Posts Tagged ‘babysitter’

Help–My Baby Cries When I Leave!

Monday, October 5th, 2015

separation anxietyFor many babies, mommy is their favorite person. We nurture them. We nurse and feed them. We rock them. We come to them in their times of distress in the night. Babies just love their mommies. My son, Levi, prefers me over anyone most of the time. Lately, Levi has discovered that I’m not always around. He’s discovered strangers. He’s started showing signs of separation anxiety. 

Separation anxiety usually begins around 6-7 months of age. Babies start to realize that you are leaving, but they don’t understand that you will be back. Some babies don’t show much remorse when mommy or daddy leaves. Some lose their mind. My son Levi is 12 months. For the past couple months, he begins to cry and whimper when he knows I will be leaving. When I take him to childcare at the local YMCA, he is crying before I even sign his name on the line. If I leave the room and he is left with a friend or someone he is unfamiliar with, he cries for me.

Many children don’t show separation anxiety until 10-18 months of age. This can be even harder because toddlers want some control in their environment and they can cry and scream much louder and show their disapproval in a much more unpleasant manner. All of this is hard on mom.

Here are some tips on how to get through separation anxiety with your little one:

  • Get your baby familiar with other people. This one is hard for me. We live in an area where I don’t know many people and family isn’t close. Allow a babysitter, friend, or your spouse to spend one-on-one time with your baby to create a sense of security with other people.
  • Keep the exit short and sweet. When it’s time for you to leave, don’t stay around and keep talking to your baby. Say something like, “Bye, Levi! See you in a little while.” Then, leave. Don’t worry if your baby is still crying. I try to remind myself if Levi is still crying and unable to be calmed down, someone will come find me.
  • Reassure and redirect. If you are dealing with separation anxiety with an older baby or toddler, you can use your words to reassure them that you will be back. Create security with your child by giving them a hug and a high-five each day before you leave them. Give them something to look forward to as you head out the door.

I left Levi in the YMCA childcare one day this past week. For the first time ever, he didn’t cry when we arrived. He didn’t cry when I left him, and he didn’t cry the entire time I was gone. I was amazed. I am hoping he is getting more comfortable with mommy being gone.

The best part about leaving your baby for a little while is coming back to them. The smiles, wet, slobbery kisses and giggles make it all worth it. Separation anxiety is just one of the hurdles of motherhood we all face. Baby will be okay, and so will you. One day, our kids will run away from us when they see us in the parking lot looking uncool picking them up from school. Then we can all laugh about the tantrums and tears of separation anxiety.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two who lives, writes, and loves her babies in Northeast Indiana. 

Choosing a Babysitter

Friday, July 24th, 2015

Questions for Your First Daycare ProviderHaving a sitter that’s not a family member can be very scary the first time around. It’s hard to trust a stranger with your baby, especially when your baby isn’t old enough to speak up for herself or tell you things. But when you have a sitter you trust, there’s nothing better.

There are many criteria to consider when choosing a sitter for your family. Price, age of the sitter, experience, CPR training, and whether they have kids of their own are all important things to consider. Asking friends and family for names is usually the best route to go. They’ll be happy to pass on the name of a great sitter. If you’re in a new area, ask around at church or in online mom’s groups.

Before you ever use a sitter, meet with them in person, either at your home or their home, depending on where they will be keeping baby. Write down some open-ended questions for them in advance. Here are a few I like to ask:

  • Have you ever had to react in an emergency situation? What happened? How did you respond?
  • What is the most children you’ve ever watched at once?
  • Do you stay in touch with any families you have babysat for?
  • When was the last time you got a traffic ticket? What was it for?

These questions always helped me with determining what their judgment is like. If you let people talk long enough, they will tell you what you want to know, good or bad. It’s just human nature to be yourself.

Always ask for references, and then actually call and talk to them. If you are interviewing a minor, talk to the parents as well. If you are interviewing an adult, ask for permission to do a background check. They are not expensive and you don’t need very much information from them to find out a lot about them. You can find forms online.

Use social media in your favor. Ask your sitter for social media profiles and handles and check out what they post. It will give you insight into their judgment and character.

