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Dear High School Babysitter - Page 5

post #81 of 117
Our sitter rocks. Actually, rocked. She started when she was 13 and she's now 18 and too busy for sitting.

But we don't expect anything from her other than playing with DS. She's super cool and way into reading to him and dancing to music with him (we all like similar music) and watching movies with him. DS gets complete say in whether we keep a sitter or not and he can't get enough of her. There's been two others that were great but tried to parent him (get him to bed etc) rather than be a friend so after a few sitting gigs he asked us to not have them back and we listened.

We pay $10/hr and pick up movies (or she can grab one from home), her fave snacks and drinks and leave money for her to order in dinner for the two of them. DS can head to bed when he feels he's tired and after that we don't care what she does with her time. Mostly she reads, checks out our ever growing record collection and talks on her cell.

We're very clear with our sitters that we don't want them parenting. They're there to hang with DS cause he's not old enough to hang by himself. They're to take their cues from him and he has no bedtimes or food restrictions. We don't expect them to clean up and really there's never anything to clean up except a book or two in his room which is his domain to clean as he sees fit.

If I had to do the whole teen years again I'd be our sitter, that's how strong and independent and creative and just plain kick ass she is.

I would just be much more specific and up the pay to reflect the cleaning duties if I felt as you do.
post #82 of 117
I think the problems lies with the fact you didn't communicate what your expectations were of her as a "babysitter". Especially since when you agreed to pay her $9/hr you probably had it in mind that she would be doing some housekeeping. Now you're in the awkward situation of having to either tell her you want her to clean the house, pay her less, or have things continue the way they are at your expense.

That said, I think it's perfectly acceptable if the toys are picked up when you leave to ask her to make sure they're picked up when you get home.

I think as far as the problems go with her actual babysitting, you should speak up. Let her know you don't want the kids calling you every 5 min for nothing. Or hit the ignore button on the kids calls. The sitter can/will call you in case of emergency. Ask why the kids aren't in bed. Did she put forth a real effort to get them to bed on time? Let her know that's important and part of what you're paying her for. Did she really try and this is a discipline issue you have to deal with yourself?

Good luck resolving this to your satisfaction.
post #83 of 117
There was just a very interesting episode of The Infinite Mind playing as I cooked dinner. The episode was called Childhood's End, and it talked about several aspects of the blurring of the lines between childhood and adulthood. While children today do enter into puberty earlier than their grandparents did, they said, maturity and judgment lag behind.

One person interviewed talked about a time his 13-year-old son was sleeping over at a friend's house. They decided it would be fun to slip out a window at 2 in the morning, run to a girlfriend's house, and see if they could get her to come out. When they tossed pebbles at her window, it tripped the alarm and the police arrived on the scene. Of course, the boys turned tail and ran . . . a reaction that could have landed them in an ER, or a morgue.

This is from the description of the episode found on the NPR website:

". . . [teens] often lack fine tuning in their sense of judgment." Dr. Steinberg's research shows that adolescents facing tough decisions in experimental settings don't give much weight to the long-term consequences of their actions. He finds a troubling discrepancy between some of the rules that society imposes on teens, especially as they relate to juvenile justice. In some states, a 13-year-old can be tried as an adult for a capital offense, but can't vote. If we don't think he's responsible enough to vote, asks Dr. Steinberg, is it reasonable to hold him to adult standards of legal responsibility?

So if they are generally considered not responsible enough to vote, and not grown enough to be held to 'adult standards of legal responsibility', how can we expect them to be responsible enough to be in charge of our helpless little ones?

It boggles my mind that grown men, at least in my neck of the woods, are the ones with paper routes and our most inexperienced work force are given the massive responsibility of keeping our kids alive while we go out to dinner. :
post #84 of 117
You know, I was a really good babysitter when I was a teen (starting at 12 and through college, for lots of different families), and because I put so much effort into it (we didn't watch TV, we ran around outside, we did interesting indoor projects and played games and read books), that once the kids were in bed, I was TIRED. THEN I might watch TV, or just chill and have a snack. Maybe she is just chilling after being a good sitter - and the calling you could be part of that, too. Maybe she is just being careful and doesn't want to do anything wrong.

Especially when you don't do it all the time, too, just things like giving kids a bath might seem a little daunting.

My mom tells me that when my sister and I were little, a favorite babysitter of ours always left the house in shambles, but she didn't mind because she knew we were in good hands and happy .

Good luck working things out! Just adding my two cents to a lot of people's that their might be different interpretations of her behavior.
post #85 of 117
My sitter comes only when my DD is sleeping.

