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Parting ways with your sitter

When it’s time to move on from a happy childcare situation due to a move, a change in job status or something similar, it can be hard for you, your child and her care provider to move on.

Here’s how to cope, and how to make mementos for you both to look back on.

Your child’s care provider often becomes a member of your family. She spends her days with your little one, helping her learn and grow, and you and your child may become really attached to her. Sometimes, a new job, a move or a decision to stay at home with your little one will cause you to break ties with this person who has become really special to you and your child. How can you say goodbye?

Plenty of warning

If you have to change sitters, or “fire” one because you are moving, you’ll most likely have plenty of time to share with everyone what your plans are. Give her a head’s up as soon as you can, and if your child is old enough to understand — around 3 years old and up — give her time to process the impending change as well.

Prepare for tears

You may be surprised to find yourself a little teary thinking about your child’s departure, so you might want to wear waterproof mascara or stock your purse with tissue before the big day arrives.

Buy a gift

To thank your awesome sitter, buy her a gift. It doesn’t have to be huge or expensive — even a $10 gift card to the local grocery store would be highly appreciated — but make sure you include a card, homemade or store-bought, that your child draws on and “signs.”

Celebrate the big day

When your child’s last day with her provider arrives, make it a celebration. Provide plenty of age-appropriate treats for the group or arrange to eat lunch with all of the kiddos. Arrive early for pick-up if you can and bring that camera along. Take pictures of her with her little pals and playing with her favorite toys — or have her give you a tour of the facility as you videotape her narration. Before you go for the last time, have your child present the gift.

Follow up

A few weeks later, drop by (or mail) a few photos of your child on her last day in a keepsake frame. Your child’s babysitter will likely cherish this memento. Make a copy to keep in your child’s baby book or for display in her room.

With these few tips in mind, you should be better prepared for that last “goodbye.” Be happy that you were able to find the perfect provider for your child, and take heart in the fact that you know how to pick a good one.

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