Most kids are normally apprehensive about meeting new people – especially if those people are adults. This is why it is so important to facilitate at least one meeting with a new nanny or babysitter before you leave your child alone with her (or him). This extra time helps your child learn that, since you trust this new person, he should trust this new person; it also helps your little one get used to the idea that you and he are going to be separated sometimes. The more your kids trust this new caretaker, the easier it will be for them to work through their separation anxiety.

This bond takes time! But you can help it along.

Of course, plopping your child down in front of this new caretaker and saying, “Here! Meet so-and-so!” isn’t usually enough to get the job done. Here are some activities that you, your kids, and your new babysitter or nanny can do together to help everybody bond.

Note: These are also great ways for you to see how your new sitter or nanny will interact with your kids.

1. A House Tour

Have your kids (if they are old enough) take the new nanny on a tour of the house. This gives your kids the chance to show off prized possessions like your kids’ rocking horse or a favorite wooden animal or plush toy. Your kids will love having the chance to show off.

2. Play Games

Play a couple of quick games with your new nanny and your kids – they don’t have to be complex or lengthy. Something quick and easy will do just fine (Ring Around the Rosie goes over fabulously with most toddlers, and quick games of Uno or Candy Land with older kids works just fine).

Hooray! There’s someone else to read that story!

3. Story Time

This is an especially popular method with younger kids who are still learning how to play games or who prefer quieter activities. Have the new sitter ask your kids if she can read their favorite books to them. Your kids will love this – especially if she reads something that you stopped reading because you couldn’t take one more trip through the book without losing your mind.

4. Drawing/Art

Have everybody draw pictures of their favorite things and then tell each other what they’ve drawn. You can join in on this, too. This way your kids won’t feel like they’re performing or on the spot.

5. Have a Real Play Date

Before leaving your child alone for a long time with the nanny, have your new nanny come over for a genuine play date (or two). While the nanny plays with your kids, you can catch up on chores, do some reading, get some light remote work done – whatever. If your kids wander back to you, simply take them back to the nanny, explaining, “She’s here to play with you, not me!”

6. Have an In-Home Day

If you’re hiring someone to take care of your kids full time, it’s good to have them spend at least a couple of days in full work mode – while you’re still at home. You can hole up in your bedroom or somewhere out of the way and let your new nanny take charge of the entire day. Your kids will feel safe knowing you’re there and will get used to someone else being in charge, so having them go from “play date friend” to “in-charge grown-up” won’t be as much of a shock.

7. Good Old-Fashioned Bribery

If things aren’t going well, have the nanny bring over something special for each of your children (you can reimburse her for this). For example, maybe have her bring a rocking horse figurine that looks like your kids’ actual rocking horse. Or, some great wooden blocks or another wooden toy that your kids can use to build things. Kids like people who give them gifts – as long as those gifts are relevant to who they are.

Tip: Bribery works better if it happens on the second or third visit. If it happens on the first visit, you can count on your kids being suspicious.

How you introduce your kids to the new babysitter or nanny is going to depend more on who your kids and the new caretaker are than on any specific activity or game. It’s also important to remember that your attitude and demeanor are going to play a large role in how quickly everybody bonds. If you’re apprehensive or nervous, your kids will echo that. If you’re calm and matter of fact, the transition should go relatively smoothly.

Erin Steiner covers a variety of topics from popular culture to office furniture reviews. In addition to contributing to Carousel and Rocking Horses, she maintains her own blog and YouTube channel.