Most families have at least one employed parent and many of them have both moms and dads working full-time. It puts the job of a babysitter in an extremely high demand. After all, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends of parents can't help them out every time they need. At times, parents need to hire a professional to look after their children, especially when they have to work or when they want to spend a date night out.
When children are left alone with a babysitter, parents know very little about what's going on behind the scenes. They don't know if their nanny follows all their instructions, if their kids behave well, or if the babysitter is hiding something from them.
The fact of not knowing puts some parents into such an uneasy state that they begin to act in strange ways, calling every five minutes to check what's going on at home and sometimes, even going so far as to install a video surveillance system.
As such, the question needs to be asked: do parents really have to know every single detail of what was going on while they weren't home? Actually, they don't. There are a lot of things babysitters will never tell parents because there's no reason to discuss them.
For the parents who would like to take a glimpse into the life and work of a babysitter and understand them better, we made up this list.
23 You Should Tidy Up, People!
Cleaning up before the arrival of a babysitter is a sign of respect toward them. If parents do tidy up, it means that they understand that it's much more pleasant to work in a nice and clean environment, rather than in the house with toys and other personal stuff scattered all over the place. But, unfortunately, not all parents think so.
"There have been cases in which I have been uncomfortable working places because people keep their homes so messy," Katie shares.
What's more, some parents don't only leave the mess for their babysitter to see it, but also ask them to clean up after they put their kids to sleep.
22 Weekends Don’t Just Belong To Parents And Their Kids
A lot of parents expect that their babysitter will be happy to come to take care of their kids on any given day, after their first call. So if they unexpectedly call and ask their nanny to stay with their kids over the weekend, as points out BestLifeOnline.com, they are completely sure that they will hear a positive answer.
And if their babysitter refuses, they become disappointed and might even never call them again.
Babysitters are also people, who have their own plans. So the expectation that a nanny doesn't have anything else to do over the weekend apart from watching your children is wrong.
It's a good idea to either pay more for unexpected calls on weekends, or find another nanny, who'll only work on Saturdays and Sundays.
21 Please, Don't Make My Job Harder
The job of a babysitter is a hard one in of itself. The nanny has to take care of someone else's kids, bathe them, play with them, tame their tantrums, make them eat the foods that are good for their health, and so on. Even if children are nice and manageable, it's still a challenging task to look after them. It's also a huge responsibility.
For this reason, all babysitters in the world would like to ask parents to try to avoid making their job harder than it is. Don't interfere in their work, unless it's absolutely necessary. Don't put spokes in the wheel, trust them, and let them do their job.
20 Your Kids Fight. They Really Do
Kids fight with their siblings. They do it in the presence of their parents, when they're alone, and when they're left with their babysitter. However, no nanny will describe to parents any details of their children's arguments.
"[The sisters I babysat] never physically fought. They just always argued," a nanny from Babble recalls. "Though they annoyed me to no end, I never said anything to the parents. I just figured that was how these girls communicated. As long as no one was in physical danger, I felt there was no reason to talk about it. Chances are they fought that much in front of their parents, too."
It's a wise approach, isn't it?
19 Babysitters Often Don't Get Fair Pay
Every single job has to be reasonably paid, as states Scary Mommy. It's a very simple truth, but it seems that few people understand it. When it comes to paying a babysitter, some parents think that $20 for the whole evening is totally fine. "My kids are so sweet, it should be a pleasure to babysit them!" they say. And, oh, how wrong they are!
Get this: the babysitter took care of kids for the whole evening (sometimes, even until late at night). They had to play with them, get them to eat dinner, bathe them, and put them to sleep. In between, they had to deal with everything these kids do, from tantrums to unwillingness to go to bed.
Place yourself in the shoes of your babysitter, think about it, and answer honestly: Would you be willing to do it all for only $20, being an adult person, who needs to put food on their table? There you go!
18 They See Things. A Lot Of Things
Don't forget that when you babysitter comes to take care of your kids, they stay at your home for quite a while and, well, they see everything you have there, as points out BestLifeOnline.com.
It helps them realize more things about you than you could ever guess.
They understand your status, your financial situation, and even your tastes from just regularly visiting your house and staying there for some time.
And, of course, you don't even want to know how often babysitters stumble upon some "unusual" things at work, from certain risky items left out in plain sight, to catching one of the parents doing something less-than-savory.
17 Breaking House Rules
At times, a babysitter absolutely has to break the rules of a family she works for, especially when there are too many of them, as Babble points out. After all, some parents have rules for everything: for mealtime, playtime, bedtime, and all times in between. It's impossible for a child to follow every single one of these rules every day, and it's so much fun break them sometimes!
Babysitters know it, but they don't tell parents anything about it.
