Looking back, I can’t believe how often I took alone time with my husband for granted before kids.
I mean, when we were newlyweds we took several classes together at school. We even worked together at an early morning custodial job. We saw each other all the time. Date nights were regular and often no big deal. Somehow, ignorantly, I think I sort of felt it would always be that way.
I didn’t realize how significantly children would impact our life as a couple! I guess I thought kids would entertain themselves more than they actually do.
After our babies were born, it took more than a year each time for us to feel comfortable leaving them. On one hand, we couldn’t wait to run out the door, but on the other hand, we were nervous to leave them in another’s hands. So far we’ve only trusted family members with several-hour date nights. Our parents, and my younger sister Lauren.
Our first full date-night out after both kids was over our anniversary and, even though we trusted our babies were in good hands with our parents, my husband made sure to give them an extra-detailed checklist and ran through it several times.
It was pretty adorable to see him go into hyper-protective daddy mode.
As our kids get bigger, we become more comfortable with a greater variety of sitters, and I’m counting down the days until my 10-year-old sister can watch her niece and nephew for me. I’ll finally get to cash in payback for all of my babysitting hours growing up.
Lil’ J had admired her from day one, and it’s sweet watching them grow up together something like sisters.
Occasionally, I’ll have her come over and help play with my kiddos while I get some work done. At first, I was so frustrated because they’d wind up arguing most of the time. But once I created a checklist and schedule, she quickly evolved into a legit babysitter.
I found this was a great way to help her feel in charge, and take responsibility for her job (even though I was just in the next room).
When making your own checklist, think of the dos and don’ts of your household and include that in a list of expectations for your babysitter. It also helped for me to write down our typical schedule so she knew when the kids would be hungry and expect a snack, or when my son would be ready for a nap. A little extra preparation on my end left me feeling more comfortable leaving her in charge. Having a list handy will help you take off for your first date and feel more at ease.
Some things to put on the babysitter checklist:
- Your child’s before bed routine
- Parent’s contact information
- Emergency contact information (in case they can’t reach you)
- Number for your pediatrician, hospital and local poison control
- Special needs and sensitivities
- Favorite bedtime stories
- TV/ screen time rules
- Meal schedule and menu
- Special instructions
- Medication reminders
- Suggested activities
It’ll be nice when my sister is a little older and can fly solo with our little ones (man, it would be awesome to have a date night once a week!), but until then, she’ll be logging plenty of practice hours, and we’ll be dreaming of more fun dates.
What other tips to you recommend having in your babysitter’s checklist?
This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. Allstate is here to help protect your firsts and the moments in between. Share your firsts with #HeresToFirsts.