Wednesday, April 15, 2015

5 Tips for Being a Good Babysitter's Boss

As a teenager (or even younger for most of us - now people wouldn't even consider letting a 12 year old watch their children!), I had my turn at babysitting. I was never an every-weekend type, but here and there a coworker of my mom's or a neighbor would ask me to watch their kid(s). I was pretty shy, particularly when it came to being in someone else's home. By myself. #awkward.

If you're at the stage in your life where you are hiring babysitters, here are five ways to be sure you're being a good babysitter's boss (I use "boss" for lack of a better word, since you're the person paying for the service).




1. Feed your babysitter something specific.
Don't tell them "help yourself." While it's very generous and genuine of you to say so, many people in your home don't feel comfortable rummaging through your pantry and refrigerator for food. Instead, make them a specific meal if they're staying during mealtime. Having them make a frozen pizza is fine - just let them know what you intend for them to eat. If you want to welcome them to snacks, leave a basket of snacks to choose from out on the counter. That way it is all in clear sight, and they don't have to go looking through your cabinets and other things.

2. Leave written instructions for anything that might be confusing.
Sure, you'll walk them around and give them instructions before you leave, but your babysitter, particularly if it's his or her first time in your home, will likely not remember everything you say. Instead, if you need to instruct them on how to operate the 16 remotes to your TV (so they can occupy themselves when the kids go to bed), leave instructions on the coffee table. Have a security alarm? Definitely leave instructions for this. Some people may panic at the thought of accidentally setting it off, so having something to look at to arm/disarm is great.

3. Disclose any pets up front.
Usually, babysitters won't mind terribly having to feed a dog or your goldfish. There are instances, however, when this could be a problem. You definitely don't want to wait until he or she shows up to your house to figure this out! Some may suffer from allergies (like myself - very allergic to cats!), while others may have a fear of certain animals. Sometimes, the animal itself may be welcome, but your specific animal may be too much for them (sorry, but you know who you are. Sometimes animals are just out of control and it's only endearing to you!). It's not fair to ask them to babysit one child, when the animal makes it feel like 3. Just be considerate.

4. Be home when you say you will.
This one is important. Not only is coming home on time important, but you don't know what else your babysitter has planned for that day or night. It is not fair to assume that they have blocked off their entire night for you and your children, when they actually may have plans to meet with a friend, or to go home and get some school work done. Just as you would always be on time for business meetings or doctor appointments (or at least call with an apology if you know you're running late), your babysitter deserves the same courtesy.

5. Don't ask your babysitter what they want to be paid.
Aaaawkward. Sure, this is a dream question for us to be asked at work, but for a 15 year old, they want as much as you'll give them! Duh. Odds are, however, they'll probably ask for too little. And you don't word getting around that you're the parents taking advantage of cheap labor. If you're hiring babysitters, it's your responsibility to keep up with what the average hourly rate is in your area. Talk to other parents that you're comfortable with, and ask what they pay on average. I know that seems to be a personal question, but this is something you'll want to stay on top of if you want to find ready and willing people to come watch your kids when you need them. Also, be sure to pay extra when warranted. These instances could include: asking them to watch a pet; if they end up watching the neighbor's kid, too; if you arrive home late; if you expect them to tutor your child during homework; if you ask them to do household chores; etc.


These tips are taken from my experiences growing up, and trust me, my friends and I did talk about our experiences babysitter - the good, the bad and the ugly. We wanted to let others know when they should turn down a job for various reasons, so be sure that you're making your babysitters feel comfortable and valued. They will return the favor, trust me. And if there's ever anyone you want to treat well, isn't it someone who keeps your children safe and cared for when you can't be there to do so?


What other tips would you add for parents?


Until next time - -







13 comments:

  1. These are great tips! Pinning!

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  2. Great post, lady. I appreciate someone writing on this topic after numerous bad experiences as a babysitter/nanny!

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    1. Right!? It seems like it shouldn't be so hard to figure these things out, but perhaps for people who never babysat growing up, it's a bit more difficult.

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  3. Great tips! Another I would add is that if you are hiring someone for the first time, have them come over for an hour before, just to make sure that your children and she/he mesh well. Not all kids are good matches for babysitters!

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    1. That's a great suggestion! That would avoid the need to rush through the tour and instructions. Thanks so much!

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  4. YESSSSS! I still babysit on weekends for this one family, and the parents never give me a time that they'll be back and when I ask, they're never home by that time anyway. It makes it super difficult to try and plan things with my husband for afterwards!!

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    1. That is SO frustrating!! What do they say when you ask them a time? Or do you ask?

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  5. Oh this would have been wonderful when I was a teenager. Definitely will be passing this around to my friends and family with tiny humans.

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  6. The nanny websites have just made hiring nannies more competitive and we are suffering for it. That's all it is. Parents can now compare nannies side by side themselves and not just a few sent to them by a nanny agency and they choose who they want for the rate they prefer. See more here : cribsters.com/sittercity-review-coupon/.

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