Creating A Babysitter Folder
A few weeks ago my husband and I were blessed to go on a trip to France and the United Kingdom. If that wasn’t enough, our family and friends watched our kids while we were gone!! A trip for sixteen days without the kids…this could have been either be joyous or disastrous. I have to say that as our departure time was approaching I started to get very nervous and worried.
All of these questions popped into my head:
- Was my son going to have an allergic reaction while we were gone?
- Are the kids going to break down, miss us, and be inconsolable?
- Will the babysitters (mother, mother-in-law, family, and friends) be able to find everything they need?
- Are the caretakers going to be woken up throughout the night by the toddler?
- Will my son wet the bed every night and wake up my mom? Will she forgive me?
- Did I buy enough snacks?
- Will my daughter be able to wean herself from nursing while we were gone (wasn’t too successful up to this point)?
- How will they know how to reach us if there is an emergency?
Those were just a fraction of the questions and worries I had. While preparing everything for our kids I even had the thought, “Wow. It would be easier to just bring them with us.”
I quickly snapped back to it and realized I was being silly. During my high school, college, and post college years I had a job as a nanny to five different families. The parents that were the most compatible and rewarding to work for were the ones that had great organization and communication—like the adult world, right? When they organized everything to make my job smoother to care for their children in the ways that were best for the family and their specific needs, it helped me tremendously step in to their lives with a more graceful transition and hit the ground running. The one in particular person I am thinking about and often reflect upon was a mother that was super organized. Her house was exactly like Real Simple magazine. There was a place for everything and everything had its place. Plus, everything looked clean and modern. Of course, the cleaning lady helped with that. Ah…to have someone help clean my house. For another day, I suppose… The important detail here is that my employer had a nice folder which contained helpful information for me to refer to. It was easy to find information, schedules, and important information while working for this family. Upon reflecting on this experience while thinking about our trip it gave me the idea of making my own babysitter folder.
What My Folder Contained:
- Temporary guardian authorization form
- Our general everyday routine including mealtimes and naps
- Medicine that needs to be given
- Activities each child likes to do including special books they like, or specific toys that are their favorites
- Directions to places like the zoo, playground, church, indoor play areas, grocery store, etc.
- Our itinerary including accommodations, telephone numbers, and train or flight numbers
- Meal ideas and what each child likes to eat for breakfast, lunch, and snacks
- How to find things around the house (mainly kitchen and laundry)
- Location of medicine
- Food allergy list (what my son is allergic to and can’t have)
After typing out the above items, I printed them out and punched three holes in them to put into a three ringed binder (which I happened to have in our office, for free!) The binder had front and back pockets in which I put the medical insurance card, library card, and local gym card. Before we left I made sure my mom had a temporary membership to our local gym. This way, she had the option of taking the kids to the pool if she wanted to.
Putting this folder together didn’t take very long and gave me the assurance that everyone would have everything they needed OR knew where to find it. Here is a Google Document of a few of the sheets I printed out. To see a new sheet click on the bottom tabs. You are welcome to download into Excel to add your info or print as is. If you would like to pass it on to someone, please send them to this page. We would love your feedback!
After being back and hearing how everyone’s experience with watching the kids went I took note of what I would add or change to the folder in the future if my husband and I were both away.
What to Add for the Future:
- I forgot to add cash in an envelope for any trips to the grocery store, emergency, fun outing, etc. This is one thing that just didn’t happen before we left the country. It was on the list, but somehow slipped through the cracks.
- Directions on how to use the toilets locks we have in two of our bathrooms. Oops!
- How to unlock the bathroom doors if the kids lock themselves in, Ah!! Totally happened, and we didn’t tell people where the keys were. You never know what random things will happen.
And all of those worries?? The kids ended up doing REALLY well for the most part. Our son had a few times where he got sad but was cheered up by our SKYPE sessions and family/friends. Our daughter did great and was her cuddly, feisty self. Would we jet away for another two weeks on our own anytime soon? Probably not. One, because we would have to save A LOT of money to do this and two, it was hard being away that long from the kids. Of course, ask me in a few months and I might think differently!