Babysitters are Listening Too
This week I’ll be talking to all of you babysitters out there. I’ve received several requests to do an episode about babysitting.
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All parents are different. You need to talk to the people for whom you are babysitting and find out what their specific needs are. Ask for a tour of the rooms you will be visiting and be sure to find out the location of any first aid items. The more you know, the better equipped you will be and the safer you will feel about your time there. Parents want to feel that their children are safe. The more you can reassure them that you are a responsible individual, the better they will feel. As a parent I always try to give this type of information up front, but if I had a babysitter that didn’t seem interested in these important instructions, I would not feel safe leaving my children alone with this individual. Pay attention to the instructions you are given and repeat them back to the parent to let her know you have retained the information. It’s especially helpful if you take a notepad and write down any new information you may not immediately remember.
When parents arrive home, be honest about how the child behaved during your time there. I recommend that you give facts and not opinions unless the opinions are favorable. Do not say, “Little Billy was so horrible!” Even if Billy was horrible, his parents don’t want to hear it. You are much better off telling them, “Billy had a rough time. He bit his sister on the arm. He apologized and I asked him to take a two minute time-out per your instructions.” You may want to list all of the naughty things Billy did, but you can limit it to the major indiscretions such as hitting, biting, throwing, or anything destructive or dangerous. Use common sense to determine which items will concern the parent. If in doubt, let them know, but be sure to keep it factual. Nobody likes hearing negative things about their child, but parents need to know what is going on when they are not around.
Finally, you asked about getting a raise. I have never run into this issue. Most babysitters I have hired always say the same thing to me: “Pay whatever you think is fair.” Well, I don’t really know what is fair. I’m in a babysitting co-op where we trade babysitting with other moms in the co-op. This way, there’s no money exchanged. When I do pay a babysitter, I try to pin down a price. If you are babysitting on a regular basis and have been doing so for a while, I can definitely see why you’d want to ask for a raise. I would suggest approaching your employer and requesting a review. State that you consider this your job and in any other type of position you would be receiving regular reviews and raises based on performance. If it isn’t a steady type of position, you simply need to state that you are having a rate increase. You are basically a contracted employee in this case. If you are saving for a car or to pay for school, you could share that information if you feel comfortable. I would be more inclined to agree to a rate increase if I felt the money was going to a good cause. That’s a personal opinion though. You’ll need to consider the personality of the person you are asking. A simple way of saying it would be, “I’m considering a rate increase of one dollar per hour to help fund the purchase of my new college textbooks. Would you be able to continue using me as your babysitter under these circumstances?” At this point it would be up to the parent to discuss the matter further with you. If you are doing a good job, I think most parents would be happy to pay a little extra to keep you around. Good babysitters are a cherished commodity.
That’s it for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed listening.
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The Mighty Mommy’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Practical Parenting is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips network at quickanddirtytips.com. This week Grammar Girl is answering listener questions so be sure to check out her podcast!
This is your friend the Mighty Mommy wishing you happy and fun parenting!
Music – “Golly Gee” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons "Attribution 2.0" http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/"