I was playing The Family Feud online the other day and the question dealt with babysitters and things they are not supposed to do.
The top answer was having a boyfriend over. It made me think about it. It’s not like we have a babysitter job description. So how do we set babysitter responsibilities and make them clear?
Many of us have babysitter stories. My worst story deals with the fact that I hired a young single mom because she needed the money and I wanted to help. She babysat a few hours 4-5 days a week to cover until I got home from work.
I came home to find the kids in bed with dirty faces, and rice spilled out of the kitchen cabinet and sprinkled in a trail into the living room. What the heck?
Bad enough my three year old did that, but just to pretend it wasn’t there was not acceptable. The kids going to bed dirty was not acceptable. I wondered if they’d been fed, and what else the babysitter had been doing…besides babysitting. It didn’t take long for me to let her go.Â
I have to admit, I didn’t think I should have to spell out things like making sure the kids are clean before they go to bed. But when we assume a babysitter understands what we expect without making our expectations clear, it leaves room for frustration all the way around.
When you’re hiring a babysitter, it’s a good idea to write out expectations. Not that you have to hand a list to the babysitter like marching orders, but offering a checklist of the kids’ schedule can be helpful. For example: feed the kids dinner, put dishes in dish washer, help with homework, get ready for bed: wash face, brush teeth, pajamas, read a story, bedtime 8:00.Â
A list like this makes it clear what is expected as it spells out responsibilities. Just put your list on the refrigerator and let the babysitter know the list is there to remind her of the schedule. Along with that, if your babysitter is young, let her know the few rules you have, like no boyfriends over, no long phone calls, and show them what snacks are available.Â
Photo credits: caswell_tom