If you’re not surrounded by a plethora of family and friends hankering to babysit your kids whenever the urge to have a night out or weekend away takes hold (tempting to take turns for a night out I know, but not great for the romance!), then you’ll need a sitter at some point. Heck, we all need a break, but knowing the children are as safe as houses is part of the enjoyment. Here are six insightful confessions from an awesome babysitter who knows how to build a great sitter/parent team – they’re guarding your most precious possessions after all.
1. Don’t be embarrassed
If you have a messy home – we understand. You are a parent with a million and one things to do, so if there are toys on the floor or a pile of washing that needs folding, sitters are usually happy to help you with those chores. In saying this, it is important to remember what your babysitter is there for. Your child(ren) will always be the sitter’s number one priority, so remember not to expect a housekeeper/cleaner.
2. Paying for experience, safety and helpfulness does come at a cost
Sitters are often coming in to your home to ensure that your children are kept safe in the case of an emergency, and to ensure they have a fun time while you are out enjoying yourselves. Sitters want to feel valued and expect to be paid for their time in full. Taking shortcuts by not paying for that extra 15 minutes has often led to a lot of sitters eventually leaving families – it all adds up.
3. Be clear about when you will be home
Keep in touch if you will be running late to ensure it is okay with them. If the sitter were to turn up 30 minutes late with no communication, you would feel a bit upset, and the same rule applies for sitters.
4. Ensure you take time to explain your expectations
The rules of your household and how you want things done. Sitters care for many different families and all have different approaches. Make your sitter feels comfortable by not only writing down routines or must-knows but by also explaining everything. With this, it is often nice if you explain how the TV works or what the wifi code is, in the case that the children are in bed asleep. Good sitters won’t abuse these privileges.
5. Cancelling on your sitter last minute is really disappointing for them
Sitters often plan their week/weekend around their babysitting work and may turn down other jobs due to being committed to yours. If you need to cancel last minute, that is okay but please pay your sitter for at least three hours to compensate for their loss of income. Always remember to put yourself in their shoes; once again, it will help form a long-lasting relationship.
6. Communication is key
If sitters are working through the day or around dinnertime, it is really important to communicate whether you have dinner for them or not. It is not an expectation to feed your sitter, but it is important to ask them to bring their own if you’re not willing to feed them. As well as this, it is is important to let the sitter know beforehand if an adult is going to be at home while the sitter cares for the kids, or to let the sitter know if a child has special requirements or is sick. Being up front from the outset will not only allow a sitter to feel most comfortable in your home, but will also ensure they are up to the job ahead of them.
by Georgia Meek