Reliable and nurturing caregivers can be hard to come by. Finding the right babysitter for your kids and your family may take some effort and there will probably be trial and error involved the process. So once you do find that perfect babysitter, you’re going to want her to stick around. Today we’re going over rules of babysitters so you’ll know how to keep your babysitter happy.
Treat Your Babysitter Like Family. You trust this person with the most precious thing in your life so you should treat them with the upmost respect. You’ve most likely vetted your sitter already and have determined her a fit caregiver. Although she is working for you, this type of childcare should not feel like a sterile corporation, but rather a loving mutual experience. Just as you would any family member watching your child, show kindness, compassion and interest in her. Periodically ask if she needs any advice or supplies to make her job easier. Also, be sure you have plenty of food for her, especially if she is feeding your kids.
Be Clear about Expectations. Make sure your babysitter knows the rules of your home, including what your child can eat, when your child should go to bed and which areas of your house are off-limits. Write down basic important information such as your pediatrician’s phone number and an emergency contact besides yourself. Outline a schedule and routines without giving too many overwhelming details. While children are creatures of habit, they can also go-with-the-flow under new circumstances. It is good for your kids to learn that it’s OK for people do things differently than you.
Teach Your Babysitter about Breast Milk. If you are leaving a bottle of expressed breast milk for your babysitter to feed your baby, giver her a tutorial on breast milk. You may need to explain how to thaw frozen milk and that you should never keep leftover milk if your baby has not finished her bottle. If you are concerned about wasting breast milk, have your babysitter only pour in a few ounces at a time into a bottle.
Have Your Babysitters Back. If your children have misbehaved or you get conflicting stories from your sitter vs. your kids, trust the adult or at last do not undermine her in front of your children. Sometimes kids test boundaries with new caregivers and may try to get away with some inappropriate behavior. Your children should respect your babysitter’s authority from the get go or the relationship could be doomed from the start. Arm your sitter with acceptable ways to discipline your children.
Be On Time. Let your babysitter know when you expect to be home. If you find that you’re going to be late, call her to let her know and make sure she’s able to stay. You should also pay extra for the time. Additionally, if you have to cancel on short notice, pay her some of her fee since she may have been counting on the income or turned down another babysitting opportunity. Respecting her time is an important part of keeping your sitter happy.
Pay Your Babysitter a Fair Price. Whether you have an occasional nighttime sitter or a long-term nanny, if you pay a fair price you ensure she’ll want to continue working with your family. Babysitting poaching is completely possible when you pay less than the going rate and your sitter can find a more lucrative gig. Think of it this way, you are paying for your child’s care and well-being, which you should consider quite valuable. Also, if you are asking your babysitter to do extra work – watch multiple children, take your kids on an intricate outing or do chores around your house – you should consider paying more. Tips are also a great way to show your sitter that you think she’s doing a great job.
Give Your Babysitter a Good Recommendation. If you no longer need your nanny or are not filling enough of your babysitter’s time, she may need to find other work. Give her a good recommendation so she can get another job. Many families fear they will not be able to use their sitter if her time is committed elsewhere so they don’t give glowing reviews. But that could backfire if your sitter feels slighted.
When you keep your sitter happy with respect, fair pay and clear expectations, you and your entire family will benefit from the relationship.