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What Your Babysitter Is Dying to Tell You

What Your Babysitter Is Dying to Tell You

Keeping a great babysitter can be as hard as finding one in the first place. Up your odds of being her favorite client by following these often unspoken rules. 

In a perfect world, parents and the childcare providers they hire would have open, honest discussions about each other's expectations and feelings.

But in the real world, there are plenty of unknowns and assumptions between the two camps. To shed some light on those issues, we asked some of the most experienced local sitters and nannies from what they wish they could tell you. Their answers were anonymous, and thus, candid!

1. Please, share your inside intel! No matter how much childcare experience I have, I am by no means an expert on your kids. Give me specific advice on how to console your baby, and explain the extended intricacies of your toddler's bedtime routine. It could save me a whole lot of grief. Similarly, if I’m spending the whole day with your kids, don’t just say “Have fun!” as you breeze out the door. Give me some direction on how to spend the day. If you really want to up the odds I’ll come back, leave a simple craft or game I can play with the kids, or tee up a movie the kids are looking forward to watching.

2. Please try not to be late when you come home. It's one of the biggest pet peeves of every sitter. Everyone is late once in a while. But if you're running late, give me as much advance notice as possible. Remember that I have other responsibilities, plans and jobs that often keep me on a tight schedule, too.

RELATED: Find babysitters and nannies near you.

3. I'm not here to do housework. You're hiring a sitter to take care of and entertain your kids, not clean your house. It's not too much to expect that I tidy up after the kids -- such as pick up toys they've played with. But, it's unrealistic to expect me to unload and load the dishwasher, do laundry, or sweep, even while the kids are napping.

4. Babysitting two kids is not the same as taking care of one. On average, if you have more than one child, expect to pay $2 to $5 more an hour for each additional one. Whatever you do, don’t spring a niece or your child’s best bud on me, saying “You don’t mind, do you?” Yes, I do.

5. A child's bad behavior can be tough, but not knowing how you would like me to handle it is tougher. Share your family rules and let me know how you'd like me to help enforce them. I need to know if a time-out is a powerful tool in your house or a phrase your child has never heard. And remember to clue me in on unusual problem areas, such as your toddler's proclivity to bite or his big brother's fascination with Sharpies.

6. Please don't forget that I get hungry, too! It's not always possible for me to eat before I arrive, especially if I'll be with your kids at a mealtime. If I’m feeding your child, it's nice to have something for me to sit down and enjoy with him. There's no need to prepare a special meal or stock your fridge, but arrange for me to order a pizza for the kids and myself, or to eat whatever your child is eating. I’d also appreciate being encouraged to help myself to anything I can find in your kitchen.

7. Offering to pay for my cab or subway fare home shows me you care about my safety. As you know, life in the city doesn't come cheap. It's expensive to have a night out without kids, but don't cut corners on getting me home safely. Consider my transportation (at least the trip home) a part of your childcare costs. Or, offer me a ride home. 

RELATED: Five common childcare blunders to avoid.

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Christina Vercelletto


 Christina Vercelletto is a former editor at NYMetroParents, ParentingScholastic Parent & Child, and Woman’s Day. She lives on Long Island with her kids, a chiweenie, Pickles, and a 20-pound calico, Chub-Chub.

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