- Not paying your new babysitter for the few extra hours she spent beforehand getting to know your baby and her routine, says Kerstin Potter, director of the early-childhood education program at Harcum College, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
- Hiring a friend's child to babysit, and then not outlining your rules and expectations. "Even if it's the daughter of a friend, make sure that you are in agreement about her duties," says Angelina Newbury, babysitting instructor at the Women and Infants Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.
- Lingering around instead of cheerfully kissing your little one goodbye and leaving the house. When you get where you're going, call home to check that everything is all right, Potter advises.
- Not leaving all the phone numbers your new sitter may need. And remember to include all your cell phone numbers.
- Not giving a small tip to your babysitter when she does a great job. Reliable, caring babysitters are priceless. You want to hold on to the ones you and baby trust.
Rosemary Black, mother of six, is a writer in Pleasantville, New York.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, December 2004.