A caregiver can be a great help especially for busy working parents who need someone to babysit their child while they are away at work.
Whether you choose to have the grandparents babysit or engage a caregiver to help care for your child, good communication with your child’s caregiver will greatly facilitate the childcare process and minimise any misunderstandings later.
1. Set the ground rules
Consistency is important when it comes to disciplining children. Hence, parents should make it a point to remind caregivers about the ground rules on:
- School work (if any)
- During meals (e.g. Table manners)
- Playtime and TV/iPad time (if allowed, what channels?)
- Do's and Don'ts when caring or disciplining child
- What to do in case of emergency
As much as possible, the same level of discipline should be enforced regardless who cares for the child – parents or caregivers.
"Our helper cares for our baby when both my wife and I are at work. We have a CCTV at home which our helper is aware of, it helps give comfort to us when we can see our baby even while at work" ~ Kelvin Lim, daddy of 8-month old Denise
"My mum care for our 3 year old daughter. I strictly do not allow TV and mobile distractions during meal times because it will prolong the eating duration which causes tummyaches for my daughter. I am grateful that my mum agrees with me" ~ Jillian Wu
2. Go through child’s routine
Familiarise the caregiver with your child’s routine, including the timing for:
- School work (if any)
- Entertainment time
If your caregiver is coming over to your home to babysit, show them where the relevant items such as toys, books, diapers, snacks and medication are kept. If your child is slightly older, you can even create a routine chart for your child to follow and your caregiver can guide your child through the chart.
"We have a fun routine chart that acts as a reward system for our son. He gets excited when he is rewarded with stickers for tasks that he does, this eases some of the "responsibilities" off our nanny" ~Justina Goh, mummy of 4 year old Leslie
3. Emergency situations
What happens when your child or your caregiver falls sick or gets injured during the babysitting session? Discuss how to deal with such emergency situations upfront so the caregiver knows what to do.
Have your caregiver keep all emergency numbers handy, including your mobile numbers and alternative contact numbers to other family members (in case you cannot be reached).
Ideally, have all the information easily accessible and ensure the caregiver has a copy of it.
4. Financial implications
Babysitting requires your caregiver to set aside time, money and effort to care for your child.
If you are paying a caregiver to babysit, be sure to discuss babysitting schedule and payment beforehand, as well as who pays for additional shopping or outings for the child.
Be clear about what is the minimum cancellation notice to minimise any nasty surprises later.
If you are lucky enough to have the grandparents care for your child, discuss with your spouse about paying your parents to babysit, especially if they are providing daily care needed for your child. The “payment” can come in many forms; one of the more common forms is to give allowance to your parents. Share the possibilities with your parents and it would be best if a mutual understanding is reached.