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babysitter for 2.5 yr old for the first time - tips?

(14 Posts)
Millionprammiles Mon 22-Dec-14 09:43:28

This probably sounds a bit wimpy but we've never used a babysitter for dd, we've no family nearby and the nursery don't permit staff to babysit so we've bottled it to date.

We've finally got up the nerve to book (through Sitters as local friends recommended them, there are a few sitters within walking distance, all current/recent CMs/nannies with kids of their own) but am feeling apprehensive.

We've booked 90 mins extra so the sitter can do bathtime with us then do story/bedtime alone - does that sounds reasonable? Anything else we could do to prepare dd/make it easier?

We're hoping we can eventually work up to a day and overnight as we've a wedding to go to in a few months time. Not sure if that's realistic or if Sitters even do overnights.

What do other parents of toddlers without family nearby do?

duckduckgoose1 Mon 22-Dec-14 10:56:27

Well I wouldn't leave my toddler with a stranger, certainly not for a whole day and overnight! Why does the babysitter need to bathe your child- isn't that a little odd? (Sorry but it sounds strange to me).

I understand you have no nearby family but you've said you have friends who also use this online babysitting company. It bet it costs £'s too. Why not babysit for friends and they can return the favour?

Millionprammiles Mon 22-Dec-14 11:21:37

Friends either work, have their hands full with their own toddlers/babies or live too far. A professional nanny/CM who comes to your home (so no picking up an sleeping toddler at 11pm) is the preferred option for some.

I was looking for advice from parents who'd done something similar. Fair enough if its not your choice.

AliMonkey Mon 22-Dec-14 11:34:05

We use Sitters (though used nursery staff for a few years). Until recently we always had children in bed by time sitter arrived so was no big deal for them as DC didn't have to worry about interacting with sitter if they didn't want to - particular issue for us as DS has selective mutism. I think important thing is to just not make a big deal of it. "Mummy and Daddy are going out for a bit thus evening and a nice lady called X is going to be here in case you need anything"

Thurlow Mon 22-Dec-14 11:42:53

How much can you afford to build it up gradually?

If you're apprehensive, I'd suggest that the first time you go you, you get the sitter to come after your DD has gone to sleep. Then that night is just for you and your DH to feel comfortable being out of the house.

Then yes, building it up sounds sensible. Getting her to do bathtime and story time so your DD gets to know her. Then maybe do a trial where you go out but you're only 5 minutes away in case there is an absolute meltdown.

Ali's suggestion is very good - it does need to be lightly and breezy and no fuss made of it at all, so your DD sees that you like the sitter and you're comfortable leaving her.

Kids can be very adaptable. We had to leave 2yo DD with FIL one day due to a bit of an emergency. She initially wasn't impressed, as he hadn't cared for her alone. But she got a chocolate biscuit and some CBeebes and within fifteen minutes had decided that he was lovely and she was happy. So with your DD, if you are happy you have booked someone with good childcare experience then know that your DD really will settle down, and that importantly the person looking after your DD isn't going to get flustered by anything that happens.

Millionprammiles Mon 22-Dec-14 11:59:53

Thurlow - thanks. Yes plan is to go out locally the first few times. Other parents on our street have used the sitters (and recommend them) and they seem very experienced.

Happy to spend the money (its either that or dp and I never spend any time together apart from dd so its cheaper than a divorce smile

Ragwort Mon 22-Dec-14 12:04:19

My friend is a professional 'Sitter' - they are very used to dealing with children who have never been left before, I am sure they will both cope fine.

Millionprammiles Mon 22-Dec-14 12:27:25

Ragwort - thanks thats reassuring.

dancingwitch Tue 23-Dec-14 00:35:21

We were in a similar position and tend to have two strategies. The first is to only leave the house after 8pm when we can pretty much guarantee the DC will be asleep. We don't tell them that we are going out and when they wake the following morning they are none the wiser that we have been out at all. The sitters are all very experienced and we tell them that the DC will not be expecting to see them if they wake up and the sitters are fine with that. Having said that, we have only ever done this using a sitter that the DC have previously met so, if they were to wake, they wouldn't be faced with a complete stranger.
The other strategy is if we need to go out before 8pm in which case I always make sure that the sitter is there for an hour or so before we leave as then the sitter can do bed & bath whilst I get ready. I basically leave the sitter to get on with it and go and have a shower, do my hair etc and then go & say goodbye to the DC when I leave. It has always been very low key & we have been matter of fact about it and the children don't mind at all. Even when it has been a sitter's first time with our DC I have been quite relaxed as I am fairly sure that they will have had some nightmares to deal with and I doubt that mine would be that bad.
Practical tips - I leave a sheet not only with our phone numbers and the number of the restaurant on but with details of the DC (eg dofb & age, medical history (no allergies, up to date on jabs, had c pox etc), doctor's details etc) and our address plus key directions (sat nav gets you to the T junction 200yds away but you wouldn't know whether to go left or right) so that if there was a medical emergency and they had to dial 999 they would have the necessary background information that you are asked for to hand. I show them where the fuse box is and where the torch & candles are as, whilst power cuts are infrequent, I would hate to be in someone else's house and responsible for their children if there was a power cut. I show them how to adjust the heating, make sure they know how to work the TV, show them where the tea, coffee etc is. I also tell them which of the neighbours to run to if there is a problem.

Middleagedmotheroftwo Tue 23-Dec-14 00:42:24

If you have other parents on your street who have used a babysitting service, why on earth don't you get together and form a babysitting circle?
Or find a friendly local teenager?

Foolishlady Tue 23-Dec-14 00:57:24

How do these babysitting circles work? Do you leave your own children at home to babysit other children? I think me and my friend before children always thought we would swap babysitting duties but it didn't work out - wouldn't want to head across town & leave baby behind unless it was for my own night out! Always have used paid babysitter or family

Millionprammiles Tue 23-Dec-14 09:48:23

Middle - see my earlier post why that's not feasible or attractive for us. The people on our street who've used sitters arent people we know (the website shows recs from local parents).
Also I'd be more comfortable leaving my two yr old with a nanny of 15 yrs experience than a teenager. It would be different if dd was older.

Dancing - thanks for the tips. V good point re fuse box.

eastmidswarwicknightnanny Tue 23-Dec-14 10:07:20

It's normal to worry but many parents do it I often babysit for families where I haven't met the children before at hotels for events or weddings, last min emergency bookings and never have had an issue
Happy for parents to ring or text during the eve.

I have also done overnights Inc couple days where only had the children prev for few hrs.

GingerDoodle Fri 26-Dec-14 18:02:55

We also have no friends or family nearby. We found our sitter via gumtree (your lass doing childcare at college with a good reference for sitting two toddlers) when our DD was younger (think about 9 months - she's now 2).

The first time we got her to come round just for a chat and see how she got on with DD.

After that we got her to come round generally a little while (20 min maybe) before bed so DD knew she was here but we put her to bed. I prefer that DD knows we're not here in case she wakes (and freaks because she thinks we're here but we're not).

Sitter occasionally feeds and does bed time now but not often due to costs! Haven't got her to bath DD - but only because we don't as part of bedtime - if we did it would have been necessary!

I'd say a good sitter who you build a relationship with is worth their wait in gold - ours has even tracked to a hotel to sit our's whilst we had a night away for DH's birthday and never minds if we are late.

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