Baby sitter issue - nice art supplies ruined, help me put it in perspective - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 80 Old 06-21-2011, 12:35 AM
 
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You have gotten lots of good replies already.  I think it may be helpful to acknowledge to the sitters that your daughter likes to create her own version of your rules, and give a general idea of how they should deal with it.  

As a nanny, I don't argue about what mom or dad allow, I just let them know what I am okay with (which is a step less lenient than what I would guess the parents would allow) It usually goes something like this: "Wow that is so fun your mom lets you eat as much chocolate as you want!  While I am here you can have some yogurt with honey for dessert"  or I tell them that I need their parent to tell me directly that something is okay and I will ask about it for next time.  

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#62 of 80 Old 06-21-2011, 07:43 AM
 
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Im an adult as well. I've done daycare, babysat and nannied overnight for kids.  Honestly, you are getting upset over the little things.  If *I* saw those little bottles of paint, even today, I probably wouldn't know what they were really for and if the kid wanted to use them, that's what we would do.  As a babysitter its MY JOB to keep the kids happy and safe.  Unless you tell me directly - no painting- then there is a chance we will paint.  Many many kids use one brush for all colors of paint, sometimes rinsing the brush in a cup of water.  I don't always give a play-by-play to the parents of what we exactly did for the hours they were gone.

I figure they are going to check the laundry either that night or the next morning.

I figure if the kids are dirty, they get a bath.

 

IMO the whole point of a sitter is for everyone to have fun.  The parents go out and have fun, the kids stay home and do something different and have fun.  Also, you need to remember that things happen differently while you are gone and the sitter needs to accommodate as she goes along.  So even though you may say 'no bath' that kid could end up covered in craft material, or covered in juice, or covered in dirt from playing outside and a bath is needed.  I'm sorry but I'm not putting a kid to bed who has juice in her hair, dirt on her legs and feet and paste up her arms.  Its just not going to happen, no matter what mom said- that kid is getting a bath!

 

 


Agreed! I was a nanny for years, too. Unless a parent says please don't touch x, y, or z, I assume that paint in view and described to me by the child as 'her special paint' is totally game. I might even assume that since it is her special stuff (not her sister's?) that she can glob it all over the place and use the brushes as she likes.

Also, unless told a child has some special outfit on, I assume that if it is on a child, it will get stained. And that will be OK, you know....how else do you know they had fun?! I guess I would try to keep the kids tidy within reason, but I would never sweat it if they got paint on the sleeves or mud on the knees. Nor would it have occurred to me to mention his to the parents.

Now, as a Waldorf homeschooler, I just happen to know what Stockmar paint is, but I'd never heard of it before our Waldorf journey began. I certainly would never have just guessed that they were special or needed special treatment.

I think that you have the responsibility to make clear what you expect. It can be uncomfortable to say something firmly "please do not bathe the children this evening", "please text us to ask before you start an activity using art supplies", "please do not go upstairs....their PJs are on the arm of the sofa", "please don't let the kids have any apples, I need them for a recipe tomorrow"; but if you have very specific requirements that no-one reasonably could guess, you should spell them out both for your comfort and the sitter's.
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#63 of 80 Old 06-21-2011, 03:42 PM
 
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I think I would have a hard time trusting their judgements. I can see that if your DD was saying those were hers then they would think it's okay. But I am the kind of person who would have pulled out the crafts down on kid level and said let's ask Mom about the special paints for next time. Their location on a shelf with other adult items would have tipped me off. But I tend to be very cautious about other people's belongings.

Also, I think one of them should have thought of rinsing the clothes or at least mentioning the stains.

I can see your annoyance but since you generally like them it might be worth one more shot, with a lot of clarification.

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#64 of 80 Old 06-21-2011, 04:04 PM
 
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I agree with the PP's that this sounds like a communication issue. It sounds to me like the babysitter is trying to do a really good job by doing crafts, and bathing the kids. I did a lot of babysitting when I was younger and I felt like to do a "good job" I had to be engaging and entertain the kids every second. So baths were nice because they helped fill the time:) Like other people said, I'd be very specific about what you do and do not want to happen. And give the sitter some ideas like "I set out coloring books and crayons" or whatever it is. She'll probably appreciate having some guidance especially if she isn't very experienced.

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#65 of 80 Old 06-21-2011, 04:06 PM
 
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Ouch, ruined stockmar paints. That would annoy me too.

