Since I was in the second grade, I have been watching children. Yes, I was still very much a child, but I knew very early in life I was born to be a mother. As long as I have known, I have wanted to have babies. What better way to practice than with kids? Babysitting can be fun, educational, very good birth control😉, a chance to be childish, experience childhood memories again, and make an impact on lives of little ones.
It can also be stressful, exhausting, emotional, and very difficult. Managing and entertaining children requires more than someone physically there. Children need more, constantly.
Here is some advice from a babysitter of almost 20 years to help everyone stay happy and pleased with your childcare arrangement…
1. BE A PARENT!
This is the MOST important thing there is. It’s simple, be there for your children. Help with homework, go on walks, eat dinner as a family, read to your children, bathe them, go to their games. Some of these moments are the sweetest and most memorable, don’t miss out on these times. Your extra hand should be just that, an extra hand. They are there to help you and to care for the kids when you are unable. No matter how much the babysitter helps out, do not let her/him take on PARENTAL roles.
2. Set and stick to a schedule
As an adult, I now have my own life teaching yoga, and am newly married. I am not as flexible as I was during summers in college. And most babysitters will be occupied with school, their own families, and other obligations. Trust me, it’s just easiest on EVERYONE to have consistency.
And asking for too much help will stress and tire your worker out. It’s really hard to say no to cute kids! 😆 So whatever your arrangement may be, try to stick to it as much as possible. Children benefit from regularity too!
3. Agree on a reasonable payment (and potential raise)
No matter how much fun babysitting can be, it is still a job. And again, dealing with children isn’t always the easiest. Make sure your babysitter is paid respectfully and feels worthy of that determined amount.
If you keep the same sitter for over a year, I would recommend giving them a small raise. The kids like her, and you want her to stay? Just like with any job, they need incentive.
Also, PAY FOR GAS. This is a huge one for me. At most jobs, you’re at one location. Working with kids, you can be all over the city! And a car is an [expensive] extention of property. Figure out a reasonable amount and let them know it is for gas, separate from childcare hours. My cars have been disgusting from traveling with kids, so don’t be afraid to occasionally mention a carwash too!
If you go out and leave the babysitter with the kids, give her an accurate estimate of when you will be back. If you end up staying out later for whatever reason, contact the babysitter. If you know plans are going to be different for some reason, tell the babysitter as soon as possible. I cannot tell you how many times I have stood at the front door peering out the window waiting for parents to come home. I have been kept hours passed the agreed time, and then I have to travel home very late, alone. This isn’t very safe for young girls, so keep that in mind!!
5. Discuss behavior and any issues, and TAKE ACTION
If a child is respectful and listens to the babysitter, then it might be a good idea to reward them. Children being away from their parents can be difficult and confusing, so a small treat on occasion can encourage good habits. At the same time, if they are behaving poorly and don’t comprehend respect, the parent should address this issue. The babysitter is not there to instill beliefs in your child’s life, they are only there to reiterate what you have already taught them. So teach the children to respect the babysitter just as they respect the parents.
Personally, I have been very blessed with most of the situations I have been in. I have babysat for some incredible families that give me more than I can provide for the children. I have felt like I have been part of so many families, and have felt so much love from all of the children. They are still so special in my heart.
At the same time, I have been in a few, very few, toxic environments. The fact is, every family has issues and trials that they need to work through. Without the consistency and continuous love and support from parents, these issues might continue. You want your children, and childcare provider, to feel SAFE and comfortable.
As a babysitter or nanny, we are helping shape the Future. They are going out into the world, and we are forming humanity. Kids need adults who are good examples to look up to. Surround your children with positive influence, creativity, support, and strong values, but most of all provide your children with more love than you give to anything else. They need your love. You, your children, and babysitter can thrive and feel treasured, just as they are.
Enjoy this life,