As you and your spouse end your marriage, you’ll likely find that you both need a trusted babysitter for your child more than ever as single parents. Agreeing on one, however, can be a challenge.
If you’re both going to continue living in the same area, you may be able to stick with your current sitter. However, if one or both of you moves even a few miles away, that babysitter who walked or rode their bike to your house might not be able to continue taking care of your child – at least for both of you.
While you could each choose a sitter who will look after your child if you must go out or work late during your parenting time, experts typically recommend having one sitter who can come to both homes. This will help your child have some much-needed consistency as they adjust to transitioning between two homes.
Key factors to discuss
If you need to select a new caregiver for your child, it may be wise to do this as you’re working out your custody agreement and parenting plan. You’ll want to decide things like the following:
- When will you need a caregiver? Will they be needed regularly (for example, after school) or only on occasion if something arises during your custody time?
- Who will pay them? You should decide upfront if you’ll each pay them when they’re at your house and if their pay needs to be factored into a child support agreement.
- Will the rules be the same in both homes? While parents’ rules may vary somewhat (although preferably not significantly) from one home to another, it’s best if the babysitter has a consistent set of rules and expectations for your child regardless of whose home they’re in.
- What topics are off-limits with the kids? You may need to share some information about the divorce with your sitter that your child doesn’t need to know. It’s crucial that your sitter knows what they can and can’t share with your child.
The selection of a babysitter, nanny or another caregiver as you transition to co-parenting is one of the first and most important of the many decisions you’ll continue to make together for your child. By codifying at least some basic provisions about caregiving in your parenting plan, you can help prevent conflicts and confusion in the future.