 

But...they were in a craft area in view of a teen. I assume it was innocent. She used the things in view to entertain your kids.

 

 It is okay to have things arranged the way you want and the way kids understand (i.e. I can't touch things on that shelf) but when you have a childcare provider you need to make it more obvious and explicit what can and cannot be done and what can and cannot be played with. So, you need to either have things that aren't "available" put away so they don't look available or clearly express what is available or not, i.e. no art projects without discussion etc.

 

I've always kept the stockmar paints away from the art area for this reason but I did loose a lot of good watercolor paper to scribbles because our nanny didn't know what it was. My mistake. Too me, it looked to "good/special" for someone to mistake it as regular scribble paper. Again, my mistake.

 

Again, honest mistake and an easy one for someone to make. I'd consider rearranging your supplies so the expensive goodies are hidden and be much more explicit with what can and cannot be done while you are gone.

 

As for the clothes, I would ask them to cover anything that gets really messy with water or if there isn't time to point out any potential stains to you so you can treat them before they set. But as for getting stains/paint on their clothes, that is normal childhood play.

 

As for the bath, your first statement was unclear. You didn't say yes or no so they did, and you didn't follow up about it. If you don't want them bathed, say so.

 

Are you fairly new to having babysitters, etc? It sounds like this might be part of the learning curve for you and them.

 

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#66 of 80 Old 06-21-2011, 04:24 PM
 
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I get where you're coming from - but I just wanted to throw this out there.  If I had babysat at 15 or even if I were over at someone's house now (as a mom with two kids), if I saw paints out in plain view and the kids expressed an interest in painting, I would have let them.  I don't know anything about the type of paint you mentioned (or anything about any art supplies except Crayola, really!).  If the kids had paint on their shirts, I would have put them in the bathroom sink to soak and thought no more about it.  It wouldn't have crossed my radar that the kids left the brushes in the paints or mixed them, either ---- but I'm not a serious art person.  

 

Also, if you hadn't said _not_ to bathe them, I would have likely bathed them as well; I would have thought I was doing something nice for you, particularly if we are good enough friends that you wouldn't have minded if your kids were naked around me.

 

In fact, not only would I have done all of this, but I would have been happy with myself for playing with/doing art with the kids and actively engaging them & giving them a fun evening while you were out, and then having them ready for bed when you came home.

 

Be gentle with the mom/daughter - if I were in their shoes, I would have absolutely no idea that I had done anything amiss.

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#67 of 80 Old 06-21-2011, 04:36 PM
 
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As an aside:  It sounds like your daughter, at least, is telling you:  "Quit decorating (i.e., teasing me) with the best art/craft supplies.  If I can see them/know they're there, I want to USE them!" and "I want to be more free and exploratory with how I use art materials."  In other words, it sounds like - when given the opportunity - she is repeatedly eager to get into the things you don't normally let her use; and also to delve into millions of stickers and mixing colors without authorization...

 

 



I had a similar moment of inspiration a few weeks ago looking at an amazing drawing/watercolor DS made at preschool. It was so much better, more vivid that what we did at home with our special paint. And I realized I was so careful about the rituation of the good stockmar paints and the wet on wet watercolor ritual and all that I was making the experience of watercolors less enjoyable than they could be. I've actually put them aside until I grow up enough to use them. In the meantime, I ordered some less expensive pre-mixed watercolor paints to give him the freedom he needs at this time.

 

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#68 of 80 Old 06-25-2011, 09:59 AM
 
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The bath thing would bother me a lot, unless she said the kids got so dirty that a bath was really, super necessary.  We also don't bathe my kids every night, and I would feel weird about another adult bathing my kids unless it was really super necessary.

 

The paint thing would annoy me, but I don't really blame the babysitter for it.  It's hard to know what other families find acceptable and not acceptable as far as what kids are allowed to use.


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#69 of 80 Old 06-25-2011, 05:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hopefulfaith View Post

 

Also, if you hadn't said _not_ to bathe them, I would have likely bathed them as well; I would have thought I was doing something nice for you, particularly if we are good enough friends that you wouldn't have minded if your kids were naked around me.

 

 

For me, when I babysat, I always tried to engage in projects that caused the least amount of "damage" - Something like paint would have been a nono for me, if only because of clothing/carpet issues that could happen. I didn't want to have a dry cleaner or Stanley Steemer on speed dial, and I was always careful to be respectful of the fact I was in An Adult's Home And Was Trusted. Made me cautious.

