Safe sits during social distancing for parents

bubble’s Sarah Zeqiri offers some advice on how to work with your sitter to stay in line with Government social distancing guidelines, ensure safe sits and build brilliant relationships with sitters.

Good fences make good neighbours: I love this old saying and it applies perfectly to a working relationship. If everybody knows what’s expected of them, it keeps misunderstandings to a minimum.

During social distancing, we may not all be looking for babysitters but if you’re a key worker, it might still be necessary to get someone in to look after the your kids while you’re out looking after everyone else. So what guidelines should you set out, and what questions is it OK to ask?

Honest Communication

It can be a bit embarrassing to ask someone about their health but right now, it’s perfectly reasonable for parents and sitters alike. If you feel uncomfortable, it might be useful to think of any questions you want to ask your sitter before you meet. How about:

  • To your knowledge, have you been in contact with anyone who has had a temperature over 38° or had a new persistent, dry cough in the past 14 days?
  • Are you practicing social distancing, in line with Government advice?

These are the current NHS guidelines for everyone to abide by:

  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you’ll need to stay at home for 7 days.
  • If you live with someone who has symptoms, you’ll need to stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person in the home started having symptoms.

It’s a good idea to check guidelines for any updates (bubble is regularly checking the guidelines and will update advice to parents and sitters if things change) – and be prepared to answer these questions in return.

Cancellations

While cancelling at the last minute is less than ideal, I think we can agree that wellbeing is far higher on the list than it may usually be. Make it clear that health is a priority and that you would rather a last minute cancellation from a sitter than the alternative. Discuss the prospect that you too might need to cancel should you become ill or come into contact with a poorly person; understanding from both sides is needed!

Like everyone at this challenging time, we need to be as flexible and understanding as we can.

Healthy Practice in the Home

It’s recommended that to keep germy bugs at bay, we regularly wipe down surfaces, door handles and taps with antibacterial cleaner. Be sure to do this when you invite a new sitter into your home and make sure there is plenty of soap and hand wash available for everyone to use.

It is always good practice to make sure that any nappy changing stations or potty training areas are as clean as your grown-up toilet, so be sure to give it all a good wipe down before your sitter arrives.

You should let your sitter know of any health-based expectations you expect them to follow, laying out any specific hygiene practices you would like them to follow from day one; they will appreciate you making things clear to them rather than leaving anything to guesswork and will make everyone feel more comfortable: You might want to ask you sitter to make sure younger kiddies are supervised when washing their hands, following the recommended 20 seconds of scrubbing, or that hand sanitiser is used before any food preparation.

Building the relationship

With everyone being keen to promote healthy habits, it’s important that you be honest with your sitter if you or one of your family shows any symptoms of illness after the sit. This allows your sitter to make sensible decisions in their work and they will appreciate your concern for their wellbeing too. Once you all feel better, you can book more time together knowing you had mutual respect for each other’s welfare.

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