Another tip is to ask if they have ever worked in church childcare. Church childcare workers, especially at large churches, are usually background checked, reference-checked and often go through abuse prevention training. If they have worked for a church nursery, you can look the church up online to research how they vet their childcare workers.

As moms, we don’t need someone perfect to watch our children. What we do want to find is someone who will put our child first, above their phone and their friends and family for that short time, pay attention to them, play with them and be attentive to their needs just as we would. Hopefully these tips will help you find the perfect sitter for your family.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three who has had some really great sitters! She lives and writes in Oklahoma City.

No-Babysitter Date Nights

Friday, July 17th, 2015

No sitter date nightWhen we had our first child, I was terrified to go out, but my husband was determined to not be those people who stay home forever after having a baby. (Or two. Or a third.) So when our oldest turned a week old, we took her to a brewery to celebrate. As we continued to go out with the baby, I learned to relax, and I learned the best places to take a baby with you on date night.

Besides, when they can’t talk or walk, you can pretty much take them anywhere you go, and as long as they have a clean butt and a full tummy, they’ll do just fine, especially at night when they are prone to just dozing off anyway. It doesn’t always work out, so be prepared for that. But when it does, you get time together that’s kind of alone time, and you don’t have to pay $10 an hour for someone to sit in the other room while your baby sleeps.

Here are my favorite no-sitter date night activities.

  • Anything outdoors. Outdoor activities don’t have the expectation of quiet or decorum, so these are usually a safe bet. Many communities have festivals, concerts, and plays outdoors this time of year. You’ll of course want to know what the weather is going to do since babies are not all-weather friendly. Most venues will offer a VIP option for outdoor events, and this is usually a wise purchase, since you’ll have access to shade (if it’s hot) and bathrooms.
  • The movies. Yep, we were “those people” at the late movie with a baby. We weren’t sleeping anyway, trust me. Once the lights went down, I threw baby girl on the boob and we were set for the whole movie, even the loud ones.
  • Outdoor dinner/dessert and a walk. I love getting dinner or dessert outdoors, and then going for a walk. Not only does it have many health benefits, from regulating your circadian rhythms to having an impact on weight and blood sugar.
  • Have friends over. I always had the easiest time relaxing when we could be at home. Having dinner with friends was always a fun way to be able to keep baby on schedule while still getting to see people. It’s also great bedtime practice if you have an only child and are adding to the family. When you have one child, it’s tempting to keep everything super quiet when they are sleeping. When there are people laughing and talking in the next room it will help them acclimate to there being noise while they sleep.
  • Art shows/Museum night. This is a great way to get out and get some culture without having to worry about the library-like quiet of the museum during the day. Evening events usually involve drinks and socializing, so it’s noisy. I went with a carrier or sling worn over a carefully chosen outfit that would allow me to nurse and wear with ease. Maxi dresses are great for these events.

Whatever you decide to do, make an effort to get out there and continue enjoying some of the things you did before you had baby. Once we had more than one child, we often did these types of things while getting a sitter for the older, talking, walking child, since my babies liked to nurse every two hours or so until they are about six months old.

One thing that does really help make these date nights work is being able to nurse in public. I always covered with my first, sometimes covered with my second, and rarely covered with my third baby. I was just more comfortable with it by then. But I loved the security of always having my cover or a blanket with me in case I wanted more privacy. Whatever you do, know that you have the right to breastfeed absolutely anywhere you have the legal right to be.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three girls. She lives and writes in Oklahoma City.

Date Nights at Home

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Date Nights at HomeFor many of us moms, it’s a big deal to get a date night. I know for me, date night only happens when we go home 6 hours away for a visit. However, it is still vitally important for your marriage or relationship to have date nights. It’s so easy to fall into the roles of “mommy and daddy” and forget you are “wife and husband,” too. Here are some fun ways to still get to have a date night, even when you can’t leave the kids.

Dinner for 2:

This is something I have to try. For me, like many moms, dinner consists of wrestling with my toddler and her food, all the while feeding my infant oatmeal. Somewhere in there, I take a few bites and that’s dinner. Try saving dinner for you and your spouse after the kids are in bed. For us, this would be at 8 p.m. Order in your favorite or opt for take-out. If you are really ambitious, make a meal for your spouse, set the mood with candles, and even put out menus and fancy table decorations. You may be in your dining room, but you can pretend you are in your favorite restaurant. Enjoy the food, conversation, and time alone.

