Babysitter Information Box

The following post is from contributing writer Kristen.

As a new parent, I was tremendously nervous about leaving my baby with a babysitter for the first time.  I made sure to do my research in finding a well qualified babysitter.  I found a one, and wanted my first experience as a mom hiring a babysitter to go well.

Babysitter Information Box | The Happy Housewife

When I was younger, I babysat for multiple families in my neighborhood.  I remember feeling the most awkward when:

a.  The parents left me with a lack of information about their house rules and about their children. ( Like bed time or Television rules.)

b.  They told me that I could eat anything, but then I would have to root through their cabinets to find something.  It always made me feel a little weird.

Before our first babysitter arrived, I came up with a Babysitter Box.  The box includes all the information our babysitter could possibly want to know about our child, information about our home, and some assorted snacks that she can treat herself to while she is at our house.

How to Create a Babysitter Box

Supplies Needed

  • An old gift box/shoebox
  • Paper to decorate the box
  • Print outs of information
  • Snacks for the babysitter


1.  Start by wrapping a gift box with neutral wrapping paper.

2. Create a series of print outs on your computer to include in the information box. I created my own, because I had specific instructions for my 4 month old.  I could not find a print out online that gave me room to write everything I wanted.

3.  Print out extra of each document.  Instructions on how to care for my 4 month old change every day, and so does the food inventory in our home.

The print outs I made were:

A page where I can write basic instructions for my sons care.

A page to help guide our babysitter to snacks we have around our house .

Instructions on how to work the remote control.

I also left a page with all the important phone numbers that the babysitter might need.

4. Purchase or gather snacks for the babysitter.  I went to the store and purchased some snacks because we don’t keep many snacks around our house, and I wanted to make sure that she had something to eat.

5. Arrange all the information, along with the snacks in the box, and leave it out for your babysitter.


6.  After the babysitter leaves, put the extra print outs in the box and store it away for next time.

I think that my babysitter box was a success.  I found such a great babysitter, and I want her to feel at home when she is here taking care of my baby.  Also, I want her to know I appreciate her giving up her Friday nights, and would like to keep her coming back!

Create your own babysitter box! I know that your families have a different dynamic than mine. So create yours based on your house rules, and children’s needs.

babysitter-info-box graphic

Download a Free Babysitter Information Box Printable

(with instructions and information sheets to fill out for your babysitter with your family’s specific instructions and needs)

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  1. I love this idea. I have used information sheets for sitters but never with snacks in a box. I plan on passing the info on to my local MOPS group that I attended. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I babysat lots growing up and now occasionally watch my friend’s kids at their house. Something I hadn’t thought of or seen before was that they put their address on the information sheet. Even though I am at their house it doesn’t mean I will remember (or even know!) their address if I have to call an ambulance, etc. They also put out a CPR information sheet.

  3. What a cute and creative idea! I never got a box like that when I was babysitting. 😛

  4. I LOVE this! It makes me smile because I was an elementary teacher and I remember feeling that “lost” sense when I first subbed…same kind of thing! I will keep this in mind for my babysitting “sub plans.” 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  5. I LOVE this idea. As a frequent sitter/nanny, going the extra mile like this will definitely pay off. It’s so nice to feel appreciated by the families you invest time into, and so easy to leave the ones who take you for granted. If you and your sitter have good chemistry, do what you can to let her know she’s dear to you! It put a smile on my face seeing the care you put into doing just this.

    Some other things I would add to the box are either general first aid (ie peroxide, ointment, bandages) or directions to get to these items in the house. I would also have your child’s weight and/or dosage of things like Benadryl and Tylenol and the appropriate medicines and dispensing utensil. Also, have EVERYONE who cares for your child program Poison Control into their cell, so easy to do and it can make all the difference. Any kiddo quirks are good to know about- meaning allergies, things they hate or freak over, anxiety disorders, etc. For instance, I just recently found out one of the kids I watch has seizures- after caring for her for a YEAR. Things that seem routine to you are NOT to your sitter. Excellent idea, so glad I stumbled upon this! 😀

  6. jen murphy says:

    Love this idea! Thanks for sharing!

