eat a vegetable — any vegetable!

2 thoughts on “Awesome, Expert Tips for Hiring a Holiday Babysitter”

  1. Monica says:

    I really like the ‘be clear on activities’ advice. Too many times a sitter might take the liberty to talk to her boyfriend on the phone and not spend that time paying attention to your little one.

    In addition to what you listed above Aubrey, I can highly recommend as a filter for good babysitters. Using a service like this one helps to stack the odds in the parents favor when it comes to finding a good babysitter.

    Thanks Aubrey and I’ll be looking for more info. from you on this subject!

    1. Aubrey Hunt says:

      Thanks, Monica. I’ll have to check that out. 🙂

Comments are closed.