Movie Night:

Pick a movie that you and your spouse want to see. Choose one that isn’t animated or rated G. Pop popcorn and buy some fancy candy that you see at the movie theatre. You can even get cute popcorn tubs and soda glasses to use. Dim the lights and enjoy the show. If you’re lucky, you may even get a few smooches during the movie!

Get Outside:

If it’s warm outside, take the time to take your kids for a stroll. If you just have one child, and it’s a baby, this is even easier. Pop the baby in a carrier and go for a long walk at the park. Most likely, your baby will snooze and you can enjoy the conversation with your spouse. Hold hands, talk about memories, and dream about your future together.

Enjoy Hobbies:

Maybe you and your spouse love sports? Watch your favorite team play and fix nachos and food you can only buy at the ballpark. Wear your team t-shirts and enjoy the game!

If you used to love to go to nightclubs, create a dance party in your living room. Get dressed up and make a fun playlist. Just don’t turn up the music too loud, so you don’t wake up the kids.

If you’re into working out, create a gym in your home and work out together.  Or, you can take advantage of local gyms and work out together while your kids enjoy the child care.

Spring for a Sitter:

If you have a trusted friend, family member, or baby sitter, it is so worth it. Schedule a few hours a month to spend together without the kids. Here the possibilities are endless! Go for a quiet, long drive. Check out a local museum. Go see your favorite band in concert. Eat at a restaurant where high chairs and sippy cups are not the norm. Splurge. It’s worth investing in your relationship.

So, mom, you can still have the romantic date night! I need to remind myself of this. I’m thinking a dinner date with some Chinese take-out is in my near future. What have you done with your spouse to keep the magic alive?  You can always go to bed early, too!

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of 2 in Northeast Indiana. She loves date nights with her husband, James, but she sure does miss her kids!

Questions You Should Ask When Interviewing a Babysitter

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Questions to Ask When Interviewing a BabysitterFinding a babysitter can be a challenge. How do you pick someone that you don’t really know to take care of your child alone? It took us forever to find a baby sitter and a few months after we finally did we moved cross country and had to start all over again in a town where we didn’t know anyone and couldn’t get any references from people we trusted.

I’ve always been leery of teenage babysitters solely because of age and felt more comfortable with older sitters–until this time. I tried using a popular website to find a reliable sitter that was older and had more experience with kids. Five sitters flaked on the interview at the last minute and tried to reschedule, and the one that I did end up interviewing sent me a text message to cancel just hours before she should’ve been there.

Then, I met a junior in high school that I just loved. It just goes to show that older doesn’t always equal more responsible.  If you’re looking to hire a babysitter for the first time, here are some great questions to ask.

  1. Do you have siblings/nieces/nephews or anyone that you have cared for before?
  2. What do you think is a good form of discipline for a baby/toddler/child? What would you do if my child doesn’t listen or do what you ask them to do?
  3. Are you comfortable preparing snacks and meals? What kinds of things do you prepare for kids you babysit? Do you have any experience preparing bottles or handling breast milk?
  4. Have you even been in a situation where you had to call the parents of the child you were babysitting? Why, what happened and how did you handle it?
  5. Has anything every happened that you’d consider an emergency?
  6. What will you do if my child won’t go to sleep?
  7. What would you do if my child won’t stop crying?
  8. Do you have experience with any health issues?
  9. Have you taken a babysitter preparation course and do you know baby CPR?
  10. What are some examples of problems you’ve had with children, how did you handle it?

Always ask the babysitter for references and a trial day. During the paid, trial day try to keep yourself busy while still being available. Observe how the sitter interacts with your child and offer some advice on what your child likes and good ways to keep them entertained.

Make sure to let the sitter know of any special routines, lovies, nicknames for things and what they’re allowed to feed them for snacks and meals and what’s off limits. Always follow your intuition, and never hire a sitter that may answer everything perfectly and have impeccable references but just doesn’t feel right to you.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.