By Vicki Little
Have you ever wondered what your babysitter really thinks about you? Do they think your house is gross, you look like an old maid, and you pay a wage that makes them eat all your food to make up the difference? Or are they happy, rave about you to their friends, and not mind doing your dishes just to make you happy? When you find someone that you like and trust to watch your child you want to make sure that person is happy and sticks around. Here are 8 things your babysitter wants you to know, that just may keep her off the phone with her boyfriend.
1. Money matters: For most sitters, money is uncomfortable to talk about. Establish a clear and agreed upon rate at the beginning. Pay for the whole time that your sitter was scheduled to sit, even if you show up early (and maybe pay a bit more if you are late). If you are going to be more than ten minutes late, call. They may be on a tight schedule or have homework or friends waiting on them, and they would like to give them a courtesy call as well but need to have an idea of how late you will be.
2. Set them up for success: Communicate clearly and be prepared. If you need the sitter to help with homework, be sure that your child has brought all of their homework home and tell the sitter what needs to be done. If your child follows a strict schedule, have that written clearly for the sitter, and be sure they have everything they need. They will have a hard time getting your child in bed by eight if they can’t find any clean pajamas anywhere in sight.
3. Be courteous in canceling: Try to give as much advanced notice as possible so your sitter can make other plans, and consider paying a portion of what you would have if you had not cancelled. This is their job, and they may be counting on the money.
4. Their time is important, too: Be home when you say you will, and if emergencies do come up then call to let them know how late you will be. Showing up early every once in awhile is a great way to monitor what is happening when you aren’t home, but if you do come home early you should offer to pay for the full time they were scheduled to work.
5. Time spent doing chores is time away from your children: Remember that they are your babysitter, they are not your maid. Expecting them to wash their own dishes or the ones used while they are there is fine, doing your laundry is not.
6. Respect their decisions and back them up: If you come home and they told your child that they couldn’t have a snack because they didn’t eat dinner and then you tell the kiddo to go get one anyway, you are setting her up for failure next time. You expect them to follow the rules when you are gone, so when they uphold those rules you need to back them up.
7. Be upfront with your children’s issues: Most babysitters won’t mind if your child has nightmares or there are monsters under their bed, but they need to be prepared when the situation arises. If your baby has colic and you don’t tell your sitter for fear they won’t sit for you, they will probably think something is wrong and you will have to come home anyway. Plus, you want to make sure that you hire someone that is able to handle the situation.
8. Don’t assume they are guilty until you have talked with them: Kids say whatever they need to in order to get attention, get someone in trouble, or avoid trouble themselves. Maybe the sitter really did spend most of the night on the phone…or maybe your child is mad at her because she didn’t bend and let them stay up late. If you have an issue with your babysitter it is best to simply talk to him or her about it rather than let it fester and become an even larger problem.
If you watch kids, what do you want their parents to know? And if you are a parent, what would you say to your sitter?
Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two young kids. A Colorado native, she is the Publisher and Editor of Macaroni Kid Aurora and Downtown Denver. When she isn’t writing or trying to keep up with her kids she can be found volunteering, reading, or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends.
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