I babysat from the time I turned 14 until I had my first kid. I babysat all ages and stages in all sorts of environments. I took care of children, cats, dogs, and a turtle once. My favorite homes to babysit for were homes with organized mamas. They usually had a notebook filled with notes on lunches, suppers, snacks, maybe even some activity ideas. It was SO easy to have that notebook. I took it with me when we went to the pool or other outings because in those days, we didn’t have cell phones with everyone and their mama’s contact info, and I couldn’t look up phone numbers or addresses with the touch of a button. I had to do my research beforehand and hope to God the pool hadn’t been relocated.
Those mamas made an impression on me, so when I became a mama employing a babysitter, I used their inspiration and created: The Babysitter Binder.
The Babysitter Binder
My babysitter binder is tabbed into different sections to please my color-coding heart. Here is the info I include:
Identifying Information: I have one sheet with our children’s full names and dates of birth. When we recently left the kids for the first time overnight for consecutive days, I also include their social security numbers.
Emergency Contacts: This has my husband’s cell and work numbers, my cell number, our nearest relative’s phone number and address, and our parents’ addresses and phone numbers.
Medical Information: Our pediatrician’s name/phone number / address and our preferred hospital is on the first page, followed by the kids’ vitamin / supplement schedule. The next pages contain health conditions and treatments. I leave one page for each child, and if there are no preexisting conditions, I write that on their page. My son has asthma, so his page will have his diagnosis [asthma], his specialist doctor’s name / address / phone number, symptoms to watch for [coughing fit, red faced, trouble speaking], and treatment [one puff of RED inhaler with six deep breaths].
Daily Flow: We don’t “schedule” our day, per se, but there is definitely a way every day flows.
Access Codes: Here are things like the code for the garage door and security system, WiFi and Netflix passwords, and how to work the Playstation.
Bedtime Routines: These are so similar in our home for both naptime and “night-sleep” that I lump them together in one section.
Rules: Because my kids will LIE to ya face. Rules like “no video games unless specifically written permission is given” or “must wear shoes outside because of piquants” or “no sprinkler unless specifically written permission is given.”
Tips/Tricks: I leave things here like interpretations of current word-attempts so the sitter knows wth my kid is trying to say:
pa-pa = paci
bah-bah = barney
danee gahgah = daniel tiger
Pick-Up/Drop Off Procedures: I included this when I gave birth to our last. We needed family members to be able to complete this task for us, and each school has different rules. One of ours requires a particular key tag to be present at pick-up, so I kept a baggie in my binder that contained two of them.
I have thought about adding a “Food” section with ideas for snacks and meals, but I honestly usually just write any suggestions on the entry for the specific day the sitter is here.
At the end of all this is a whole lotta looseleaf. When a sitter is coming, I’ll write the date at the top of the page and any additional rules, permission, or food ideas on that page. I’ll also add any “baby has a bad diaper rash right now, please follow these instructions” or “everyone is snotty, please give the following medications at naptime.”
The best thing about the binder is it is ever-changing. I feel at ease knowing part of my mom-brain is living outside of my body and that the children can, in fact, live without their mom for four hours.