Spending time away from your children can be difficult, especially when they’ll be in someone else’s care.
Whether you’re preparing for a childless trip to another country or are going away on business, you’ll need to find a responsible adult to watch over your children in your absence—someone that cares about their well-being and will ensure their safety.
Sometimes it can be difficult to know who you should ask to be a caretaker or if the person you’re considering can handle the demands of caring for your children.
In this post, we cover four preliminary questions you should ask a potential temporary guardian before leaving your children in their care.
1. Can I Name You as a Temporary Guardian for My Child?
This is an important question that some of us may forget to ask. However, it’s imperative that you find out if your temporary guardian is actually willing to care for your children and be responsible for their well-being while you’re away.
You may be considering someone who babysits your children often, but keep in mind, being a guardian—even temporarily—is a heavier responsibility than being a babysitter. Essentially, it requires someone to be a replacement parent for a limited time, including the possibility of having to make important decisions related to medical care, education, and more.
Whoever you ask, you should always make sure your selected guardian understands the responsibilities attached to guardianship and confirm that they are willing to act as a guardian for your children.
You may also want to discuss if the guardian’s home is big enough for everyone to live in comfortably, and, if not, whether everyone should stay in your home while you’re away.
As well, if your child has specific extracurricular activities, be sure to ask the guardian if they will be able to uphold your child’s schedule.
2. Do You Have Experience Caring for Children?
This question may be a no-brainer but it’s something you shouldn’t forget to ask as not everyone has an appropriate understanding of how to parent a child.
If your friend’s eyes bulge every time you ask them to hold your baby, for example, it’s probably not the best idea to ask them to watch your child for an extended period of time.
An appropriate caregiver should understand how to handle a child, from providing guidance to enforcing discipline.
So, if they have no experience caring for children (or if they’ve never cared for a child overnight), you may want to find someone more suitable for the task.
3. Do You Have Moral Objections Regarding Certain Medical Treatments?
It’s important that you find a temporary guardian that will make decisions similar to how you would, especially when it comes time to make a medical decision for your child.
Because a person’s moral beliefs can alter whether they would consent to certain medical treatments (like blood transfusions or surgeries), it’s recommended you find someone who shares your moral beliefs (or, at the very least, knows and respects them).
You may also want to discuss specific scenarios and determine how both of you would handle certain situations if they occurred. For example, you could discuss what to do if your child broke a limb and required surgery or if your child were to get sick and be prescribed a certain medication.
Knowing how your children’s potential guardian would approach these matters before you authorize consent will help you ensure your children are in the right hands.
Keep in mind, a Child Medical Consent form lets you exclude consent for particular treatments that you may not be comfortable allowing another person to authorize for your children. For example, you may not want a temporary guardian to be able to make decisions about mental health treatments for your children.
4. What are your interests and hobbies?
While it might seem arbitrary, this is actually an important question that serves two purposes.
First, some hobbies and interests are not suitable for children (or children under a certain age).
For instance, if your temporary guardian plays M-rated video games, you may want to know so you can ask them not to play in front of your children.
Second, if your proposed guardian has scheduled times for their hobbies or interests, you’ll want to know if their schedule will interfere with the care of your children.
If the caretaker you’re considering goes to a spin class every Friday night, for example, you’ll want to know if they can reschedule or if they’ll arrange for a babysitter during that time (if you’re okay with it).
Choosing A Temporary Guardian
Choosing a temporary guardian is not always easy, and sometimes your first choice is not the best option.
It’s always a good idea to interview your potential guardian before signing a Child Medical Consent form, so you can be sure your children are in capable hands.
What questions do you ask a proposed temporary guardian? Let us know in the comments.