The parent/sitter relationship needs to be mutually respectful to have a successful partnership.
Watching a child is one of the most important and hardest jobs there is. I started nannying when I was 14 years old, couldn’t even drive or stay out past 10 p.m., but I was entrusted to watch two children only a few years younger than me. Guess what…they survived! Jokes aside, what I learned were lessons that I still use today as a parent; it is paramount to be attentive, patient, and always have an open line of communication with the parents. Surprises are not your friend when dealing with a parent; they need to stay in the loop (remember kids have big mouths and are known to stretch the truth!).
Having said all that, it goes both ways. The parent/sitter relationship needs to be mutually respectful to have a successful partnership. They are watching your offspring, not some inanimate possession. Be the parents you would want to babysit for!!
The following SelectSitter tips will help ensure your sitter wants to babysit for you again, and tell their sitter friends what a great family you are to work for.
Be clear on your expectations
To be successful at any job, you need to know the expectations and responsibilities. I always tell my sitter up front the plan for the evening. Ex. eat dinner (I ordered pizza), play board games or yes, it’s okay to play video games for 30 minutes, brush teeth, read a book, and lights out at 8:00 p.m. sharp. That way the kids can try to pull a fast one and they feel prepared with answers. If you are ok with dessert and staying up late for good behavior, let them know that too so they have some tricks in their back pocket.
Be up front about what you pay
What I charge was always the question I dreaded most as a sitter. I had no idea what to say and I didn’t want to offend the parents because I didn’t even know what they normally pay. It is the only job I have had that the employer didn’t set the pay rate. So going into a job, I would have 100% preferred the parents told me what they were paying me and for what than me shoot off some random number. Now as a parent, I pay an hourly rate and then when the kids are asleep I pay half of that and I tell the sitter they are free to do homework, play on their phone, or watch TV. This is how we do it but I know other parents that pay the same rate the whole job, totally a personal decision.
Write down instructions
Do your kids have food allergies, or specific bedtime routines? Maybe your youngest will only fall asleep if you sing a certain song. Whatever that special things is, your sitter will be so thankful if you share it with them so their evening can go as smoothly as if you were there.
Leave back-up contact numbers
Phones die, service can be spotty…don’t leave your sitter panicking by not leaving emergency contacts or even a neighbor’s name and number. It just makes everyone feel more comfortable.
Feed your sitter
They need to eat too. We always make sure that our sitter knows we made extra for them to eat and to make themselves at home with any food or drink (non-alcoholic of course).
Don’t come home early without asking
I used to rely on my sitter earnings to pay the bills, so if you book a sitter from 5-10 p.m. and then decide to come home a couple hours early that means less money for them. Be considerate and if plans change, shoot them a text to make sure that is ok. If they seem hesitant, consider paying them what you have booked them to work. Most of these sitters are young and could really use the extra money. Remember, you were in their shoes once too.
Remember them on holiday/special occasions
On Christmas we always leave our sitter a card and gift card or extra cash when they babysit to thank them for caring for our children all year. This just reminds them they are special to our family and we appreciate them. It is also nice to reach out to them on their birthday, give them your kids’ school and sports photos, and congratulate them on their big life moments (graduation, new jobs, etc.). If you want them to love your kids just like a part of their family, what better way than to treat them like part of yours.
Babysitters are an extension of your family, and nowadays it is a competitive market to find a great one. Here at SelectSitter, our goal is that every parent can find a trusted sitter anytime, anywhere. Let us know how we can help you