How do you keep a good babysitter? By talking with them about their concerns. The earlier parents establish an open dialogue with a trusted sitter, the more likely they are to do a good job and stick around.
Here are the top five things babysitters are hoping you’ll want to talk about:
1. Your child. “It’s important for childcare providers to know things like bedtimes, bath times, what kind of foods the children like, any allergies or health concerns,” says Mary Schwartz from sittercity.com. “It may sound simple, but a thorough debriefing will help prevent any misunderstandings down the line.”
2. Authority. Make sure your child knows that the babysitter is in charge in your absence. Teach them to show respect for the babysitter’s decisions by not undermining their authority. If you work from home, communicate to your child that the sitter is the decision maker while you are working so they don’t continually run to the parent to act as mediator.
3. Goodbyes. Most of the time, a short goodbye is best for the child (and the babysitter!). According to Schwartz, don’t linger. Make a plan with your sitter on how they can calm your child down once you leave. If crying will bring you back in the door, then your child will be more than willing to oblige with some tears for another hug. This can prolong the inevitable and make calming your child more difficult.
4. Pay. The reality is that watching your child is a job. And your babysitter should be paid what you agreed to for their services. Additionally, be sure to remember to adjust payment to reflect additional duties.“Sitters cited a number of instances where parents have agreed to pay a childcare provider a certain rate to babysit a child but then parents start to add responsibilities like cleaning the house, cooking dinner, doing laundry, going grocery shopping without increasing the pay,” says Schwartz. Make sure you discuss any additional duties and always pay on time as babysitters are relying on the income from their job.
5. Time. If you require ongoing babysitter services, make a schedule and try stick to it.
“Sitters understand that emergencies arise and plans need to be altered, but try not to cancel on a babysitter last-minute because they don’t have the time to schedule another job,” says Schwartz.
When you are running late, call the sitter so they can try to readjust their schedule as necessary. They may be happy to stay longer so they can be paid more, but they may also have other job commitments, so be sure to check before it gets too late.
Quick Tip About Pets
If you have pets, make sure there is a clear understanding of your expectations when it comes to their care. If your child is old enough to tend to them, this might be a good responsibility for them while you are gone.
Janine is a freelance writer and mother of three.
Calgary’s Child Magazine © 2023 Calgary’s Child