I used to take care of my niece weekly when she was a baby, which gave me great preparation for having my own daughter a few years later. We don't have as many family members around, but we definitely take advantage of any "free babysitting" offers that may or may not come our way. When you're leaving your baby with a family member for the first time, the goal is to make the experience as smooth as possible for both parties involved. After all, if you need or want their help in the future, it would be nice if any subsequent babysitting moments are even easier than the first time. So, time to read up on these important things you should do the first time you leave your baby with a family member.
When I was taking care of my niece, the most helpful thing her parents did was to make sure I understood her schedule and her cues. I could almost always figure out why she was getting fussy at a certain time and, as a result, give her what she needed. The second most helpful thing? Releasing me from her schedule and explaining that her not napping or napping too long wasn't the end of the world. It was such a relief to have that combination of information and lack of pressure when they dropped her with me. Because I was caring for her regularly, we quickly settled into our own routine that I still remember fondly.
With my own daughter, I can't say I was quite as chill as they seemed. I could say the words, "Don't worry if she doesn't nap," but for a long time I didn't really mean them and would panic inwardly about whether my parents had been able to get her to sleep or, in the early days, to drink her bottles. The older she got, though (and thankfully) the more I chilled out and now I have a whole host of ideas for making sure family members succeed in taking care of our daughter so that we can call them again and again. Kidding! (Not really.)