Monday, March 5, 2012

Babysitting Form

by Kelley Lindberg

The Kids With Food Allergies website has just posted a great form you can use for babysitting and drop-off child care. These forms were created by a collaborative effort of Kids With Food Allergies and, and they will help you make sure your babysitter or care-giver has the information they need about your food-allergic child. The forms are free to download and print, so click here to find them: KWFA’s Food Allergy Babysitter and Drop-Off Child Care Form

In addition, here are some tips for preparing your babysitter (and yourself) for a smooth, easy, and reaction-free experience:

·         Preplan meals for both the babysitter and the children. Meals should be cold, not cooked, so that the babysitter doesn’t have to use an oven or stove.

·         Show the babysitter where the safe snacks are. Better yet, put them out on the counter and state “Only these snacks!” Make it clear that the babysitter can’t eat non-safe foods either, since he/she will be touching your children and their playthings.

·         Show them where the phone is. If you don’t have a land-line phone and the sitter doesn’t have his/her own phone, give the babysitter a cell phone so they can call you.

·         Write down your own home address. If the babysitter has to call 911 from a cell phone, caller ID won’t show where she’s calling from, and if she doesn’t know your home address, precious moments can be lost while she hunts for mail or something that shows her where she is.

·         Leave them your phone number, and also the phone number of an alternate contact who you know will be home.

·         Tell the babysitter where you’ll meet him/her and the kids if they have to evacuate for a fire or other emergency.

·         Leave a working flashlight beside the emergency phone number and address, in case there’s a power outage.

·         Explain when and how to administer Benadryl and EpiPens.

·         Leave a detailed note of bedtime routines – time to eat, time to bathe, time to read stories, time to watch TV or movie, time for lights-out. That prevents your children from wheedling or arguing for more.

·         If you want to “try out” a babysitter, invite him/her over to watch the kids while you get something done inside the house. They have to take care of everything, but you are immediately available if there’s a problem. But leave them alone! If you hover, you won’t find out how they handle everything. Use the time to get caught up on scrapbooking, paperwork, some gardening, or whatever.

Many parents are nervous about hiring a babysitter, but remember this: today’s babysitters are growing up in the generation that’s familiar with food allergies. Chances are good they have friends or classmates who are allergic, so they will probably be aware of the seriousness and very willing to work with you. (If not, send them packing, of course!) So with a little extra preparation, and these forms from Kids With Food Allergies, you can make the experience great for everyone involved.

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