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8 Things Your Babysitter Wants You To Know

8 things your babysitter wants you to know1

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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  1. Joyce
    June 7, 2014 @ 6:28 am

    Wow……THANK YOU. That is what some of the parents really need to know. Lets hope they read this. These are all real issues, but I feel that #1 Money, #4 Our time is important, too, and #5 Time spent doing chores, are the biggest. They need to realize that some of us do have families ourselves, and we need to get off when we are scheduled to. Yes, sometimes things do come up, no big deal…but when you start making a habit of it, and then don’t want to pay, and or compensate in any type of way. That is just wrong. Or how about, if they do come home early all the time and then don’t want to let us go, even if its just on occasion, so that we could handle our personal business, would be nice. You know sometimes I do, do a little extra, to try and help out and or most times to keep myself busy during down time for the child, but some parents take advantage of that, by purposely leaving stuff, then it becomes an everyday thing and they are expecting you to do it, a lot of times without being thankful that you were just trying to be helpful. Or how about when you do things that would make the job easier for you and of course it would be of benefit to them, why else would you do it, like organizing the child’s drawers, or room, but they are ungrateful, uncaring and just mess it up, without even trying to put things back the way they find/found them, which was nice and neat, organized, but they want you to take care of such things. That is just crazy to me, and I have to say it makes me mad. I do however love it when you do get those parents who are extremely grateful that you have gone above and beyond to help them out as well as yourself. That they do see that it is of benefit for them and do try to keep things in order. So….Again thanks for this, let us hope that parents out there see what is of concern to us and they try to help us raise their children. IF YOU WANT QUALITY……..YOU SHOULD EXPECT TO PAY FOR IT.


    • Leah
      August 5, 2014 @ 9:51 pm

      If I wanted you to “organize” my home, I’d have asked you to do it. Do not assume that what you’re doing is so great. I’ve had babysitters move things around and then I can’t find them when I need them, this is NOT helpful, in fact it’s harmful and if you don’t hear me saying “thank you” for this, be glad you’re not hearing me curse your name at 3am when my child wakes and doesn’t like that you’ve moved her favorite cuddly toy and I can’t find it.


      • Gen Tor
        September 10, 2014 @ 3:57 pm

        I completely agree. My 2 babysitters rearrange my kitchen all the time and so I’m left searching high and low for items while food is burning on the stove. Here’s a tip, guys. If I have a few dishes left in the sink but didn’t ask for your help, maybe just leave them there so they don’t wind up lost. Also, please don’t clean and then hand them to a 1 1/2 year old to “play” with and “hide.” That’s not fun for mommy trying to make dinner that night! It’s amazing how some babysitters think this is so helpful but mothers don’t want their homes rearranged.


  2. Kay
    December 21, 2014 @ 8:16 am

    As a longtime babysitter, I feel that time is an important issue. To those who continually stay out longer than the agreed time–don’t do it and expect to have your babysitter agree to work the next shift. As was pointed out-we have lives too! In regards to us cleaning the “wrong” way-just mention that we don’t need to tidy up–but don’t leave your house dirty.
    Respect our time and we won’t quit on you!


  3. Karen Myers
    June 21, 2016 @ 11:36 am

    I just want to print this and give it to all of the families that I babysit for. The NUMBER ONE thing to realize is that your babysitter has a life too! I babysit for several families and I can’t tell you how many times the parents have been over an hour late with no call or text. We have lives too. We may have another job to get too, plans with friends, or any other prior commitment. I also have a family where the mom is consistently late and does not pay me for the extra time!!!! That is not okay. Just because you said you are getting home at 5 doesn’t mean you only pay me til five. If you come home a half hour late then pay me for that. If you pay 10 an hour and I babysit 12:00-3:30 then you owe me 35 dollars not 30!! It is so rude and disrespectful to not pay me for the full time that I am taking care of your children. My other biggest pet peeve is being canceled on. I get it, life is busy and we can’t always predict how something is going to go. But I will have people cancel on me like an hour before I am supposed to sit. They don’t apologize, they don’t offer to pay me for the time, they don’t reschedule soon to ensure I get paid. They just text and say “I don’t need you today after all, thanks anyway!” Imagine if your boss called and said I can’t afford to pay you this week please don’t come in. That’s essentially what you do when you cancel on a babysitter last minute. And last but not least for the Love of God do not tell me that your children can’t watch TV, play on the IPad, or anything along those lines. I understand you are paying me to play with your children. But keeping a small child entertained for 6 hours is not easy and they are most likely going to complain of Boredom the entire time. Limiting their time is fine, but saying they need to play for hours in a row is unrealistic. Oh and also don’t ask me to come babysit for 1 2 or 3 hours and not compensate me gas money. I can’t drive all the way to your house to make less than 20 dollars. If you need your sitter less than 3 hours. Throw in some gas money to help compensate for their time!! Treat your babysitter nice, pay them well, and always consider their time and feelings to ensure that they keep coming back! If you find a babysitter that your kids love treat him/her right!!!!


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