What Most Babysitters Want to Know Before Watching Your Kids
Hiring a new babysitter can be nerve racking all in itself. What makes it worse is when you come home to find out they didn’t do the job you expected. To make things more clear and easier on everyone, here are 16 things babysitters wish they were told by parents that gives you a glimpse of the things that are not always discussed. By telling your babysitter the things below, you will be setting them up for success while watching your children.
Is the dishwasher clean or dirty?
When we are watching your children for the night, we don’t want to guess whether the dishes in the dishwasher are clean or dirty. As a babysitter, if we need to pull something out of the dishwasher, we will just wash it before we serve your children on it.
We would rather not guess and risk your children being exposed to bacteria because of a dirty dish. Make our life a little easier and just let us know if the dishes in the dishwasher are clean or dirty.
Can I use the computer/laptop after the kids go to bed?
When we babysit for you in the evenings and have put your dear sweet children to bed, is it okay that we use your computer or laptop? We could spend hours on our phones, but sometimes it’s nice to use a computer. Do you mind? We expect you to have security settings and assume you are tracking everything we are doing in your house, will you just let us know if we can use your laptop so we don’t have to wonder?
Do I need to help your child with their homework?
If we are babysitting your children after school, do you expect us to help them with their homework? Children often come home stressed about school, homework, wanting a snack, and would rather relax. We don’t mind enforcing your do-your-homework rule, however, do you want us to be the one to help them with their questions?
How does this stuff work?
You may think that we know all about all of the latest technologies, but, unfortunately, everything is different. Please give us a rundown on how your TV, entertainment system, Blu Ray player, and gaming systems work. If you give us permission to use these things but we do not know how to work them, that stinks. We do like instructions on how things work.
How can I discipline your child?
Do you give your child timeout? Do you take away a toy if they misbehave? What are your grounds for discipline? We do not want to disrupt your child’s growth or your parenting.
When you communicate with us the acceptable ways to discipline your child it makes our babysitting time a little easier. Hopefully we will not have to use any of them, however, if the situation arises we would like to know your way of disciplining.
Can I give your child medicine?
Sometimes when we are babysitting, your child says they do not feel well. They may say they have a headache, stomachache, or feel nauseous. Is it okay to give your child children’s medicine? Do you have medicine that you give your child if something happens? Do you want me to notify you before we give your child medicine?
What time is bedtime?
We have babysat for a lot of parents. Children sometimes do not have a bedtime. Or, maybe they only have a bedtime during the week. Other parents have a strict bedtime schedule and expect under no circumstances should the schedule be broken. We need you to share this information with us.
Even if we have babysat for you in the past. Remind us. Besides, sometimes schedules change, as children get older bedtime gets later. We want to know what time you expect your children to be in bed.
Can I invite a friend over after the kids are in bed?
Okay, so… you may be thinking, “Really? A friend! No way!” But, we do not know your rules. We have babysat in the past and been able to bring a friend with us. We have babysat and parents have allowed our friend to get dropped off later. It is not uncommon.
If you do not make your expectations clear to us, we may have a friend come over and hang out with us after your kids go to bed and completely ruin our relationship with you and your children, only because the rule wasn’t established ahead of time.
Who should I call if there is an emergency and you don’t answer your phone?
We don’t want to have to call you. We certainly don’t want to have an emergency. However, if something happens and we cannot reach you, who do we call? Is there a family member close by? Do you know your neighbors?
Give us a list of emergency contacts if you cannot be reached. We likely will never need to use them, but, we will both have a better piece of mind knowing that we have the resources we need if for some reason we cannot reach you.
Where is it okay to sit/relax after the kids go to bed?
If we am watching your baby, do you want me to sit as close to their room as possible? If your children’s room is upstairs, is it okay that we sit in the basement where the TV is and watch a movie? Would you rather have me as close to your child as possible? Are there places in your house that the baby monitor gets poor reception? We want to know this too.
How do I end our babysitting agreement if I decide it’s not working out?
Babysitting isn’t typically a career. How would you like to be notified if we cannot be your babysitter anymore? Do you need a month’s notice? A week? Is it okay if we just text you?
Will you tell your children? Do you expect us to tell your children? These decisions are all up to you. If we cannot be your babysitter anymore, do you want me to give you a referral for another babysitter?
Does your child have neighbor kids who show up to play?
When we are babysitting your children after school or on the weekend, should we be expecting the neighbor kids to come over and play? We’re glad your child has friends and we’re happy that they have someone to play with, but when more children show up, we are babysitting more children.
When we are babysitting more children, we would expect to be paid more. If you know that your neighbor boy typically shows up to play with your son, let us know and pay us for it.
Are you expecting any deliveries?
Delivery drivers drop packages on your porch, bang on the door, and walk away. It can be startling and unnerving. If you know you are expecting a delivery of a package, let us know. It is much easier to explain to your child that it is the deliveryman banging on the door instead of attempting to calm their fears because they don’t know who is knocking on the door.
Are you going to be late?
We know traffic happens, unexpected socializing. We understand 5 to 10 minutes late. If you are going to be later than that, let us know. Text us, call us, whatever is easiest. Just let us know if you are going to be late. We may have made plans after babysitting, we may have someone picking us up. We need to know if you are going to be late so we can plan accordingly. The sooner you know you’re going to be late the better. Communicate this with us so we know what to expect.
How much are you going to pay me?
Do you pay hourly, nightly? By occasion? We typically will have an amount in mind, but we need to be told how much you’re going to pay us. We don’t want to guess at the end of the night what we are getting paid. Please be clear and upfront with us at the very beginning of what you are going to pay us. We will know what to expect and there will be no confusion at the end of the job of how much money should exchange hands.
We want to know everything. Make lists.
When you make us lists we are better prepared. We will know your child’s favorite book, snack, or the ways to soothe your baby. Lists make it easier for us to do our job because we can return to the list for the information on your children and not feel like we are forgetting something.
Babysitting is not an easy job. We are in charge of your children, you expect us to protect and care for your children while you are away. The better prepared we are when you leave the more successful our babysitting adventures will be with your children. Now go have some fun!
By: Dawn R