Many holiday resorts will offer creches and kids clubs and most 4 or 5 star hotels will offer babysitting services. Some hotels have professional babysitters on staff, some outsource the work to professional child care agencies and some have a more relaxed approach and hire someone who is not professionally qualified.
If you are not comfortable leaving a child with a babysitter then there are ways to enjoy your evenings when on holiday such as taking your child to a family friendly restaurant or putting them to sleep in their pram and then taking them out to restaurants. Another option is to stay in an apartment or suite so that there is more than one room and when your child is asleep you can still watch TV, cook dinner and relax. You could also opt to travel with family members or friends who might babysit for you some of the time or you could bring your own babysitter with you on vacation.
If you do decide to use a hotel babysitter there are a number of precautions that you can take to ensure your child’s safety:
- Ask to see the babysitters resume and check that the hotel has contacted their references and carried out police vetting.
- If the hotel uses a professional childcare agency, ask to speak to someone from the agency to find out more about your babysitter.
- Ask how long the babysitter has been working at the hotel and if there have ever been any complaints about them.
- When your babysitter arrives, ask them questions regarding qualifications, experience and knowledge of first aid.
- If the babysitter is arriving during the day, don’t leave straight away; wait to make sure that your child is comfortable and happy. Ensure that a proper introduction is given to the child including their name, age, likes and dislikes in relation to food and what entertainment is allowed e.g. TV, games, ipads etc. Tell the babysitter specific details relating to snack time, bed time, how the child should be put to bed and also show them where the baby equipment is kept. If your child is on any medication leave very detailed written instructions concerning the time that it should be administered and the dosage. Also inform the sitter regarding any allergies that your child might have.
- If the babysitter will arrive when your child is asleep, ask if your child can meet the sitter earlier in the day to ensure that there is a rapport. If your child wakes up and a stranger is there they might be afraid and it would be better to know that your child likes and trusts the person taking care of him or her.
- Leave your mobile number and ask the babysitter to call you in the event that your child is upset or if there is an emergency. Don’t stray too far from the hotel so that you can come back quickly if there is a problem. Give the address and contact details of where you will be going if possible. Tell the sitter that you might contact them to check that everything is ok so ask for their mobile phone number.Tell the babysitter the time that you expect to return.
- Make arrangements for the babysitter to have food and drink for the duration of their stay
- Ask at the hotel if you should pay the sitter directly or whether you will be billed by the hotel at the end of your stay.
- Finally, use your instincts. If you feel that the situation is not right then it may not be. There is no point in going out and leaving your child with a babysitter if you are going to be worried all night.