  7. This is a fabulous idea! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Stephanie says:

    Great idea!! Thanks for sharing….

  9. Lauren Nguyen says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this idea. I’m due with baby #2 in about 3 weeks and needed something to get my butt in gear to organize instructions, etc for whoever will be watching our older daughter while we’re at the hospital.
    Can’t wait to get started!

  10. Sarah Stoltenberg says:

    I love this idea, I am going to do it this week. I also thought about a “special” project to put in the box for your kids to do with the sitter. When I babysat years ago I took a backpack with me with different coloring books or games to do with the kids, they always looked forward to seeing what new toy/book I brought with me. I also find myself writing emergency numbers on a scratch pad for our sitters, one print out to reuse would keep me from forgetting.

  11. Kristi Calaway says:

    I have a 15 year old and a 13 year old who babysit. I will try to get some of these printed out for them when they babysit. I love these ideas. I’m not quite sure about the iced coffee or Law and Order for the younger one. I also have clear page protectors I will use, so I can change some information with a dry erase marker. Thanks for these ideas. I wish I thought of them when I neended a babysitter.

  12. These are great ideas! I especially like the TV remote instructions since everyone’s system is different and a teenager may not want to ask for instructions. I remember babysitting and having no idea how to get the TV to work. I didn’t bring anything else with me so once the kids were in bed I was not very happy. Left a bad taste in my mouth. Or maybe today teens would know more about these things than I did 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  13. As a babysitter I would love to see this sitting out. Finding towels, pjs, band aids and everything else is very hard to find if you are watching kids that don’t talk yet. Another thing that would be great is specific instructions for potty breaks especially boys. How should I know if they stand, sit forward, sit backward, on their knees or how much help do they need with the process? This is an awesome idea!

    • i agree! the potty this is really hard and if they arent quite there yet you dont know their signs (dancing, pacing, ect) so its good to know taken them every ___ mins. Also im weird about bathes and not comfortable letting just anyone wash my kids but once my daughter ate spag and was filthy the sitter called to ask and i felt bad. maybe leave a note about that too?

  14. i agree with those who said to include emergency information and supplies. we were babysitting for 4 kiddos when a tornado hit joplin last year and couldn’t find flashlights to get into the crawlspace, etc.

  15. Love this! As a babysitter I always felt awkward eating snacks… I would maybe have the bags open to make it not so awkward. Haha but otherwise this is so amazing!!

  16. Such a fabulous idea! Genius!

  17. Wow!! I LOVE this idea!! I actually just interviewed my first babysitter today and I have the same anxieties that you mentioned above. I remember feeling awkward going through cupboards while babysitting also. This is a great idea and I am going to get started on it right away!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  18. Great idea!! It is so true that the more information you give your sitter, the more comfortable everyone will be. Plus, with treats like these she’s sure to clear her schedule any time you call!

  19. Oh me gosh! This is brilliant! I currently babysit for my SIL and brother and am over there alot so I feel more comfortable there and I know their rules but if I was to go babysit somewhere else ( I love babysitting but havent found anyone near by in need of a babysitter) I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have this little box full of snacks and info about the childrens needs and such.
    Such a great idea 🙂

  20. That is so awesome! I used to baby-sit all the time and this box would have been a lifesaver. I absolutely hated digging around in people’s cupboards and once, I somehow turned off their cable and couldn’t figure out how to get it back on so I was stuck in a silent house for HOURS after the kids had gone to bed LOL!!

  21. As someone who frequently babysits for different families I would LOVE to get a box like this, even if it just contained the information sheets. Parents often just assume that the babysit knows (or remembers) how to work the tv, dvd player, etc. and leave movies for their child to watch. Nothing is more frustrating when caring for multiple impatient children who want to watch the movie their parent left for them, and I can’t figure it out. I also recommend leaving instructions for any other appliance that is involved in your child’s care and directions on how to find anything (no matter how unusual!) that might be important. Although it’s helpful to give a babysitter a tour on the first night, she might not remember where the first aid kit, fire extinguisher, etc. is a year or two later when she actually needs it (or you may have even moved it by then). Great job on your kit though!!

