Tuesday, March 23, 2010

WFMW: how to keep a good sitter

I don't need a baby sitter. I am one. Baby sitting is something that parents tend to worry about (and with good reason!). Here are some tips on how to KEEP a good sitter once you've found them.

1. Pay your sitter a fair price. Remember that while you may want to be as frugal as possible this is still someone else's form of income. A good sitter interacts with your child and cares for them. A worker is worth his pay. I charge a flat rate of ten dollars an hour. I feel that that is a sufficient amount of money to compensate for the time I could be doing something else. What is minimum wage? Anything less than that is just demeaning.

2. Whenever possible, tell your sitter what time you will come back, and then stick to it. Sitters have a life outside of watching your children. Nothing is more frustrating for me than to have a family tell me they will be home at one time and then get home hours later. Just because they got home later doesn't mean that I don't have to be at work any later the next day.

3. If you have your baby-sitter driving your kids all around town, give them some extra money for gas. Even if it's only five bucks.

4. Along those lines, never ask your sitter to buy anything for your kids (dinner, school supplies, dog food, etc) without giving them the money first. You never know how much money your sitter may have and if they are in college they're probably on a pretty tight budget.

5. Be ready to pay your sitter. You would be amazed at how many times parents have asked me if I have change for their cash. Pay them when you get home. I baby-sit for a family weekly and sometimes she will just keep track of my hours and pay me at the end of the month. It works for that family. Then I baby-sat for another family that never paid me. And didn't up until two months later. Only after I called twice and then had to go pick up my check. Needless to say I won't be going back there.

6. Leave your baby-sitter options. If you don't want your kids to watch tv or play outside while you're gone, that's fine. But leave them options and ideas so that they know what to do when you are gone.

7. Be approachable. Ask how the night went. If your kid has had a rough day, ask if anything happened during the night. It's very hard for a baby-sitter to tell a parent when their child was disrespectful or disobedient. Open up the lines of communication so that the baby-sitter feels comfortable sharing that information with you.

The families that I love to baby-sit for do these things. And because I know what to expect and they are so helpful I am more willing to keep my schedule open for them.
These tips are what have worked to keep me with the families I am with! :)
Check out Kristin for more Works for Me Wednesday tips!


  1. make sure your laptop is readily accessible, and easily repackable, because you will have to take it out when we go through the scanners.

  2. Great tips, Elizabeth! Thanks for compiling this! I babysat quite a lot through hs and college and I totally agree with all of these points.

  3. This is an excellent list for parents. Thanks for the helpful reminders of how we can be considerate. Good babysitters are very valuable people!

  4. Ooohh...these are great tips! There is a great 16 y/o from my church who babysits. I always let her bring a friend and when I pick them up we'll stop by and rent a movie for them (for after the kids are in bed)

    She's great!

    A good and trustworthy sitter is hard to find!

    Thanks for sharing your first-hand tips!

  5. That's really nice of you! You sound like a dream family to baby-sit for! I have a family with kids that adore my boyfriend so occasionally I'll bring him along too. It's nice to have someone there to play with the kids with. I bet your sitter looks forwarding to watching your kids. :)

  6. I'm gonna bookmark this for my dd who is just starting out...thanks for sharing.

  7. Great tips. We love our babysitter and want to keep her happy!

  8. Great tips! Tip for the babysitter - you get extra points for engaging with the children and for washing dishes used during dinner.

  9. These are terrific tips! We LOVE our baby-sitter and we treat her well... which means I come home to a clean house, happy (sleeping) kids, and the next time I text and ask if she's available, she will be!

  10. I totally agree with everything! I have done my fair share of babysitting since I was a teenager (and still do sometimes).

    I love that you say stick to the time you tell your babysitter you will be home! I cannot tell you how many times I have babysat and thought I was done at a certain time and the parent comes home a lot later! This was especially tough when I was in college and had homework to do or have to get up early in the am for class!

    Thanks for posting this! Love it!