Whether it’s for a date night or something less fun, there’s always a first time that you have to leave your baby or toddler. This is often difficult the first time round, but it does get better! In the meantime, there are things you can do to make it easier for both you and your child.
Keeping things familiar for your child will help them to feel more settled when you’re not there. This could be a familiar face such as a grandparent or being babysat at home rather than at someone else’s house. If neither of these are possible, something of comfort such as a blanket or much loved teddy bear could help.
Naturally, your child is the most important thing in the world to you. You’ll feel much happier if you trust who you’ve arranged to look after them. Whilst it’s nice to have a friend or relative looking after them, this isn’t always possible for a multitude of reasons. This is where websites such as Sitters come in. You can easily find babysitters in your local area and read reviews from other mums and dads. It even makes a first, second and third choice recommendation based on your location and their availability. When I’ve arranged childcare for Autumn, I’ve always found it very reassuring to read about how happy other parents and children have been with their services.
If there are any particular routines that your child is used to, make sure that whoever is looking after them knows. This will help them to settle and feel more secure. I find it useful to make a list of things we do before bedtime (e.g. pyjamas on, story time, bottle etc.) so that I know everything has been covered.
If you can, tailor your activities to allow you to get home fairly quickly if your child does get upset. The first time we left Autumn, she cried relentlessly. Not every child has this problem of course, but she did have quite bad separation anxiety when she was younger. As such, if you’re on a date night, consider planning to just going to a movie or just having dinner. After all, you can always call the baby sitter! If all is going well you can do the second activity too! I was glad that on our first post-baby date we stayed quite close to home and just went to the cinema.
Remember, it’s absolutely fine for you to be away from your child sometimes. It’s perfectly fair for you to want to focus time on your relationship, or do other things you need to do child-free. Try not to feel guilty and just enjoy the time you have free of having to change nappies!
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post with Sitters, for which I received compensation. As always, all views and opinions are honest and my own.