Preparing for baby sitters

I remember a day when my husband and I would make last minute plans to go out, and bam, we were out.  Now it takes a lot more planning with the kiddos.  Here’s a cheat sheet to make sure you have all your bases covered before getting out!

Getting a Baby-Sitter

  • Plan ahead: It’s much easier to get a baby-sitter a month ahead of time than the day before – for obvious reasons.  I keep a list of possible baby-sitters in the Family Planning notebook so that I’m not scrambling trying to think of people (see a Printable for your baby-sitting list at the end of this post!).
  • Consider your possibilities: Think of nearby friends and relatives that would make good baby-sitters.  Ask your friends who have children if they have good baby-sitters they can recommend.  Consider coworkers and their children, and people you know from church or clubs.  If you’re always on the look out to add people to your list of possible baby-sitters, you won’t be stuck without one as often.  (Of course, do your homework to make sure they’re trustworthy before leaving your children with them.)
  • Join or create a baby-sitting coop:  If you know a fair amount of people (3-6 couples) with children, ask them if they want to take turns baby-sitting.  In a baby-sitting coop, the couples take turns watching all the kids.  This means that when it’s your turn to be the sitter, you’ll be watching a lot of kids – but, on the plus side, you’ll have lots of nights with free baby-sitters!

What to do Ahead of Time

  • Get cash: A lot of people don’t use check books anymore, and of course baby-sitters can’t take credit cards.  It’s easiest for everyone if you take cash out ahead of time and have it ready for your sitter.
  • Write down all needed information: I’m always thinking of last minute details to tell the baby-sitter as I’m running out the door.  Use the printable at the end of this post and keep it in your Family Notebook.  It will come in handy!
  • Keep an Envelope: maintain a “baby-sitter envelope” with anything a sitter might need – this may include copies of health insurance cards or extra cash (just in case)
  • Plan Dinner: It’s common courtesy to provide dinner for whomever is watching your kids.  For teenagers, I usually get pizza, and for adults, I’ll cook a meal.  I also try to keep some snacks on hand in case they get hungry later.
  • Make a plan for transportation and getting into and out of the house.  You’ll want to leave car seats (even if it’s just for an emergency), and a plan for the sitter to lock the house behind him or her, yet be able to get back in.  If the sitter plans to go somewhere, also leave a fully packed diaper bag and a stroller.
  • Plan your night out.  Check out this post for ideas: Date Night Ideas


As always, I included Microsoft Office versions of these documents if you want to make modifications.  Don’t forget to keep these in your Family Notebook!  I would recommend printing out plenty of them so you’ll have them on hand when you need them.

List of Baby-Sitters and Phone Numbers in Excel: Baby-Sitters List

List of Baby-Sitters and Phone Numbers in pdf: Baby-Sitters List

Important Information for Baby-Sitters in Excel: Important Information for Baby-Sitters

Important Information for Baby-Sitters in pdf: Important Information for Baby-Sitters

Important Phone Numbers in Excel: Important Phone Numbers

Important Phone Numbers in pdf: Important Phone Numbers