10 March 2015

5 Things Your Babysitter Wants You to Know




Aside from child care during the day for working parents, the next most stressful decision when it comes to the care of your child{ren} is the choice of a babysitter. 

We’ve always been very fortunate to find trusting, highly competent babysitters for our daughter and once you find an individual that meshes well with your family and your child, that person is worth their weight in gold, but babysitters can’t do their job alone – they need our help.

In our excitement as parents to rush out of the door for much needed adult time, we often forget a few important details that come in handy for the ones who we trust to watch our children. In talking with Maddy’s sitter for this post, I was amazed at how little information the majority of parents give a sitter before they leave for a night out. Our sitter Reagan told me that more times than not, the parents say, “Put her to bed at 8 and you should be fine. Call us if you need anything” as they are running out the door. Many times, she is often left to her own devises to figure out dinner, bath time, routines and everything in-between which often leaves her feeling frustrated, anxious and helpless.

To me, babysitting is a job. A serious job. It takes great skill to know how to handle other people’s kids and just like with any other job, having a sitter who is happy with their work is invaluable and will inevitably show up in the way they take care of your child and your home. I asked Reagan to narrow down a list of the top 5 things she wished parents knew about preparing to leave their child with a sitter and wanted to share the information with you all today. 

ONE :: Leave a written schedule. This seems like an obvious thing to do but according to Reagan, many parents neglect to do this one very important thing. Most people assume that a seasoned babysitter will automatically know what to do with children but the reality is that each family is different with different routines and schedules. 

Reagan suggests that mothers and fathers sit down together before date night to come up with their schedule and to put pen to paper so that they don’t have to rush to remember everything as they head out the door. “Having a written schedule is vital in me being able to provide the best care possible for the child I’m babysitting, especially if there are multiple children. If I have to feed, bathe and put to bed your child, I need to know exactly how you want it done. Having information such as formula ounces, allergies, routines, nap times, amount of TV time and dosage amounts for medications is “must have” information.”

Reagan also adds that it’s imperative for parents to remember to leave their phone number on this list. “Many times parents will tell me to call if I have questions or concerns but leave no number and no mention of where they will be and this puts me in a really bad predicament.” Always make sure to leave your information with a sitter, always. 



TWO :: Be clear up front about pay. According to Reagan, nothing lets the air out of her balloon more than to spend an evening taking great care of your kiddos to only be compensated poorly at the end of the night. “One of the best things parents can do for a babysitter is to ask how much we charge up front. This gives us the chance to be honest about our hourly rate beforehand to avoid any confusion or hurt feelings at the end of the night for both sets of individuals.” 

THREE :: Explain to your child before you leave that the babysitter is the boss. “Nothing makes my job more frustrating than to try to keep the peace in a home to only have a child tell me, “You aren’t the boss! You can’t tell me what to do!” 

That’s a major no-go in Reagan’s book.

“I’ve often found that what is most affective is when the parents talk to the child{ren} about who is in charge with me there that way they know that mom and dad and the babysitter are all on the same team.”

Along these same lines she add, “It’s also important to know what items, foods, video games, etc. are absolutely off limits and non-negotiable. You would be amazed at how some children are pros at convincing you that certain things are permissible. It’s also helpful to know beforehand what the parents’ punishment style is. Do you put them in time out? A corner? Let us know these things so that we can be consistent with your child rearing and respect your wants and wishes.”



FOUR :: Let me know when you will be home and stick to it. “In as much as you want me to respect your time in showing up on time, please know and understand that this respect is a two way street. It’s one thing to be running a little bit late because you get held up in traffic but it’s a completely different story to be over an hour late coming home with no courtesy text or call.” 

Reagan also adds to not use the phrase, “We’ll be home late” because “late” to everyone is a relative term. “What I consider late and what you consider late could be two totally different things. Be exact in your arrival time home so there is no confusion and so your babysitter can plan their lives accordingly.” Nothing will turn a babysitter off to babysitting for you again faster like disrespecting their time.

And last but certainly not least…

FIVE :: Get to know us on a personal level. “We are people too. We aren’t just a bunch of robots that come in on autopilot to take care of your kids. Find out about our likes, dislikes, what we are into and if we’re in school, ask about our majors and school life. You’d be surprised how far this goes with a babysitter. The more open you can be with your sitter, the more they will be willing to communicate with you, too.”