 

Having said THAT, if you're leaving your child (who you know tends to challenge rules when unfamiliar adults are around, thus creating more opportunity for havoc) in super-good-awesome clothing, well...what happens happens. The clothing could just as easily have been stained by spilled food or drink, mud or grass from playing outside, or marker smears from a more-innocent art project. You also said the duo who sits for you is lower-income. They may not have thought to Spray'n'Wash the stained clothing simply because that's a product they don't use in their own household. Same goes for the use of the art supplies - if it's swanky, special-use, special-directions stuff...well, a little kid probably won't explain that clearly, and if the sitter isn't familiar with it and kiddo is saying "go ahead! fun!"...well, the sitter might be compelled to roll with it.

 

The part that gets me, though - and this is colored through my own life experience, as well as where I work currently - is the bath. If there was even a squiggle of a doubt in my mind about whether or not the parents wanted me to remove a child's clothing and help them or watch them wash themselves, I absolutely would NOT do it. If the kid was particularly dirty, I'd do a wipedown, or, call the parents to find out if a bath was acceptable (ie, get permission) but no way was I going to deliberately run a bath, strip a kid, and chuck them in. Nudity and how parents handle bathing (for me) goes well beyond "oh, don't use the Fels Naptha on my kids, it dries them out." You might not have been crystal clear, but there was enough of a "no" in there that, because we're dealing with someone else's kids, should cause a reasonable sitter to err on the side of caution in terms of touching and nakedness. Again, just my highly-colored-perspective.


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#70 of 80 Old 06-25-2011, 05:56 PM
 
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The part that gets me, though - and this is colored through my own life experience, as well as where I work currently - is the bath. If there was even a squiggle of a doubt in my mind about whether or not the parents wanted me to remove a child's clothing and help them or watch them wash themselves, I absolutely would NOT do it. If the kid was particularly dirty, I'd do a wipedown, or, call the parents to find out if a bath was acceptable (ie, get permission) but no way was I going to deliberately run a bath, strip a kid, and chuck them in. Nudity and how parents handle bathing (for me) goes well beyond "oh, don't use the Fels Naptha on my kids, it dries them out." You might not have been crystal clear, but there was enough of a "no" in there that, because we're dealing with someone else's kids, should cause a reasonable sitter to err on the side of caution in terms of touching and nakedness. Again, just my highly-colored-perspective.

I agree with this.  I mean, I have watched other people's kid's before and had to change a diaper, but bathing just seems so different than changing a diaper.   Especially for the older child who I assume was out of diapers and pottying independently (or at least mostly independently).   I would not bathe a kid unless explicitely instructed to do so, and even then I would be hesitant. I would think most normal kid messes could be cleaned up with just washing hands/face/arms, maybe running feet/legs under the bathtub.  But a total, strip-down naked bath (unless you are talking an infant who smeared food all over their hair or something like that) is something I wouldn't feel comfortable with (as a sitter).  I would think that sitters and a dealing with a child's nudity should be kept to only what is necessary for the child's care (ie. changing diapers, or a poop incident or maybe a major food mess), but not a bath "just because"


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#71 of 80 Old 06-25-2011, 06:09 PM
 
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The bath thing would bother me a lot, unless she said the kids got so dirty that a bath was really, super necessary.  We also don't bathe my kids every night, and I would feel weird about another adult bathing my kids unless it was really super necessary.

 

The paint thing would annoy me, but I don't really blame the babysitter for it.  It's hard to know what other families find acceptable and not acceptable as far as what kids are allowed to use.


 

 

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The part that gets me, though - and this is colored through my own life experience, as well as where I work currently - is the bath. If there was even a squiggle of a doubt in my mind about whether or not the parents wanted me to remove a child's clothing and help them or watch them wash themselves, I absolutely would NOT do it. If the kid was particularly dirty, I'd do a wipedown, or, call the parents to find out if a bath was acceptable (ie, get permission) but no way was I going to deliberately run a bath, strip a kid, and chuck them in. Nudity and how parents handle bathing (for me) goes well beyond "oh, don't use the Fels Naptha on my kids, it dries them out." You might not have been crystal clear, but there was enough of a "no" in there that, because we're dealing with someone else's kids, should cause a reasonable sitter to err on the side of caution in terms of touching and nakedness. Again, just my highly-colored-perspective.