  22. Parents: please take this idea into consideration!! I babysit a ton and in my six years of experience, only one family has bothered to explain things and give me a tour of their house. I’ve also never eaten anything during babysitting in those six years because I feel rude and invasive just going in their cabinets and pantry. This would help so much because I always feel like I’m not doing things that I should because I don’t know to. Also, please give your babysitter the time you will be getting home around and where you are going; I can never tell if the parents will be out for an hour or until 1, and that’s pretty important since I’m 15. So I would seriously love this.

  23. This is seriously the coolest idea ever! Great way to help people feel comfortable with the kids and the house! Plus, I’m always in such a frenzy before I go out, I’m not sure what I forgot to mention. I love everything about this and plan to make one this week!

  24. As a frequent babysitter i find that amazing and SUCH a great idea! Its especially tough when you watch young kids (like infants) or multiple kids (more than 3)cause every family has different rules and bedtimes and do’s and don’ts. I would like to add that you can say specific things about your kids like: “He sleeps with a pacifier.”, “No TV after this time.” “I don’t allow them to eat..candy/chocolate/..ect after 8:00”. The snacks are a definite plus! i usually go hungry while babysitting cause it seems weird when people say “take anything you want!” and there is only one rootbeer left. Then i ask myself “is it OK to have the last rootbeer?” LOL it’s silly but it is what happens!

    And one more note to moms out there! Don’t tell a babysitter not to let them watch TV. If you normally let your kids watch tv til 10pm dont make it harder on us by making them play until bedtime when thats not normal for them. You won’t keep your babysitter for long!
    Still loving the basket idea! maybe one of the moms i sit for will see!

  25. I love this!!! What a great idea. Thank you for sharing.

  26. I’m a teen babysitter as of now, and I can tell you that this is the most helpful thing I’ve seen! As a babysitter, it’s really hard to find things that the kids like without just sitting them in front of a movie or the TV for five hours. It’s also hard to try to get all the necessary information needed in the five minutes before the parents walk out the door; this way, moms (or dads) have plenty of time to think of everything the sitter needs to know.

    And that frappuccino will make your babysitter L-O-V-E you!!

  27. This is so sweet! Its great you thought of all tjat! Awesome!!

  28. As a mommy of 3 with another on the way, I LOVE this idea. My sitter is my neighbor and the kids always go there, but this will be great for the visiting family who says “go out for a little bit, we’ll watch the kids.”

  29. When I did lots of babysitting for a family with a baby/toddler I used to arrive half an hour before they were due to leave so that a) the kids were entertained while Mum got dressed/make up’d, and b) so that there was adequate time to talk about where things were.

    I also liked parents who said “bedtime is 8 but feel free to have them up for an exta 1/2 hour for a treat” ’cause the kids like a babysitter who bends a rule for them, and I knew the parents were fine with that one being bent!

  30. Wow! Such a great idea. Thank you for sharing it!

  31. Amazing idea. My parents/in-laws normally watch my 7 month old when I pick up an early shift and are used to our routines, but this is something I’ll keep in mind for the inevitable time when I will need someone else to babysit. Thanks for sharing!

  32. I love this idea but I would definitely add a new coloring book, bubbles, book or activity to give the child something to look forward too and/or give the babysitter something to use if the child has a difficult time.

  33. When I was a teenager I babysat for a family and they had my own small cabinet. It always had emergency info/numbers hanging on the door, first aid kit, coloring books, crayons, magazines (for teens so I know they bought just for me), word searches, snacks, and quick fix foods.

    The tv directions is a great idea, they had one of the huge satellites (this was years ago) and I had no clue how to work it. So I was always stuck watching cartoons even after the kids were in bed (loved having the magazines and word searches), until finally I broke down and asked.

    For potty training kids I would also include where sheets for their bed is, I had one wake up cause of an accident once. I stripped the bed (had waterproof pad) and put him on the couch, felt bad for not getting him back into bed though but didn’t know where sheets were.

