What the Babysitter Wants You to Know
I’ve always fancied myself quite the little business woman. In first grade I used to get my dad to buy me candy from the gas station and I’d sell it on the playground for 50% more the next day. As a real business savvy gal, I was always looking for my next big break. At about the age of 12, I realized that my small town had pretty slim pickings in terms of babysitters. I decided to dip my feet into the field of childcare. That was a glorious decade ago and I’m still babysitting on the side to this day. Equal parts because I actually enjoying it and also because it really helps my Chipotle fund. In that past decade, I have learned an immense amount about childcare and even more importantly, dealing with parents.
Here’s the thing. Your child is the most important thing in the world to you. You’ve got their best interest in mind and so does your babysitter. However, there are a few things I’ve picked up throughout the years that make a sit go smoothly and with minimal awkwardness. Here’s what I’ve learned, mama’s:
Have a price in mind
No one likes talking about money. Aside from maybe first grade me on the playground. Truth be told, babysitters don’t always have a set price. It wasn’t until I started working for a nanny agency that I knew what my price was or should be. I always felt so awkward telling the parents what I thought I should get paid. My advice is to research average rates for sitters in your area and suggest that. If that’s not enough and they feel strongly enough, they’ll let you know.
It’s okay to be late, but let them know
If I had a dollar for every time parents told me they would be home at one time and then came home hours after, I probably wouldn’t have to babysit anymore. Even if I didn’t have plans and could stay later, it straight up gives me anxiety. It’s okay to be late, life happens and you’re probably having a hell of a time without your kids, but just let the sitter know. No babysitter wants to have to awkwardly text the parents and ask when they’re coming home and risk seeming rude and not getting hired again.
Don’t be afraid to over explain
Having a heads up is always appreciated. If you know it’s going to take your little one two hours to wind down and needs a specific song, let us know. If you have a laundry list of instructions, bring it on. Literally the more information the better. We are responsible for your children and home, and we genuinely want to do the best we possibly can to ensure you’re happy.
Let them know how you want them to discipline
There hasn’t been many incidents, but I’ve been in a few sticky situations where I felt uncomfortable because I knew discipline was in order but wasn’t sure how the parents would like me to handle it. Whether you’re anti punishment or are a firm believer in time outs, let your sitter know. Having a consistent discipline in order ensures that the sitter doesn’t feel helpless and that you won’t be mad if they handle it in a way you don’t approve of.
I always loved when a mom would text me telling me her kids had a great time at the park or enjoyed making paper airplanes. It helps your sitter approve and gives them confidence in what they’re doing. If you use a sitter regularly and you don’t like something they do, let them know as well. It’s easy to forget that it really is a working relationship and feedback can lead to improvement or further the success of your sitter.
At the end of the day, being open, honest and real with your sitter is the best policy.