I approach this in the same way I would have approached introducing a new staff member to a service or home I worked in. After your own personal vetting android interviewing process I would then consider the following steps to help with introductions
1. Always introduce the babysitter before you actually need the babysitter.
2. Have the babysitter come to the house when no one is going any where. During the day after naps is ideal timing for everyone to be in good form and be open to a new social challenge.
3. Personally I would introduce the babysitter as a friend of yours. Avoiding professional labels at this time but that’s just a personal choice of mine.
4. To create an instant positive pairing between the strangers have the babysitter bring a high valued item or treat. (As it may be uncomfortable to ask this of the babysitter initially, Do what I would do, meet them at the gate/car before they come in to the home and provide them with what you would like delivered to the children) . First impressions really are everything!
5. This meeting is not to see if the babysitter can handle the kids or play by the rules it should be positive and you as a parent should still maintain the lead on discipline. If there is incident during this session which warrants reprimand or refereeing its still your job. Its not lending to a positive introduction to have a stranger take the lead with anything negative during this initial introduction so let them know that prior and follow through with that during.
7. Interviewing and “getting to know you” chats should be completed at this stage, so don’t monopolise this session with adult conversation let the child take the lead. Initiate and mediate favourite games or activities if its not occuring naturally between the Parties.
6. Always end on a success, don’t drag out the session, 15-20 mins tops.
7. Take a photo of this new adult you hope to be in their lives. With young children visuals are fantastic to mediate conversations and new topics use this photo to help them learn a new name and become more familiar with the new person without her/him present. The photo may also prompt the child to ask questions or just chat about the fun they had which is all great positive pairing.
7. With the appropriate age group teach about childminders and babysitters.
-What they are
-What they mean
-What they can do
-What they are not – your Mum or Dad! Mum and Dad always come back!
– As always books are great mediators of new concepts, people and skills.
I really hope these help navigate a new and tricky milestone in your family. If you find it difficult to leave your kids don’t go far and don’t go for long. Sometimes it is us that find these milestones harder than the children and that’s ok, go easy on yourself and take it as slowly as you need.
N.B. To ensure a healthy long term relationship be very clear and concise with the babysitter about your expectations and the norms with in your home. Remember we were not all raised the same and all our homes are managed differently so don’t take anything for granted. Whether that’s food, bedtime routine, dog on the couch, friends over, alcohol….Name it and Say it! Have it clear and everyone can be confident within the boundaries that were set going forward.