Establishing the the rules regarding physical contact for a babysitter is one of the most important things to clarify from the beginning, especially if the sitter in question is young and relatively inexperienced. Drawing clear lines between acceptable contact and that which crosses the lines can help to keep your children safe and eliminate any confusion on the part of the sitter. These ten rules are examples of those that you might want to have in place for your sitter.
- No Corporal Punishment – Even if your family practices corporal punishment, it should be strictly forbidden for the babysitter to do so. The potential for excessive force due to inexperience is too great, and could lead to injury. If your family does not practice corporal punishment, having it introduced by a babysitter is likely to be a traumatic event for your child.
- Attachment Parenting Guidelines – For babysitters that will be watching an infant whose parents are practicing attachment parenting, it’s important to explain the guidelines clearly in order to ensure that your sitter follows them.
- Rules Regarding Bathing – Depending on the age of your children and the experience level of your sitter, the rules regarding bathing probably need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Tailoring these guidelines to each sitter and situation might be the best option.
- Acceptable Methods of Showing Affection – When children are young and sitters are inexperienced, a simple show of innocent affection can become one that parents would might find inappropriate. Letting your sitter know what sort of affection is acceptable (such as hugging or patting on the back) versus what is not (kissing on the mouth, for example) is important for the safety of your children and the comfort of everyone involved.
- Never Shake an Infant – Teenagers with limited baby experience might accidentally shake an infant that won’t stop crying or seems to be unconscious, which could lead to brain damage. Because this situation is almost always the result of an uninformed, inexperienced sitter reacting to a stressful situation it’s important to clearly explain the dangers ahead of time.
- Avoid Overly Rough Play – Accidental injuries could easily result from roughhousing, so it’s a good idea to make sure that your sitter knows this sort of behavior is not acceptable. While you certainly don’t want to discourage a sitter from playing with your kids, younger sitters may need some guidelines to guarantee that safety comes first.
- Forceful Handling is Forbidden – Spanking is only one form of corporal punishment, but it’s the first that comes to mind for most people. It’s important to make sure that your sitter knows that rough handling of any sort, especially that which stems from anger, is absolutely forbidden. (Having a nanny camera would be a way to know what is going on at home.)
- Rules Children Should Know – Babysitters should be well informed of your expectations, but children should also know what sort of contact is acceptable. Explaining good touch/bad touch and other concepts related to physical contact is just as important for your children as it is for the sitter that will be looking after them.
- Be Observant of Kids’ Contact With One Another – Kids of a certain age are naturally curious about their bodies and how they differ from those of the opposite gender; instructing sitters to keep an eye out for this behavior when watching several children, especially those that have shown indications or have a history of exploratory contact, might be a wise choice.
- Eliminate the Potential For Kids’ Witnessing Inappropriate Contact – In addition to establishing rules that govern the acceptable contact between the sitter and your child, it’s also important to establish ones that protect your children from witnessing inappropriate contact between your sitter and their significant other. Strictly forbidding visitors of any kind will not only eliminate this possibility, but will also keep your sitter from being distracted and inattentive to your children in favor of their guest.
Although these discussions may make some parents uncomfortable, they are essential for the safety of your children, especially when dealing with a new or inexperienced babysitter.
Our thanks to Tina Marconi, of Babysitters. net, for this important information. Nothing is more important than the safety of our children. pb