How to Set Your Sitter Up for Success


Every parent knows the challenge of finding a compassionate, reliable babysitter. The sitters who partner with Otter already have great childcare experience and are excited to be able to provide quality care for your family. While Otter prepares our sitters for standard babysitting scenarios, it can also be helpful to set any expectations you have before and during a care session. Here are a few steps to set your sitter up for success before their first care session with your family!

Otter will connect you with the sitter via a 3-way text two days before the care session. This is a great time to share a little about your family and what the sitter can expect. Plan on using this thread to communicate with the sitter before and during care!

Here are some things you can do before the care session

- Set out an emergency contact list in a visible location. This will be helpful if the sitter needs to reach someone in case of an accident or crisis. If it makes sense for your family, you can also include any nearby family and friends who could provide help if needed! If there are any allergies in the home, add these to the emergency list so the sitter is aware.

- If the kids will be having a meal, it can be helpful to either make the meal in advance or get the ingredients together for the sitter. This will set them up for success when it comes to meal time! If they will be having snacks, putting the snacks in a central location can also be helpful. Every young child is different, so letting your sitter know what types of foods are preferred and safe for them is helpful.

- If you’ll be out for the evening, and the sitter will be putting the kids to bed, you can set them up for success by laying out pajamas and any special items that are a part of their routine like a prized blanket or books they like to read. This is a great opportunity to set up a nightlight or baby monitor as well if it’s needed!  

- Share in advance any special circumstances, such as if you will be staying home during care, plan to have them down for a nap or bedtime when the sitter arrives, or if you need to be out the door by a specific time. You know your children best and setting expectations for them and your sitter can make it a smooth transition for everyone.

When the Sitter Arrives

- When the sitter arrives, be sure to review anything you’ve prepared for the care session with them. If applicable, walk through the home with them to show them the emergency contact list, schedule, meal items, and bedtime clothing you’ve placed out. Additionally, sharing the kids’ schedule with the sitter can help alleviate any confusion. Mention any activities planned during the session, naps (if applicable), meal times, and bed times. This is also great opportunity for the sitter to ask any questions!

- Share expectations you have for the kids with the sitter present, such as any responsibilities they might have (ie keeping their rooms clean, picking up the living room, etc). Review any house rules too, such as whether there should be any screen time, expectation with phones, etc. Explaining this to both the kids and the sitter sets clear expectations for what you look forward to when you return!

Setting your sitter and your children up for success doesn’t have to be complicated. Even taking just a few minutes to prepare before the care session can make a big difference! Showing both the sitter and the kids what you’ve prepared can help boost the sitter’s confidence and set expectations for the kids, which can help you relax and enjoy your (much deserved) time away!