I have to say I'm really perplexed by this POV, I used to give kids baths when I babysat as a teenager all the time.  It really wasn't a big deal, and it has never even occurred to me to be concerned about our sitter chucking our kids in the tub after she gives them dinner.  Then again, my kids are really active and are often pretty messy eaters, so baths after dinner and right before bed are part of the regular bedtime ritual we have for them since they were toddlers.  I've actually appreciated having our sitter take over for us when she comes over to watch the kids at night, it frees up time for us to get ready and get out the door.  I also have lots of friends who do the same with their sitters, and I can see why the average babysitter may never stop to think that a parent would have a problem with such a thing, especially if the alternative is putting a dirty/messy kid to bed that night.  I will also add that we have a great babysitter (she's 17) who is super responsible and who my kids absolutely adore, so we all feel really comfortable with her and trust her completely with the kids.

 

You haven't indicated that your kids had anything other than an enjoyable and safe encounter with the babysitter in question, and I really think it's safe to assume that you had some miscommunication problems that were perfectly innocent.  I happen to believe that it's best to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume the best of them as long as I don't feel any other reason to doubt their sincerity or their character, and especially when it comes to caregivers for my kids I prefer to focus on the relationship the caregiver has with them.  If your kids seem to enjoy their time with this sitter and have a positive and friendly relationship with her I really don't think this misunderstanding is worth firing her over.  I think the best approach would be to sit down with her and talk to her in person about what your expectations are and whatever house rules you may have (it couldn't hurt to even write them down for her so she has them to refer back to in the future, I did this with my MIL the first few times she babysat for us and it really worked well.)  Talk to her about the bath thing if it really is a deal breaker for you, make sure she wasn't just trying to get your kids cleaned up prior to bedtime.  And if there is stuff you don't want her utilizing with the kids when she is over than just make it disappear so that isn't a problem to begin with.

 

Good luck.

 


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#72 of 80 Old 06-26-2011, 04:22 AM
 
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I have to say I'm really perplexed by this POV, I used to give kids baths when I babysat as a teenager all the time.  It really wasn't a big deal, and it has never even occurred to me to be concerned about our sitter chucking our kids in the tub after she gives them dinner.  Then again, my kids are really active and are often pretty messy eaters, so baths after dinner and right before bed are part of the regular bedtime ritual we have for them since they were toddlers.  I've actually appreciated having our sitter take over for us when she comes over to watch the kids at night, it frees up time for us to get ready and get out the door.  I also have lots of friends who do the same with their sitters, and I can see why the average babysitter may never stop to think that a parent would have a problem with such a thing, especially if the alternative is putting a dirty/messy kid to bed that night.  I will also add that we have a great babysitter (she's 17) who is super responsible and who my kids absolutely adore, so we all feel really comfortable with her and trust her completely with the kids.

 

 


I'm not saying put the kids to bed filthy-dirty. Even in my post, I advocated a wipedown - meaning, hands, arms, legs, feet - things that don't require a full strip-off. I am, however, saying that for me personally, I err on the side of caution as far as it comes to nudity and other peoples' children. Also, per the bolded in your post, you have a great, trustworthy babysitter who is responsible and who you feel comfortable with. Bathing is also part of your bedtime ritual (on what sounds like a daily basis) - for you, the bathing is part of your household's norm, and you have a mature person watching your kids, and apparently, some sort of understanding that bathing is expected. It sounds like it would be more-odd to NOT bathe your kids as a sitter. For the OP, it sounds like there's already some responsibility and trust issues beyond what I pointed out - which is that, for me only, I would not bathe another adult's children unless explicitly instructed to do so.

 

I realize my POV perplexes you - I will offer my explanation as, not everyone has positive experiences as children with nudity, "bath time", and people who are supposed to be caregivers. Hence my caution and squicky-feelings.

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#73 of 80 Old 06-26-2011, 08:06 AM
 
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I realize my POV perplexes you - I will offer my explanation as, not everyone has positive experiences as children with nudity, "bath time", and people who are supposed to be caregivers. Hence my caution and squicky-feelings.


I can certainly understand if this is where you are coming from, except the OP never mentioned that she had any sort of previous negative associations with bathing that heightened her own concern wrt her kids.  Like I said, I try to assume the best of people as long as I have no other reason to doubt them or their worthiness as a caregiver for my kid.  When someone is working for you I think this means that you try to remain positive, non-judgmental or overly critical, because that will likely undermine the caregiver's confidence and their relationship with the kids for whom they will be responsible in your absence. 