I hope this insightful information from my babysitter is beneficial for you and your family. What are some things you do to help your babysitter do the best job possible for your kids?
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup

Courtney is a published author, mom, taco enthusiast, and a Star Wars and Tennessee Volunteers fanatic. She's never met a piece of sushi she didn’t like and enjoys an amazing glass of wine and a great cut of meat. You can read more of her wine-induced, sleep-deprived adventures on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy.

21 comments:

  1. We had a page at the end of our wall calendar that gave the sitters more info then they could ever imagine: allergies, good snacks, bad snacks, more emergency numbers then she'd ever need .....

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  2. Love this! I remember the babysitting days :) haven't left my own baby yet, but am pretty ready to and these are things I will keep in mind no matter who is watching her.

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  3. I LOVE THIS! We're about to start searching for a babysitter in a new area where we don't know anybody and this will help so much.

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  4. I need to start searching for a new babysitter and these are some good reminders. I can't believe some people don't do some of those things your babysitter shared. I mean we're talking basic childcare! I digress some ppl are special right? Good babysitters are hard to find and you've gotta treat them right... like you said at the end - they are people too!

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  5. Great tips! That first one is pretty scary. People just expect a babysitter to read minds and know what to do? Absurd.

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  6. Most of these I am really good about... but some I am guilty of. Oops. ;) Thanks so much for the great insight, I'll be sharing to my Facebook page later this week!

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  7. As a nanny who does do some date night babysitting I couldn't agree with this more! Sticking to the time frame is such a huge point for me. It's really important that your babysitter doesn't feel like you're taking advantage of them by coming home way later than told and then not paying them accordingly for their time.

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  8. I make sure we have each other's numbers in our phones and sometimes I'll send her a text update through the night of how our evening is looking and confirm again what time we'll be back. Then I text her when we're on our way so she can tidy up or gather her things or whatever and we don't ambush her coming in the door :)

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  9. Courtney PattersonMarch 10, 2015 at 8:30 PM

    Thanks, Becky! I appreciate you reading. :-)

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  10. Courtney PattersonMarch 10, 2015 at 8:31 PM

    Your sitter game is strong! An enthusiastic two thumbs up for the Spena's!

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  11. Courtney PattersonMarch 10, 2015 at 8:32 PM

    Thank you, Lisa! I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog. Have a good evening!

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  12. Courtney PattersonMarch 10, 2015 at 8:33 PM

    Confession: I've been bad about a couple of them from time to time. I'll admit - sometimes a night out with grownups gets my mind distracted. ;-) Thanks for reading!

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  13. Courtney PattersonMarch 10, 2015 at 8:33 PM

    Thanks! Yeah, some of the stuff she was telling me was SO CRAZY. I mean, I'm not perfect but c'mon...some of it is a given. Hope you guys are well!

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  14. Courtney PattersonMarch 10, 2015 at 8:34 PM

    Yes! Treat the good ones well and you will have it made. Good luck finding a great sitter for Callie!

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  15. Courtney PattersonMarch 10, 2015 at 8:34 PM

    Thanks, girl! Good luck on your sitter search. I'll be sending good vibes your way. Thanks for reading!

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  16. Courtney PattersonMarch 10, 2015 at 8:35 PM

    Thanks Bethany! I appreciate you reading. I'm glad the post was helpful for you. :-)

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  17. Courtney PattersonMarch 10, 2015 at 8:36 PM

    Perfect! Sounds like you guys have definitely worked out a great systems which is good. Thanks so much for reading!

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  18. I can't believe people would leave a sitter so unprepared. How terrifying! Of course we live in a small town and I actually know our sitter, but still! Great to see it from the perspective of a babysitter, though. Thanks for sharing these!

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  19. A Life of Love and JoyJuly 17, 2015 at 11:26 AM

    Who would leave a babysitter without a schedule!?!? I live by schedules! LOL! :) We've yet to leave our little one with anyone but family, so when it comes time for a real babysitter, I'll have lists everywhere!

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  20. Yes, the schedule! Back when I was babysitting, this was everything! I wonder if some parents don't leave it because they don't want to seem high strung? I always appreciated when parents left the schedule, but let me know which items were flexible and which we non-negotiable (as long as they didn't let the kids know which ones were flexible!).

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