Bedtime 101 for Your Sitter
Help your sitter or nanny learn the bedtime routine and put the kids to sleep.
Tiffany Smith, Senior Associate Editor
Articles> Bedtime 101 for Your Sitter
Bedtime 101 for sitter

When your kids don't get enough sleep, they're terrors in the morning. This probably won't matter to your babysitter, but it does matter to you. So make sure your sitter knows how to get them in bed -- and keep them there.

  • Tell your babysitter when each child must be put to bed. If bedtimes are flexible, tell her how much leeway she can have.
  • Review each child's bedtime routine. Who gets read to? How many stories? Who has a hard time falling asleep? When should they wash their hands, brush their teeth, and get into their PJs?
  • Once the kids are in bed, do any need a light on or a door open?
  • What can the sitter do if a kid won't get into bed?
  • Should the babysitter check on sleeping children? If so, when, and how often?

For sitters, bedtime can be the hardest part of the night, especially when there are several kids to put to bed. Talk to your sitter about your kids' rituals and routines, and let your kids know the consequences if they fall out of line.

Tiffany Smith is the senior associate editor here at She has written for All You, Time for Kids and the Boston Globe. And as a former babysitter, she knows a lot about fun games to play with kids. Getting them to eat their veggies -- that’s a different story! Follow her on Twitter at @tiffanyiswrite

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(2) Comments
Cindie C.
Cindie C.
I agree with Lisa M. above...babysitters/child care givers DO CARE about the children they take care of. To say offhand "This probably won't matter to your babysitter, but it does matter to you" is incorrect and uncalled for. I work to keep the children I care for safe, happy, active, fed and to make sure they get enough rest.

Anyway, usually the nanny is the one keeping the child the next day, so even if she was the type you've apparently had experience with, she'd know what she was facing in the morning if she didn't get the kids into bed, so even SHE would care...still, I'd fire her if she was my babysitter/nanny if "things like this just didn't matter to her". Why would she even choose child care? It can be a kind of thankless job, unless you find caring for children and their needs reward in and of itself, as I and many of my friends do.

In case you are unaware of this, most babysitters or nannies CHOSE child care, CHOSE IT AS A JOB, not out of desperation, but because we want children in our lives and we want to give top of the line care to these children to help them grow into wonderful adults. We grow to love the children we care for. Your comment wasn't very well thought out or well put and actually I find it to be fairly ignorant and offensive, particularly as this article was published on this child care site.

Cindie Cook
August 6, 2011 at 3:34 PM
Lisa M.
Lisa M.
You wrote, "When your kids don't get enough sleep, they're terrors in the morning. This probably won't matter to your babysitter, but it does matter to you."

If this doesn't matter to your babysitter, get a new one. Your sitter should care about your families' well-being beyond just for the few hours that she's taking care of them! That's what being a good caregiver is all about- it's more than a job that you clock into and out of, it's about being part of the life of a family and doing everything you can do make things go as smoothly as possible.
March 19, 2011 at 11:49 PM

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