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inaccessible to children. Move any per- sonal documents or personal information to a locked, secure place. Have the sitter arrive early. According


to the AAP, you should sit in a room with your children and the sitter. Allow your children to sit and play with you. Have the sitter watch the interactions and make eye contact with and smile at your children. Once you feel that your children are de-


veloping a level of comfort with the sitter — by smiling back or starting to include the sitter in the play activities — have the sitter join you and your children in the activity. All of you should play together for a little while. Then move back and allow the sitter to interact with your children while you watch. Children will react differently based on


age. Younger children may take longer than older kids to warm up to someone


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new. Those younger than a year may take the longest time to warm up. Before leaving your children, teach


them what to do if they feel uncomfortable with the sitter. They should call you or contact a relative if you are not reachable. If your children feel uncomfortable talk- ing while the sitter is listening, establish a code word that conveys that there is a problem. The code word should be easy enough for you and your kids to remem- ber, and should only be used if necessary. Additionally, talk to your children about “safe touch” and how they should not be afraid to tell you if they are uncomfort- able with any touches that occur while you are out. When you must leave, always say good-


bye to and reassure your children that you will be home when your activity or work is over.


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