Every mom needs a break sometimes. A night out on the town, whether with your significant other or friends, can be crucial to a mom’s sanity. You may work outside the home, inside the home, from home or any combination of those. You may feel you don’t get to spend enough time with your kids or you may be desperate for a break. Whatever your situation, research has shown time and again that strengthening your relationships with your honey and your friends benefits you and your family.
That’s not to say it isn’t nerve-racking to leave your little ones home. I’ve been on “date nights” when I had trouble concentrating on what my husband was saying because I was worrying if our daughter had eaten enough dinner and if she was getting ready for bed on time (there’s a little control freak in every mom, right?).
Hopefully you have a family member or close friend you trust to take care of your babies while you recharge your batteries. Or maybe you have a Mary Poppins-like sitter you trust and your kids adore.
Regardless of who is responsible for your littles while you’re away, here are 5 security tips for your babysitter:
- Post emergency information where everyone can see it.
The most important information includes:
- Your address, including cross-streets
- Your home phone number (if you have a landline)
- Your cell number and that of your significant other
- Any allergy information—food or medications
- 911 (it can be easy to forget even basic information in an emergency)
- The numbers for your local police department and fire station, in case you don’t have a landline
- The number for Poison Control
- Your pediatrician’s number, including the after-hours number
- Health insurance information (you may want to leave a copy of your insurance card, just in case)
- Names and numbers for any close/trusted neighbors
- Do NOT open the door.
Remind your sitter that they have no obligation to be polite and answer the door. They can ask who is there so it’s clear someone is home, but they should not open the door. If you are providing a meal, pick it up or have it delivered before you leave. Don’t put a babysitter in the position of possibly allowing unknown persons to enter your home.
- Make sure your sitter has a code for your alarm and knows operating basics.
You should be able to set up a temporary code or one that is just for your babysitter to arm and disarm your alarm system. Give your sitter a basic introduction, including how to recognize alerts, how to turn off any false alarms and how to use the panic button.
- Keep all doors, windows and access points locked.
Safety is of paramount importance, so be sure the sitter knows how to lock (and unlock) all doors, windows, the garage door or other access points. Ask them to keep everything locked when your family is inside and to lock up if they go anywhere (on a walk, to the park, etc.).
- Set up a “code word” to use in case of emergency.
Rules sometimes go out the window in case of an emergency, but you can make it just a little safer by establishing a “code word.” This is a word known only by you, your babysitter and a specific person you tell. Say a pipe bursts while you are at an event and you can’t get home right away but your plumber is available to come fix it. Activate the code word by telling it to both your babysitter and plumber, so when he knocks on the door and says the word, your sitter knows it is safe to let him in.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a few of the things I’ve done to make leaving my daughter a little less anxiety-inducing so I can relax and enjoy my time away. Hope it helps a fellow mom be able to do the same!
Renee Mallonee is a Dallas-based mom of a 1-year-old girl. She has worked for MONI Smart Security (formerly Monitronics) for almost 10 years and enjoys spending time with her family, boating or experiencing the outdoors.