Baby sitting

Baby sitting

All parents need a chance to get out and enjoy themselves together without worrying about their children, but unless you have a live-in relative or nanny you will have to make arrangements for the children’s care. Some parents take their young baby with them in a carry cot and this can work if you are going to friends and the baby is small. However, as the child grows older and becomes aware of her surroundings you could threaten her sense of security and cause sleep problems by changing her environment ” even if the mother is on hand when she cries.

Another method is to get a baby sitter to come to your house. This can be less disruptive to the child if she knows her and is asleep before you leave so that if she does wake up she will at least see a familiar face. When the child is at the difficult age around two and three it will probably be easier for all concerned if you do not leave until the child is asleep. If you have made a habit of keeping your child to a regular bedtime at a reasonable hour you should be able to get away in time for most social occasions.

Some children start playing up when they get wind of the fact that mummy and daddy are going out. It is natural not to want to be left behind, but unless the child is ill, allowing her to blackmail you into staying will not do her or you any good. Assure her that you will be back soon and she will see you in the morning, then leave.

Students and others wanting to earn a little extra money are often happy to baby sit. Look them up in the smalls columns of your newspaper or telephone a university residence. (See p. 283.)

Another solution is to form a baby sitting circle. This is formed by a group of about 20 families who live within reasonable distance of each other, have their own transport and telephone. Someone is chosen to act as secretary to coordinate the calls. Her job is to keep a list of members and find someone from within the circle to baby sit when requested. A note is made of the number of hours the person has baby sat, and he or she is then in credit for that number of hours. The system therefore works on a reciprocal basis with no payment in cash made for baby sitting, but the sitters are paid in kind by someone within the group. The secretary changes every month so that one member is not burdened with having to do it too often and with the expense of the telephone calls. It is better if members are not chosen with too many interests in common. For example, if they all have children at the same school it would be a problem finding a baby sitter on the night of the PTA meeting. But if the group is well mixed in interests, it is normally possible to find a reliable baby sitter without having to pay for the service.

Before leaving your child with a baby sitter make sure there is an easily accessible list (posted near the telephone) with your doctor’s name and number-

including his night number and emergency number. The police, flying squad, fire brigade and poison unit numbers should also be listed, as well as a number where you can be contacted. Tell your sitter if your child has been ill or has been immunised and what to do if she becomes restless. You should also know your sitter’s name and address and telephone number. If your sitter does not know your house, take her on a quick tour so that she knows where exits and other key points are.

Chances are that they will not need to use any of this information, but you will rest easier knowing that you have most potential hazards covered.

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