Children are often left alone with strangers, such as a new teacher or day care, or a new babysitter. There are some very simple things that you can do to make it safer and happier for everyone involved.

First and foremost: Do Not Lie! Parents lie about three things mainly:

A) The child's age, ability to use the bathroom, or some other requirement to getting this complete stranger to watch their child. Stop for minute, do you really want someone who can not tell the difference between a one year old and a three year old to watch your child? A person who is put in this position can generally tell child's age, and may not confront you about it, but it gives you a bad reputation, and puts your child in danger. Age limits are set for a reason.

B) Where the parents will be and how to get hold of them. If I had a nickel for every time I was given a contact number that "accidentally" has 9 digits instead of 10, I'd probably have enough money to stop putting up with the people that do this. If you really think I want your number to give to telemarketers, wouldn't I be doing something other than watching children? Make sure you give correct, up to date information. Do not say you are going to one location, then go somewhere else; what if there is an emergency?

C) Children with special needs. I understand that parents need a break, and with a special needs child that can be hard to find, however if you tell the stranger about your child, and any special considerations that should be taken, they will be willing to work with you--if not do you really want to drop your children off with them? I watch children for a living, I work with special needs children every day, however when someone does not tell me that their child has special needs, it makes the experience much more frustrating for the child.

In addition to honesty, there are some other safety considerations. If your three year old cannot button and unbutton their pants, dress them in pants where that is not necessary, perhps ones with clasps, or simply elastic bands, or skirts for the girls. This eliminates the teacher NEEDING to touch your child in ways that may be undesireable, and makes it easier to say to your child that no one should be touching them there.

Get to know the strnger, be friendly. Role model this behavior for your child. Perhaps go over and introduce yourself, ask the stranger's name, encourage your child to tell them their name.

Always role model how you would like your child to act (such as not lying) and give your child a way to contact you, even saying in front of the stranger "If you need anything, ask them to call me" that sets up that you do not mind being called if your child needs you, because you shouldn't.

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