Ask Me Anything: 5 Answers to your Questions about babysitters

Jaidene Anderlini Owner of Babysitters In a PinchEvery parent wonders about babysitters, and what they do with their children while they’re gone. Parents also need to know what makes a good babysitter for their children. The thing parents think is the most important part about a good babysitter is if the kids like them. HINT: all children will love a babysitter that will let them do whatever they want even though you don’t allow certain behaviors or activities and you’ve directed the babysitter. Keep that in mind and know why your kids love a babysitter; are they a babysitter that lets the kids do whatever they want including watching too much TV?  

Now here’s some answers to your questions about babysitters:

1. Why do babysitters want to take care of my kids? 

There isn’t just one answer to this question; there are many. When you have a teenager or a neighborhood kid care for your kids their motivation is usually money or their parents want them to begin working, and be responsible. But do  you really want to put your kids into the hands of a teaching assignment? There is nothing  wrong with leaving your kids with a kid in the neighborhood if they are responsible and trusted just keep a pretty good watch on them.

A professional babysitter someone who is college age or older, has a natural affinity for children and wants to be a part of a child’s life. The person has a natural ability to connect to children that is honest, energetic, children want to be around them and they’ve always had children in their life in one way or another. A professional babysitter understands the struggles of childcare and still wants to do it. Sometimes these professionals never had children of their own but they have a natural talent to care, understand, and love your little ones. Sometimes they have the ability to take an objective look and see what the children need better than parents (because kids don’t have the same ability to manipulate them as they do with moms and dads).

2. Can I trust the babysitter to adhere to the house rules for our kids?

Sure you can as long as you know what the house rules are and you’re clear with the babysitter what they are. You may want to, not only make a list of how to take care of the kids but what the rules are for your home such as do you allow jumping on the furniture, a list of shows they are allowed to watch (if screen time is allowed), appropriate games you allow them to play on their iPads or other devices, where are they allowed to play outside, if you have pets do they take care of the pets, are they allowed to walk them, do you allow them to ride their bikes, scooters, etc and if so where? These are just a few of the expectations and rules you should communicate to your babysitter. A list of your expectations is super helpful to a babysitter because each family is different.

3. What is the most difficult challenges a babysitter deals with?

Usually children telling they are allowed to do something when they aren’t is the big thing as well as how to negotiate what to do when they misbehave or engage in things that may be unsafe. They also have a difficult time with parents that work from home and interfere during the day confusing them and the children as to why they are their in the first place.

4. What happens when we leave, and our baby is crying uncontrollably due to separation anxiety?    separation

First and foremost don’t go back to the child. That will just prolong the anxiety and the time it will take your baby to settle down. When you leave stay gone even if it pains you as you get in the car and can hear your little one crying.

What the babysitter is trying to do is comfort them with a favorite toy/blanket, hugging, talking, rocking, and if the baby is still really upset they will use distraction and if that doesn’t work they will set the child down and give them time to feel what they feel and come to them. By allowing a child to come to them gives the child a sense of control and the time to open up to the new circumstances (even babies need a sense of control and time to adjust to new circumstances just like adults).

Usually there is a flood of loving empathy from the babysitter towards your child. They want to take the stress from the baby as much as you do. Usually your child will settle down within minutes after you leave, and normally it takes less then 5 minutes so don’t worry they got it. If you are super worried have the babysitter text you when the baby settles down, and feel free to do it yourself if you don’t hear from them. Once things settle down babysitters get busy playing and taking care of your child and may forget to text you.

5. How safe is a babysitter?

Given that there are thousands of babysitters and nannies going out each and every day to take care of children, and you hear about maybe one hundred cases in a year about child abuse at the hands of the babysitter chances are pretty good that you can trust the babysitter/nanny. I know the worry is realy and I would have a really hard time leaving my precious children to a babysitter especially if they are a babysitter that I don’t know or a family member, but in the times of transfers, moving away due to jobs and promotions etc it is harder and harder to find people you know. I will say this, that if you REALLY don’t trust your babysitter do not leave them with your children and don’t hesitate in putting in nanny cams or anything else that will make you feel good about leaving your children. Your child’s well being is the most important NOT the feelings of the person watching your children and if they feel insulted that you have cameras. Who cares? You and your children come first.



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