  34. As a teacher I love this post! It reminds me of the sub plans I always leave when I have to leave my class for a day. I’m not nice enough to leave the sub snacks though 😛

  35. Great idea. I would also add that if the parents know what types of things the babysitter likes (maybe they know the parents of the girl, etc), they should include those items in the babysitter box

  36. I would have loved this in my babysitting days.
    As it is now, I leave instructions for our pet sitters, with vet phone numbers, our hotel address/tel, medicine, feeding times/amounts, special quirks, etc.

  37. Victoria P says:

    An idea would also be to laminate the informational printouts ( the ones where instructions would change frequently) so you wouldn’t have to constantly keep re-printing!

  38. Stephanie k says:

    I love this idea! One suggestion, include any wifi info for the babysitter. I often babysit and forget to ask, to be stuck trying to do homework after the kids are in bed with no Internet.

  39. I babysit for over a dozen different families- and I’ve gotta say, my favorite family is the one who took the time to ask me what my favorites were and make sure to have a snack that they know I like! (even if it’s just having a Mt. Dew for me- I love it!)

    Other tips for moms currently hiring babysitters:

    NEVER ROUND DOWN. If you’re gone for 4.5 hours, never pay the babysitter only 4 hours pay. You wouldn’t believe how often this happens- I feel under appreciated, and I usually don’t end up coming back to work with that family. Also- if you ask me to be at your house at 5, but you don’t leave until 5:45 because you’re getting ready/running late, you still need to pay me for the entire time.

    If you have to cancel, do it as early as possible- and try to reschedule instead of cancelling if at all possible. A lot of the time, we’re broke college students, so we’re counting on the money we’d make. If you cancel day-of, it could leave us seriously scrambling for gas/food money!

    Don’t pay less for late night sitting when your kids are asleep. I’ve had parents pay me an “awake” rate and a “sleeping” rate. It just makes me feel under appreciated and uncomfortable.

    Obviously, I can’t speak for every sitter every where- but basically, let your sitters know that you appreciate them- and everything should be fine!

  40. Oh my gosh I wish parents would leave this out when I babysit!

    I would suggest pre opening the food because it can be uncomfortable opening something new sometimes. But I think it’s sooo great not leaving it hidden in the pantry and SO sweet that you bought it! The coffee is a great idea bc I’m always so tired once the kids go to sleep!!

    I also would recommend (if it applies) leaving and iPhone charger out and available for the sitter! I use my phone a majority of the time when the kids are asleep because in afraid the tv will wake them up but then my battery dies!

    Also, maybe leave out a few games and activities that your child loves to do! (When they are older)

    I would most defiantly clear my Friday nights to come babysit for you tho! Keep it up 🙂

  41. I pinned this post eons ago on my “baby” board on pinterest. I had totally forgotten that I pinned it and I just found it again and read through it. I love everything about this! I just had a sitting for my son for the first time a couple nights ago so I’m a “day late and a dollar short” as they say but this would’ve been nice for her. She was only here for 3 hours but I’m sure she felt awkward as you mentioned at the beginning of the post. I told her where the bathroom was and said she could refill his juice if he wanted more and to help herself to anything she wanted and I left. I felt pretty bad when I came home and realized I hadn’t told her where to find the diapers or anything and she had needed to change him! Definitely using this next time!!

  42. This is a really cute idea! I never felt awkward about the food situation where I used to regularly babysit. The family would leave me money or order pizza ahead of time with their credit card. If no pizza that day, or if I was babysitting earlier in the day, they’d point out specific things like cereal (I was often there at 7am on Saturdays because of their work schedules), soup, sandwich fixings and tell me to make some for myself as well. I definitely like the idea of providing a drink. I personally don’t drink soda but like to stay hydrated. I didn’t want to drink all of their juice/ milk and they didn’t have a filter for the tap water 😡

    The 3 year old girl could work the tv/dvd player all on her own so that was a bonus and knew where everything was. I also liked that they told me how to handle their child’s misbehavior. The boy acted up a lot and they told me to feel free to spank him (I never could do it though!) or to just put him in timeout and let them know what he did later. They were also really comfortable with me after awhile and told me I could even use their computer that was in their bedroom. More likely you’d only allow this if you had your computer somewhere else but offering them the computer after the kids are asleep (for hw purposes perhaps) is really nice too esp if you’ll be out late (you never know when your babysitter is sacrificing their time when they have a project due soon).

