The Key to Treating Your Babysitter Well
Babysitting might be the toughest job in the world, and yet young teens go out there and do it every day. So, in the interest of making their lives just a little bit better, here are some things you should do as a responsible employer:
- Pay them. We know what you’re thinking, Who doesn’t pay their babysitter? It turns out, a lot of people. So here’s the deal: ask your babysitters what their hourly rate is for the number of children you have. If they insist on leaving it up to you to decide what fair compensation is, then determine what the average going rate is in your area, and offer that hourly rate (give them the opportunity to negotiate or turn the offer down). Don’t let their parents insist that they’ll babysit for free, and don’t pay them whatever you think you can get away with.
- Pay them with money. Again, this should be a no brainer. Don’t pay them in movie coupons or cherry pie. Don’t order them pizza for the night and call it even. Don’t tell them you’re all out of cash and you’ll pay them later. That doesn’t work at the hair salon; it shouldn’t work with your babysitter. If they have completed the job, then they deserve to get paid. In cash.
- Make sure transportation arrangements are made in advance. How is the babysitter getting home after the job? Are her parents picking her up? If she needs a ride home, are you able to drive her? Again, these arrangements should be made in advance.
- Don’t ask them to do chores. The babysitter is there to watch your children, not do your housework. Her first, last, and sole responsibility is to keep your children safe and healthy while you’re away. Why would you want anything to interfere with that?
- Come home on time. How would you like it if your dinner reservations were at 6 pm and your babysitter showed up at 6:30 pm? Like you, your babysitter has a life. She might be meeting friends after you come home, or maybe she has to get up early the next morning. Be considerate and come home by the time you arranged in advance. If plans have changed (you’ve decided to go to a later movie or dinner is running long), call and let your babysitter know. If she can’t stay, then you may have to make other arrangements.
Respect your babysitter’s time, compensate her fairly, and treat her well. If you do, she’ll likely be there for you when you need her.
Has your sitter taken a babysitting preparation course? If not, consider chatting with her parents about signing her up for Safe Sitter®. Use our Find a Class tool.