I pay her $10 an hour to sit on my sofa and watch TV.

Somedays I know she has had to politely nudge toys out of her path to get to the sofa. I would never expect or ask her to clean them up. I hired her as a sitter not a houskeeper.

On the other hand, in college, a friend and I would sit for a woman who was a horrible housekeeper. We always tried to help her out and clean up a bit more when we went there (did all the dishes in the sink, mopped up old spills from before we got there, picked up very obvious messes) bc she, the mom, always seemed so overwhelmed. She was always so appreciative and now as a mom I understand why.

Maggie
post #86 of 117
I agree that a babysitter should put the house back the way she found it and do the dishes from any meals, or at least get stuff neatly in the sink.
post #87 of 117
Been thinking about this thread over the weekend, and talked to my kids about parents' expectations since they both babysit. They both sit for the same general group of people, and the expectations tend to be play with the kids, feed them if needed, put them to bed if/when needed.

Other than that, they both have very different styles, but are equally popular with the kids. My daughter does a lot of hands-on playing, games, etc. She will bathe the kids if needed, and once they're in bed straightens up - because she enjoys doing so. My son brings his guitar and plays/sings with the kids, does more sporty things (plays catch, football, water balloons, etc), reads to them. He will not bathe the kids under any circumstances as he feels it could put him in a bad situation (if there's no other choice, he'll call me or his sister to come over). Once they're in bed, he plays guitar, reads, or cooks something for the parents to stash for another day. Yes, he always asks if there are specific plans for whatever is in the fridge. He's an excellent cook, and the parents always appreciate it. And he cleans up the kitchen after himself.
post #88 of 117
mitger...tell me you live near here.
post #89 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmlp View Post
Again, there is another perspective. It is not obvious to me that a babysitter's job description includes cleaning (even if the kids are asleep). A secretary cannot be asked to get coffee for her boss as part of her job (at least where I come from, she can't!). A nurse is supposed to be a nurse, not a cleaner or an orderly.
I was with you until this quote. I was a nurse. If something needed cleaning, we cleaned. If someone needing moving, we moved them. If someone was hungry, we heated up food and fed them. I mopped floors, changed sheets, cleaned bathrooms, and birth tubs for patients all. the. time. (I worked for a while in a hospital with one birth tub and no housekeeper after 11 pm; if a mama wanted a water birth, and it was dirty, it wasn't fair to not let her have that birth).

Part of learning to work is learning that there are lots of pieces of your job that aren't spelled out. When I was WOH, the people I worked with that had the attitude "it's not in my job description" drove me flippin' insane.
post #90 of 117
Why would one assume it was ok to sit around justr because the kids were in bed? I have a job that pays less than what a lot of you are paying for babysitting. i take care of customers. it is hard, exhausting, physical labor. far mroe draining than taking care a few kids. about 3/4 of the way in to my shift it slows down a lot. That doesn't mean I can head up to the break room and collapse until the end of my shift. They are paying me to work. and if expect to get paid I better find some work to do. And if I am done with my primary responsibility work means cleaning (regardless of employer this has always been the case) until my shift it over. Why would less be expected of a babysitter? especially one making such good money! Part of taking care of kids is taking care of their home.
post #91 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyS View Post
I was with you until this quote. I was a nurse. If something needed cleaning, we cleaned. If someone needing moving, we moved them. If someone was hungry, we heated up food and fed them. I mopped floors, changed sheets, cleaned bathrooms, and birth tubs for patients all. the. time. (I worked for a while in a hospital with one birth tub and no housekeeper after 11 pm; if a mama wanted a water birth, and it was dirty, it wasn't fair to not let her have that birth).

Part of learning to work is learning that there are lots of pieces of your job that aren't spelled out. When I was WOH, the people I worked with that had the attitude "it's not in my job description" drove me flippin' insane.

I agree with you Betsy, I am a nurse and I did pretty much everything when I worked, and the "it's not in my job description" attitude drove me nuts as well.

But I think with a teen babysitter, they may not even be aware that things need doing. They need a bit of "on the job training" and a clear description of expectations. I was pretty clueless at that age myself, although a good decade in the working world changed that.
post #92 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by chfriend View Post
mitger...tell me you live near here.
Where's here? But I suspect not.
post #93 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
Why would one assume it was ok to sit around justr because the kids were in bed? I have a job that pays less than what a lot of you are paying for babysitting. i take care of customers. it is hard, exhausting, physical labor. far mroe draining than taking care a few kids. about 3/4 of the way in to my shift it slows down a lot. That doesn't mean I can head up to the break room and collapse until the end of my shift. They are paying me to work. and if expect to get paid I better find some work to do. And if I am done with my primary responsibility work means cleaning (regardless of employer this has always been the case) until my shift it over. Why would less be expected of a babysitter? especially one making such good money! Part of taking care of kids is taking care of their home.


