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Back-to-School Tips: Preparing Your After-School Sitter

The phrase “back-to-school” conjures up images of backpacks, bag lunches, new school supplies and perhaps a homework tantrum or two. For parents, back-to-school is a time to make sure the children are well prepared for the transition from summer fun to classroom structure. But many end up forgetting one crucial element of back-to-school planning…

Preparing their after-school babysitters and nannies.

Since these after-school child care providers are the ones who will be in charge of the afternoon routines and homework help, it’s especially important that they’re well prepared for the school year. These quick back-to-school tips from Sittercity.com will help you make sure you’ve got everything covered when it comes to your after-school caregiver.

SETTING EXPECTATIONS

During the sitter interviews, before you’ve actually hired your after-school babysitter, it’s a good idea to run through some of the school-year routines so that caregivers will know what to expect on the job.

This includes:

Who picks the children up from school (the bus, a car pool parent, the babysitter?)

Any after-school activities the babysitter will have to take kids to

Whether or not you expect the sitter to help with homework

Who will be responsible for preparing meals and/or feeding the children (you or the sitter?)

What time you expect to be home and how often you tend to run late

WRITING DOWN THE RULES

Once you’ve hired your after-school babysitter or nanny, you must write down the rules you expect her and the children to follow while you’re gone. This ensures that the caregiver won’t forget anything and will keep the routines consistent for the children, which does a great deal to help with the back-to-school transition.

These rules can include:

When homework/studying should be done and how much time children should spend on it

Whether or not the children may have friends over for a playdate

How much TV the children are allowed to watch, if any

What types of foods are acceptable (and unacceptable) for after-school snacks

AFTER-SCHOOL ACTIVITIES

Since many children get involved with after-school activities, clubs or sports, your after-school babysitter should have a written schedule of these activities to help keep track of everything. If the babysitter will be responsible for picking the children up from any of these activities, you should also print out directions and a map to make sure the babysitter doesn’t get lost.

CREATE AN INFO CENTER

The written rules, the after-school schedules and the directions/maps should all be in the same place every time the babysitter comes over. Creating an “info center” like this is a great way to keep everything organized. (This is also where you should keep all emergency phone numbers.)

Another nice thing about having one central info center is that the after-school babysitter can use it to place thing like notes the children bring home from school, the mail or any other items that may need your attention. Putting these things in a basket is a simple way to keep it all together and keep your school year running smoothly.

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