"There's a certain tacit understanding between babysitter and kid that as long as no one gets hurt, it's okay to break a rule or two," a babysitter from Babble admits. "So what if you played hairdresser when you weren't supposed to or had an extra cookie at dinner? A babysitter is not a parent, so they don’t always have to be as strict with discipline and structure."
16 "I'm Just A Babysitter, Man!"
As we've already discussed, a babysitter isn't a therapist who has to hear out all the complaints from a parent about their partner, work, kids, or anything else. A babysitter is also not a professional cook, who has to prepare meals for your kids.
And they're certainly not your assistant or your servant and they don't have to run errands, clean up your house, or buy groceries, whenever you wish them too. Of course, if you need help with anything and ask nicely, a good babysitter will gladly assist you, but they won't do it all the time.
After all, the primary task of a babysitter is, obviously, babysitting. Nothing else.
15 Parents Shouldn't Let Their Kids Throw Tantrums All The Time
All kids throw tantrums from time to time. For toddlers, it's just a way to communicate their negative emotions. But, even though tantrums are natural, it doesn't mean that parents should reward them. If they do, they don't only spoil their child, but also place their babysitter in an utterly uncomfortable situation.
When the child sees their behavior isn't approved or even rewarded, they will behave in the same way with everyone else around, from their babysitter to their teacher and all other people they meet. They'll think that it's normal and, since a babysitter only spends limited hours with the child, there's little they can do to fix the situation.
In most cases, they just have to put up with all toddler's quirks and pray for their shift to end sooner.
14 These Less Than Savory Interviews
When parents are hiring a babysitter, they obviously want to find a person, who will take care of their kids in the best manner possible. They want to trust this person and make sure that everything will be fine. But some parents try too hard when interviewing a potential babysitter and make things much harder not only for the woman they might end up hiring but also for themselves.
Katie, a nanny in upstate New York, says that at times interviews for nanny jobs become really tough.
"[One family] kept quizzing me on how often I should feed the baby, then [correcting] me with their own answers," Katie recalls.
Some parents will even bring their whole family for the interview and make their potential babysitter respond to unanswerable questions.
13 Leaving Kids In Charge Is Demeaning
Who should be in charge: the baby or the adult? The obvious answer is, the adult should always be in charge.
But some parents don't understand this logic and, when they leave their child with a babysitter, they make sure that their kid gets a lead role.
In fact, belittling a babysitter in front of their child is the worst thing parents can do. Hilda, a babysitter from Nacogdoches, Texas, says that she once babysat a 5-year old girl. As her mom was leaving, a guy showed up, who had to repair a leaky faucet.
Surprisingly, the mom said that if he needed anything, he had to ask her daughter, not Hilda, a 26-year old adult. It made the girl think that she was in charge and she bossed Hilda around the whole time afterwards.
12 Dealing With Picky Eaters
Handling a picky eater is a complicated task not only for parents but also for the babysitter, who takes care of them.
The situation becomes especially had, when parents think that a babysitter has certain magical abilities, due to which they can always cook the food the child likes and, if they don't, the nanny can make them eat it anyway.
Now get this: a babysitter is not a professional cook, especially not one who finished a specialized culinary school where they were taught to cook for kids.
And if you can't make your child eat certain types of food, your babysitter will likely be unable to do it, too.
11 Bedtime Isn't As Strict As Parents Think
Many parents think that the nanny will follow their instructions with great precision. Among others, they're sure that the babysitter will get their babies to bed on time.
But, the thing is, it doesn't always happen.
As Babble points out, bedtime is a challenge even with the most well-behaved children, so the disobedient kids make it a real nightmare. It's also important to understand that no babysitter will be as effective as parents in getting kids to bed, especially if it's a new babysitter, who didn't have time to bond with the kids. And even if your nanny has known your kids for some time, putting them to sleep will probably remain one of the most stressful things to do.
10 Discussing The Hours Is Important
When parents decide to go on a date and want to hang out child-free for some time, it's totally fine for them to want to stay out late, but only if they keep their babysitter informed about the time they plan to come back.
After all, the nanny might be having personal plans for the night, and definitely wouldn't want to be stuck with your kids instead.
Parents usually don't realize how often babysitters are misinformed about when they are expected to be done on a particular evening.
"People will say they’re going to be back at 11 and come back at 1 without warning," says Katie. "That is a constant."
Even if you're ready to pay for extra hours, misleading a person who somehow depends on you is never a good thing to do.
9 Being A Helicopter Mom Isn't A Good Idea
Another thing that babysitters secretly hate about parents is the way some of them call all the time to check on their kids and ask what they are doing at the moment. It's possible to understand that they worry about their kids, because they left them with someone they don't really know.
But here's the catch: a babysitter knows how to deal with little children, so everything will be fine.
