Tips For Leaving Kids with a Babysitter Overnight

By Ashley Paskill on December 30, 2021

Hiring a babysitter to watch your kids overnight can seem impossible. Your kids may not be used to being away from you for an extended period of time, and you may be anxious about forgetting to provide the sitter with information or supplies they need. Knowing exactly what the sitter needs and what you can expect of them can help them, and you, be as prepared as possible and have the night go as smoothly as possible.

Babysitters do not own your home

Even though your babysitter will be staying overnight with your child(ren), they are not responsible for doing things like deep cleaning your house or landscaping your yard. Also, try to avoid scheduling maintenance or service work on your home as this can cause them to be put in a situation where they have to make a decision about your home. It is okay to ask your babysitter to do basic clean-up work, especially after playing or eating a meal, but going above basic responsibilities puts the sitter in a tough position to do more work than necessary.

Have food available

Feeding the kids is a huge necessity, even if a babysitter is only spending a few hours with the kids. However, spending the night with the kids likely means having to take care of at least dinner that night and breakfast the next morning. Plan ahead for this. Ask the kids what they would like to eat, or leave money for the sitter to order out. Make sure the sitter knows about any allergies and dietary restrictions to help restrict medical emergencies from occurring. Be sure to ask the sitter what they like to eat and drink so they are covered as well. Have plenty of snacks on hand as well.

Have high standards

When you are looking to hire a sitter for a few hours a day, you want the best of the best looking after your kid(s). However, when you are wanting to hire a sitter to spend the night with your kids, you want someone you can trust. You need someone who can adapt to any situation and come up with creative activities for the kids to do while you are gone. You will also want the babysitter to be certified and have clearances to ensure that your kids stay safe. A babysitter who can be calm and patient if an emergency does occur is essential, especially since they will have to help the kids through the situation as well. Do not be afraid to ask for references who can vouch for the sitter’s experience, personality, and ability to handle various situations that may arise. Do a deep dive to ensure their clearances are up to date.

Image: Gustavo Fring via

Be available for questions

Even if a babysitter has worked with your kids before, questions may still arise when they watch your kids at night. This is especially true if the sitter has never watched your kids overnight before. They may have questions about the routine and what is an acceptable method of getting the kids settled. Being available for questions and concerns that may arise can help ease your sitter’s nerves and help them through tough situations. If you are not able to take calls, let your sitter know that they can text you. If you will not be able to text either, make sure the sitter knows who they will be able to contact, whether it is another family member, a friend, or a neighbor. You may also want to give the sitter the phone numbers of local emergency services and the numbers of where you are planning on being, just in case they cannot reach your cell phone.

Plan to prepare the sitter

If possible, have your sitter come over for a bit before you plan on having them spend the night. This will give you a chance to get them acquainted with where everything is and can help answer any questions they may have. You may even opt to have them come over early the night of to walk them through things and get the kids acquainted with the sitter before you leave. Be sure to cover the routines and rules of the house so the sitter knows what to do and can be confident when they are walking the kids through different aspects of the day. While it may seem like you are overwhelming the sitter with too much information, having more information is better than not having enough. Consider making a binder or notebook that contains any necessary info that the sitter may need for the evening. Give it to the sitter a week or two in advance to look over so they have time to come up with questions.

Leaving your kids with a sitter overnight, especially the first time, can be overwhelming, but having action steps and knowing what to expect of the sitter, and yourself, can help things go as smoothly as possible.

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