How to Set Expectations with a New Sitter


There is nothing worse than coming home from a fabulous date night to find your children are still not in bed and the house is a mess.  While it is easy just to blame the sitter, perhaps she didn’t know what you expected of her that evening.  Katie Kavulla from SheKnows shares these tips for making sure you and your sitter are on the same page:

Be realistic
You can’t expect your occasional sitter to do it all—and do it all exactly the way you would do it. “A couple of rules of thumb when setting expectations—ask her to have the house back to the state it was in when she got there and pick one thing that’s important to you for her to accomplish—getting the kids to bed on time, running the dishwasher after dinner…whatever you pick.”

Think about what you expect in advance
Consider sending her an email in advance about what you expect.  “Writing an email will help you compile your thoughts, and it will give her a chance to think about questions in advance.”

Make yourself clear verbally
Even if you sent an email earlier, you should still take the time to explain things before you leave verbally. “When she arrives, walk her around the house and tell her what you expect.” In addition, make sure you have a copy of the written instructions—with the addition of important numbers—posted where the sitter can easily see it for reference.

Tell your children what to expect before you go
Whatever it is you expect your children to do (take baths before bed, put away toys, etc.), be sure and tell them this in front of the sitter.  “Make that clear while everyone is listening. A lot of miscommunications between sitters and parents come from the kids after you’re gone.

If your new sitter goes above and beyond your list of expectations, consider giving her an extra tip to show your appreciation—good sitters are hard to find!

And if she doesn’t work out on the first try? “If your sitter missed the mark this time, give her a second chance, but let her know before she leaves what you expect next time she comes over.”

Share with us your tips for working with a new sitter. And, if you’re looking for sitter recommendations, head over to our The Branch-Sitters Facebook group.


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