All these endless calls won't make things any better for parents and, especially for the babysitter, who is constantly distracted from the kids they're supposed to look after.
So if you leave your kids with a babysitter for a night, just leave them with a babysitter. Don't call every 5 minutes to see what's going on there. Let the professional do their job!
8 I Work To Pay My Tuition
Some people don't realize it, but there are nannies who don't only babysit because they want to, some of them have to, as Scary Mommy explains. They have their own families they need to take care of, they need to put food on their table and pay their bills or college tuition, or both.
They don't babysit just to have fun or to get some money to go to the movies or buy a new piece of clothing.
So even if you're lucky and your babysitter sincerely loves your children, then you should still let them take rest from babysitting from time to time. Don't call them up every weekend, or every evening. Trust me, they have other things to do, too! And, of course, give them fair pay for everything they do for your family (we'll talk more about it later).
7 Don't You Cancel On Me!
Life is life. It doesn't always run as smoothly as we'd like. Sometimes, unexpected things happen and we have to cancel some of our plans. But what usually happens, when we cancel our appointments at the last minute? If it's a doctor's appointment, a massage session, a plane flight, or anything else, we usually have to pay a fee for a last-minute cancellation.
But what do parents do in similar situations, when they have to cancel an evening with a babysitter? There are usually no fees and at times parents even forget to call and inform about the cancellation.
But this is so wrong - after all, just like a doctor, a babysitter could book another client for the same evening, if they know it beforehand.
Why is there no fine in the case of a babysitter?
6 A Babysitter Isn't Your Captive
Being protective of your kids is fine. It totally is. But making your babysitter do weird things that, as you think, might keep your kids safe, is a completely different thing.
For example, some parents make their babysitter stay in one and the same room during the whole time, forbidding them to go anywhere else under any circumstances. Needless to say, it's not the wisest decision a parent can make.
"I wasn't allowed to leave during my 10-hour shift and I couldn't leave the master suite all day," Katie recalls her most unpleasant employment experience. "If the baby needed a bottle, I couldn't even go into the kitchen."
5 Testing Their Honesty
Some parents don't trust their babysitter 100%. But others don't trust them at all.
The degree of their distrust might go as far as installing a surveillance system at home or constantly leaving expensive jewelry items here and there to "test their honesty" and see if they take it.
Do I really have to explain that this kind of behavior is unacceptable? For one, it's actually illegal to record someone's video or audio, when it's done without their knowledge.
Secondly, it shows complete disrespect to the babysitter. I mean, why would parents even hire a person they distrust so much? Maybe, in this case, it's better to find another babysitter or do without one, at all?
4 Don't Get Too Personal
It seems that some parents misunderstand the role of a babysitter and think of them as of their assistant, or, in some cases, their therapist.
"People I've only babysat for a couple of times will say, 'Can you believe my husband?' and spill [private] details about their relationship," says Katie, warning parents from getting too personal with their babysitter, especially if they don't really know each other very well.
Of course, it's possible to understand that unloading your baggage at someone you see at home every now and then is a good idea, but your babysitter isn't the best person for this role. After all, they're a nanny for your kids, not for you.
3 Your Baby Cried... A Lot
Kids, especially little ones, cry from time to time, as Babble explains. They cry when they don't get something they want and when they get into an unfamiliar situation they don't understand. The arrival of a babysitter they meet for the first time is certainly one of these situations.
It's understandable. After all, they don't know this person and suddenly they're left alone with them, without mommy, daddy, or whoever else they're used to being with.
Will the babysitter tell parents that their baby cried in this situation? No, she won't, because parents don't have to know it. After all, as soon as the baby's used to seeing their nanny regularly, they'll cry less and less.
2 Some Parents Have Weird Ideas About Parenting
Every single parent is free to choose the parenting method they like to raise their kids and no one should blame them for any choice they make. But sometimes, the parenting approaches they select are downright weird. And the worst thing is their babysitter usually has to comply with this approach and follow the instructions, however strange or wrong they are.
For example, Katie recalls a New York-based couple, who thought that cool weather was extremely bad for their kid. They didn't even let her take the child outside, if it was under 65 degrees out, making it nearly impossible for the kid to get their daily share of exercise. But, of course, a nanny would never teach parents how to parent.
1 A Little Kindness Makes All The Difference
All parents teach their kids to say "please" and "thank you". But some of them forget that teaching by example is the most effective strategy in parenting. If you say "please" and "thank you" to everyone around you, your child will see that it's the way to behave they should follow, as well. And if you only teach them to be polite, but often say rude things to others, they will learn that it's okay to be impolite and you'll never get them to say "please" or "thank you".
So make sure to be polite with your babysitter. This way, you'll do two things at once: you'll teach politeness to your children and you'll show respect to the person who looks after your kids when you're away. You babysitter deserves it, believe me.