Getting comfortable with sitters

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Getting comfortable with sitters

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I know that parents often struggle with leaving their child with a babysitter and they want everyone to be comfortable. And so, what I usually recommend is making sure you give your child the plan of what is going to happen and who is going to take care of them. So you might have a little picture book at home with pictures of some of their babysitters and you could show it to your child to help them feel comfortable. This is Mary. She is going to come and she is going to give you your bath tonight and read you your stories and put you to bed. Mommy and daddy are going to have special time. Be specific about what is going to happen with the child. It is mostly about them, not so much about you. Remember that when the babysitter arrives to carry the child in your arms, walk around with the babysitter, go through your child´s routine of what happens, go into their room, show the babysitter where the child sleeps, go into the bathroom, say this is Amy´s toothbrush. After her bath, she brushes her teeth. Can you show Mary how you brush your teeth? Hand the toothbrush to your child. The child goes through the actions. They look at Mary and Mary looks at them. Sometimes these little connections are made right in that moment and then they happily get down and they are ready to go play. Other times, children are still a little bit more cautious about what is going to be happening so I often will suggest leave a little backpack outside on the porch with some bubbles, a new toy, coloring materials, some playdough, something the child has not seen all day. So when the babysitter gets and she plops her bag down on the floor, most toddlers are going to be pretty darn curious to see what it in there. And they are going to maybe tentatively go over there, maybe take a little peek. Mary, can then bring out the toys and start talking to the toddler about them. And then, as your child starts to feel more comfortable, there is a little connection that is going to be made and it is going to be much easier for you to say good bye. The last thing though, most important, do not forget to go over to your child even if they are happily engaged in play and tap them on the shoulder. I will see you later. I am going to be home. I will come kiss you goodnight. I will see you in the morning. I will see you after work. I will see you when you are finished with your dinner with Mary.

See Donna Holloran, MSW's video on Getting comfortable with sitters...

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Donna Holloran, MSW

Parent Educator

Donna Holloran moved to Los Angeles from Indianapolis in 1984 to pursue her graduate education and to continue building on her passion---working with young children and their families.  After attaining her MSW from UCLA, Donna also received a Certification in Infant Mental Health.  She practices as a parent educator and child development specialist. In 1996, Donna founded Babygroup in Santa Monica, California.

Babygroup provides guidance and insight to parents of infants and young children in small, intimate parent-child groups, inspiring parents to recognize and respond appropriately to their child’s developmental needs. Babygroup is also about developing strong friendships for parents and children, resulting in a true community of support.

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