Sorry, but part of taking care of the kids is NOT taking care of their home unless it's specified. We're talking about teens, not grown adults.
post #94 of 117
a tidy sanitary house is part of keeping them safe. but i do think that people ned to be very clear about what they expect of their employees. sitters or otherwise.
post #95 of 117
I think if you expect them to clean or do laundry/dishes you should state that in the beginning. For me--I'm just glad to be able to get a way for a few hours but it certainly is nice and an added bonus to come home to a clean living room or kitchen. That being said, when I was a teen I babysat from ages 12-16 and always enjoyed tidying any mess, putting dishes in the dishwasher and just making sure things looked nice when the parents came home. (I never did their laundry or started their dishwasher, though, until later when I was hired by someone to do just that).
post #96 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
They are paying me to work. and if expect to get paid I better find some work to do. And if I am done with my primary responsibility work means cleaning (regardless of employer this has always been the case) until my shift it over. Why would less be expected of a babysitter? especially one making such good money! Part of taking care of kids is taking care of their home.
I am paying my sitter to take care of problems if they arise. If there are no problems then there's no work for her. I don't expect my sitter to do busy work - when I was in the workforce there was nothing more insulting.

Before having DS I worked full time in homeless shelters. When I worked overnights my job was to be there for the clients if they needed anything. If they slept I had no work other than making sure the house was secure and answering the crisis line. Often I slept on the couch in the common room.

I don't see my sitter's job as different than the one I had. She's there to interact with DS while he's awake and then to be on hand if he wakes and needs anything or to handle anything that comes up while BF and I are out of the house.

If I need my house cleaned by anyone other than me I'll hire someone to do that job. House cleaners here get paid more than sitters so I wouldn't take advantage of my sitter that way.
post #97 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicole lisa View Post
I am paying my sitter to take care of problems if they arise. If there are no problems then there's no work for her. I don't expect my sitter to do busy work - when I was in the workforce there was nothing more insulting.

Before having DS I worked full time in homeless shelters. When I worked overnights my job was to be there for the clients if they needed anything. If they slept I had no work other than making sure the house was secure and answering the crisis line. Often I slept on the couch in the common room.

I don't see my sitter's job as different than the one I had. She's there to interact with DS while he's awake and then to be on hand if he wakes and needs anything or to handle anything that comes up while BF and I are out of the house.

If I need my house cleaned by anyone other than me I'll hire someone to do that job. House cleaners here get paid more than sitters so I wouldn't take advantage of my sitter that way.
I totally agree with this.
post #98 of 117
I was usually so busy playing with the kids that I didn't do much cleaning. I only called a parent once other than when a blizzard started while I was baby sitting and I was wondering if they were going to make it home. That one time was when I couldn't make the can opener work. I would do bath time, but that didn't happen often.

Usually after bed time, I would pick up the mess in the kitchen and then study. Most families I baby sat for many times. I wish I could still take care of some of those kids, but a lot of them don't need muck or any help.
post #99 of 117
My mom was a pretty messy housekeeper. I rememeber a babysiter once doing the dishes. It embarassed the hell out of my mom. I never would clean someone elses house unless I was close enough to them that I know they wouldn't mind. People get embarassed and defensive about that kinda thing.

Yes, babysitters should leave the house as they found it (and dishes they used should at least be in least in the sink if not washed), but if more is wanted, it needs to be spelled out. It never would have occured to me to do laundry when I babysat . . .
post #100 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post
I have poignant memories of babysitting for a particular family where the boy (age 8 or 9) chased me around with a knife, and the 18 mo. baby WOULD. NOT. STOP. CRYING!

Babysitting is harder than it looks.
OMG! Did we babysit for the same friggin' family?!? I was chased out of the house by the boy (8 or 9) with a HUGE kitchen knife. It was so scary and I really had no idea what to do... It wasn't my town or anything and this was way before cell phones. Yikes! He finally calmed down, went back into the house and started playing with something else...and I hid all of the knives. At 13 yo, I was not equipped to talk or wrestle a knife out of the hands of a psycho kid! Even after the Red Cross certification course...

When the parents got home...boy started crying and told them I had tripped him and tried to hit him. The mom screamed at me, saying that no one was allowed to hit her kids except her. OMG. I was never so relieved to get home to my own wacky parents...
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