Babysitters (including – and maybe especially – loving grandparents) need their own checklist.

Prepping your babysitters before you leave

•    Jot down the kids’ schedule. Writing down a detailed schedule, including approximate mealtimes, appointments and bedtimes, will make you feel more confident and give your caregivers a comforting sense of structure. Tell them it’s just a guideline, though, so they won’t worry if plans change or if lunchtime is off by a few hours.
•    Make a detailed phone list. Make a phone list with every doctor’s name, number and address (include specialists like allergists) and other medical info like directions to the closest hospital. Add school numbers, teachers’ names and instructions on how to call in if they’re sick and have to stay home. It’s also a good idea to wrangle up two or three fellow moms who can pick up, drop off or give advice in a pinch.
•    Make a few more lists. Jot down which medications can be given, the dosage and when to use them. Add other lists as needed, like parking instructions for school pick-up or specific clothes your daughter needs for dance class. Remember to emphasize that flexibility is okay.
•    Call your kids’ teachers. Prep teachers, counselors, day care facilities and anyone else who’ll be with your child. Explain that if something seems a tad askew—their wardrobe, snacks, attitude, etc.—it’s probably because you’re away. And ask them to keep an eye out for bouts of sadness or loneliness so they can help soothe frayed nerves.
•    Pre-shop for your kids’ favorite foods. Stock the cabinets and write lists of meals and snacks to serve so your mom doesn’t whip up a gourmet meal that your four-year-old won’t touch or your sitter doesn’t take them to Wendy’s every night for dinner. Bonus: The familiarity will do wonders for little bellies and minds.

Now that you and your caregivers are fully prepared, you can rest assured that it’ll all be okay. So tear open that guidebook and gear up for one of the best trips of your life…