Here are some great tips for all parents! We also congratulate Mykenzie on being our youngest contributing writer so far, at the ripe age of 16.
By Mykenzie Johnson | The Snap Mom
Ah, the joys of babysitting. Having about four years of experience under my belt, I’ve gotten the opportunity to play with tons of different kids each with their own unique personalities, homes, stories, and parents. There’s always lots of fun and giggles, but on a more serious side, babysitting requires massive responsibility. Here are a few simple things that would make our jobs sooo much easier!
Handle the Money First
Of course, money is important. As a teenager… it can be quite scarce at times. Nowadays, it can be hard to find a job as most employers prefer to hire those over 18 years old! For many teens, babysitting is our only income. Typically, every sitter will have an idea of her/his own rate. We love when you discuss this with us beforehand just so both parties are on the same page. Also, kindly keep in mind our gas expenses and food needs. When you give us as much time as possible before cancelations, it’s much appreciated… more time we have to book another job or find other plans!
Time is Valuable. If you are able, call if you’re going to be arriving late. We kind of start to worry when you say you’ll be home at 6:00, and it gets to be near 7:30. Your older kiddos will begin wondering too! Late nights are usually no problem; just let us know ahead of time so we can take our next day’s schedule into account before accepting the job. Lastly, be upfront and honest about plans. No, we don’t need every detail. However, if you do plan to be drinking, please let me or my parent know so safe rides can be arranged.
Seems obvious, but it always surprises me how parents can leave out crucial details. It’s super important that I have your home address, phone numbers, and preferably a family member or neighbor’s contact information; just in case something happens. We feel safe and prepared when we have these specifics.
Nicknames, Routines and Rules. “Lele!! Lele! Lele… lele…” had me confused for almost two months! Turns out the one year old wanted his “lele”, which is an abbreviation for “leche”, which is milk in Spanish.
If you have nicknames for certain items or foods, time and frustration is saved when you tell us ahead of time. Every family is different. If you have preferences, please pass them on: to babysitter and child! We will be happy to follow them, and there will be less confusion if both of us heard mom’s rules! Safety for your children, and if applicable, your pets, are our upmost priority. Equip us and train us. Any concerns or worries about if we can properly administer their inhalers, or burp your baby, or operate your microwave… can be fixed with a harmless conversation. We’d rather be educated then mess something up or risk a future job! Let us know of any major allergies or medical conditions, so if there is a discomfort on our side, we can work it out before your date night.
What’s Off Limits
Elaborating on the last point, we don’t know what your family’s rules are. Tell us if answering the door is a no-no, or if you’d prefer we only answer the phone to your number. Certain games, rooms in the house, foods, etc. I hate it when after watching a movie the child will look at me and say, “Wow I love how you let me watch TV. We’re not supposed to when mommy’s gone.” *Jaw drop* Again, we want to follow your rules, I promise! That being said, we also want to avoid finding off limit mommy and daddy things. I’ll keep this one short and sweet. If you have “adult items” that you’d like your babies to stay out of, hide it Any books, “toys”, videos, etc, that are perhaps not G-rated, it’d save us an awkward conversation with your child while we quickly try and throw it out of sight!
There are Two Sides to Every Story
If you have a concern, please call afterwards. If we were being “mean”, please just run it by us and give us a chance to redeem our job. Most of the time it will be over something like asking your kid not to chuck the remote at the dog again. And yes, some children find Fido as a lovely target, true story mamas.
Your babysitter wants you to know that we appreciate you. We appreciate that you trust us with your child. We feel grateful someone values our responsibility and can see how caring and passionate we are for your little ones. We love your kids! We may not “be” you, but with some help, we will always try our best to run your household as smoothly as possible.