What to Expect When You're Expecting a Babysitter
If you're a parent who likes to have some semblance of a life, you are probably familiar with the problem of either taking your kids with you to every activity OR finding yourself someone to watch them while you (and preferably your man) get out of the house for a little bit.
But that is without a doubt easier than it sounds! Because finding someone to trust with your kids is not a simple thing, mamas! The last thing you want is to settle for a chick who will let your dog run loose in the neighborhood, your toddler to call 911 repeatedly, and your baby to take off a dirty diaper and start finger painting. No. Thanks. But it does pay to be choosy. And remember that who you choose might expect you to pay.
First things first, let's talk about how much we pay our babysitters. Back in the day, I would've been grateful for a 10 spot and a KitKat, but times have changed, and now you can probably expect the sweet 13-year-old that you ask to babysit to give you their hourly rate...and then you might faint because it ain't cheap mama. My advice? Don't ask them how much they charge! I made this mistake with my first sitter when we moved to a new city, and changed my method real quickly. Simply ask if they would like to babysit, and if they accept, then you pay them what your family can reasonably afford. That way the sitter can either chalk it up to a great experience that was worth the cash, or she'll decline when you offer again. So far, this has worked really well for our family! One of our Cubby Moms had the idea of letting a sitter know what she expects to have happen while the babysitter is over, and even hanging something on the fridge with a list of to-dos that she could do while babysitting--the more she gets done, the more she'll get for her time. I also have a friend who explains to her sitters that if they want to watch TV and make sure the kids don't die, they get a typical babysitter's pay, but if they act as a "mother's helper" and play with the kids, cook, clean, etc., they will be paid more and she's willing to be a reference for future jobs. Every family has a different way of doing things, so their idea of what they need from a sitter will change a little, but overall there are some universal things that pretty much every couple will tell you they expect to have happen at home when they head out for date night. So whether you're looking to get back in the dating game and need an idea of what you can expect from a sitter, or you have the dating part down but are switching up babysitters, here's a general idea of what I think a family can reasonably expect from their babysitter:
Now I might be wrong, but I'm pretty sure every parent knows that leaving their child without something to nibble on for like 15 minutes is basically impossible. So no matter what time you have someone coming over to babysit, whether it's in the AM or the PM, making sure that your kids are fed is a must!
Having things on hand for your sitter to make a simple meal for your kids is not out of the question, but don't get crazy. I once babysat (and I do mean ONCE) for a family that expected me to make mac'n'cheese from scratch starting with a bechamel sauce at 12... Yeah, don't do that to your sitter. Do something easy--order a pizza, have hot dogs or ingredients to make quesadillas, have a box of mac ready for your babysitter to put together, etc. Just make it something that you know doesn't take a lot of time or a lot of effort, and your kids will most likely eat it. No promises though. If your kids are anything like mine, you'll probably need about three days worth of snacks available to them while you're gone because apparently they want the world to think we don't feed them. SO... my advice? Fill up a Skip Hop Grab & Go Baby Food Storage Tower for each of your kids before you go-- have them help you choose what snacks they want to go inside, and let them know that those are the ONLY snacks they will get while the sitter is over so you know she won't have fed your kids anything but goldfish and thin mints all night.
Some kids need a little nudge in the sleep direction, so giving your sitter the details on the Wink Naturals Zen Melts before you head out is a great idea! These melting tabs are amazing for kids who have a hard time falling asleep-- they are a natural blend that helps them to feel sleepy and get a restful sleep, which can be hard when their routine is thrown off with a sitter. But with that said, even if you have a tough sleeper, it is not out of the question to expect your babysitter to get your kids changed into jammies and put to bed! Even more so, if your kids are good sleepers or old enough to know when it's time to head to bed. If you know that your little one will need a little extra cuddles without you there, you can make sure that they have a super soft Saranoni Luxury Mini Blanket to snuggle with at bedtime to remind them that mama and daddy will be home soon. You can also make sure that they have something to keep them from getting scared like the Skip Hop Moonlight & Melodies Nightlight Soother - Elephant that works as a nightlight and noise maker in one.
So when it comes to playing with the kids, I think it's important to let our sitters know that they should be interacting with the kids. We usually will set up a movie or a show that the kids like, and have some toys like the Fat Brain Toys - Squigz Deluxe Set already out when they come over to help them get comfortable playing together. I don't ever expect sitters to do more playing with my kids than I do, but if I hear that my kids had the best time because they made a pillow fort and played dress up, then that's amazing!