  43. Awe. That’s so awesome!

  44. Brittany says:

    As a babysitter, this is a great idea!

    A couple more things– if your kid has part of his usual routine that you aren’t going to do, just because you have a babysitter, let the sitter know that. I’ve been putting kids down and they’ll ask me to give them bedtime medicine or eyedrops, which I had no instruction on.

    Also, another MAJOR thing to include is your home address and phone number, and possibly instructions to get to the house from a common point of reference (like a store or a school). If there is an accident, I don’t want to have to run outside, check the house number and street name, and then come back in to call 911. This is for your child’s safety, as well as my protection.

    If you know your child is going to be a pain to deal with, like if he’s over-tired, maybe throw in a couple extra bucks. Just a suggestion 🙂

    Also, if your child is sick (and you feel comfortable leaving him with a sitter), call me and ask me if I’m okay with that. Usually, I am, and would still like to babysit because frankly, I need the money.

    Also, leave a pad of paper and a pencil, so I can write things down to tell you when you get home– like if your child was a terror, got an owwie, stayed up too late or wouldn’t go to bed, if I gave them medication (and what time) and things like that.

  45. I love this! As a babysitter/nanny, I always feel weird rooting through your cabinets looking for something to eat, and having to make my own parenting calls for situations I don’t have the info on. It helps tremendously to have everything written down. Also if you really want to make your babysitters day, find out what her favorite treat is and put it in your fridge with her name on it!

  46. The only thing that I would add is an emergency treatment sheet. We had a babysitter at my house one time and my little sister cut her hand open and needed stiches. Our babysitter’s took her to the E.R. but they couldn’t treat her because she was a minor and didn’t have her parents consent (and it wasn’t life threatening). We had to wait for my parents to get home before they could take her in. Because of that I always asked parents to sign some sort of form giving me (or my mom, because I was a minor myself) permission to bring them in for emergency treatment. I just had them write their kids name, birthdate, and permission on the paper along with the signature and we were good to go! Some parents even left their insurance cards with me (though I don’t think that is really necessary.) Thankfully I never had to use the emergency persmission form, but it always made me feel better knowing that I had it if I needed it.

  47. Great ideas! As a babysitter, If I found a box like this waiting for me, is clear my schedule for you anytime you asked. Another thing is teens often want to know the wifi password but don’t want to be impolite and ask. Not that we’re just going to be on our phones the whole time but after the kids go to bed I usually like to watch Netflix on my phone or iPad!

  48. Another thing, as a teen babysitter I always wish the parents would discuss how to discipline the child if they misbehave (mostly older children only) do they have time outs, how many warnings do they get, do you take away their iPad or TV time, are you comfortable with the babysitter giving them time outs? I never know what each family is comfortable with me doing. One family have me permission to spank their kids of I felt it at all necessary, but of course I wasn’t comfortable spanking kids I just met… So just a briefing on discipline would be great for first time sitters

  49. I seriously almost started to cry because of this! This is so brilliant!

  50. This is a such a great idea! I did a LOT of babysitting when I was a teenager and this would have been so great to have, especially when babysitting the first time for a family.

    As others have mentioned, I would definitely make sure you write down the home address and directions from a close-by intersection or store in case the babysitter has to call 911. Your Wi-fi password, the poison control number, and medication dosage instructions for each child (based on their weight and age) are also great things to add to the information sheet.

    It’s also nice to know where an extra set of sheets are located for the child’s bed. I babysit for a kid one time who threw up all over himself in the middle of the night. I stripped the sheets off his bed and gave him a bath, then laid down some blankets on his bed because I didn’t know where fresh sheets were located. This is also helpful if the child might pee the bed.

    I always felt awkward about going through the pantry and fridge, so I think having some snacks in the basket is an awesome idea! I would make sure you open up the snacks you put in the basket though.

    Another thing I always appreciated was knowing when the parents would be home. As a teenager, there was a huge difference between being done at 10pm and 1am…especially if I still had homework to complete.

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