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#74 of 80 Old 06-26-2011, 11:01 AM
 
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I haven't babysat for quite a long time, but am taking my daughter's sitting job in a few weeks while she runs the Raging Maniac. Even though I'm friends with the family, I will make sure to ask detailed questions about what's okay and what isn't!

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#75 of 80 Old 06-26-2011, 11:48 AM
 
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I can certainly understand if this is where you are coming from, except the OP never mentioned that she had any sort of previous negative associations with bathing that heightened her own concern wrt her kids

I don't have any previous negative associations with bathing, and I still definitely would not want a babysitter bathing my kids or dealing with their nudity unless it was absolutely necessary (like changing a diaper or a major poop accident or something).  I realize they are just kids, but I would prefer that a babysitter not deal with their private parts unless it is essential. And, I don't believe a nightly bath is essential.  Kids can certainly be wiped down and have hands/face/legs/feet/arms, etc. washed if they are dirty without having a full-strip down bath.  And, as I said...I have no previous negative experiences with bathing or anything like that.  I just feel that nudity around non-family members should be kept to a minimum.  And, if I were a baby-sitter, I would feel uncomfortable giving a child a bath unless it was necessary or the parents specified it (just for my own protection from any type of accusation or anything like that).

 

I tend to assume the best of people as well, so I wouldn't assume anything was "wrong" if a babysitter gave my kids a bath, but I would greatly prefer they didn't, and if I were a sitter, I couldn't imagine doing that unless it was specified by the parents or if something majorly messy happened (like a poop explosion).


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#76 of 80 Old 06-26-2011, 01:37 PM
 
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I don't have any previous negative associations with bathing, and I still definitely would not want a babysitter bathing my kids or dealing with their nudity unless it was absolutely necessary (like changing a diaper or a major poop accident or something).  I realize they are just kids, but I would prefer that a babysitter not deal with their private parts unless it is essential. And, I don't believe a nightly bath is essential.  Kids can certainly be wiped down and have hands/face/legs/feet/arms, etc. washed if they are dirty without having a full-strip down bath.  And, as I said...I have no previous negative experiences with bathing or anything like that.  I just feel that nudity around non-family members should be kept to a minimum.  And, if I were a baby-sitter, I would feel uncomfortable giving a child a bath unless it was necessary or the parents specified it (just for my own protection from any type of accusation or anything like that).

 

I tend to assume the best of people as well, so I wouldn't assume anything was "wrong" if a babysitter gave my kids a bath, but I would greatly prefer they didn't, and if I were a sitter, I couldn't imagine doing that unless it was specified by the parents or if something majorly messy happened (like a poop explosion).


I think some of this also depends on the ages of the kids.  As mine have gotten older, the need for daily bathing has increased (they are more active and more likely to get themselves pretty filthy, stinky, messy etc by the end of the day) but they have also increased their capacity to bathe themselves without any real need for help or intervention from a parent/caregiver.  My two older boys have been able to bathe themselves pretty sufficiently without anyone needing to help them since age 4 or so, and the only reason to have an adult present is in case someone slips and falls or to herd them out of the bathroom when they are done.

 

I've also noticed since my kids were really little that evening baths right before bedtime helps them to calm down and eases them into bedtime better than anything else I've tried.  I think there really can be something about sitting in warm water that can be very relaxing and calming at the end of a busy day, and it definitely does exactly that with my kids. 

 

The thing that I also mentioned in my first post that I think helps explain what this particular sitter was thinking is that almost all of my local friends and acquaintances with kids do nightime baths right before bed for their kids as well.  It's just extremely common for a whole lot of families, and if she has babysat for other families or gotten advice from other sitters she may very well be under the impression that it's just part of the drill when sitting for a family during the evening hours.  It sounds like we do agree that it's fairer to give this girl the benefit of the doubt and not come down on her harshly for doing something she likely assumed was needed and was in fact helpful for the OP.

 


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The thing that I also mentioned in my first post that I think helps explain what this particular sitter was thinking is that almost all of my local friends and acquaintances with kids do nightime baths right before bed for their kids as well.  It's just extremely common for a whole lot of families, and if she has babysat for other families or gotten advice from other sitters she may very well be under the impression that it's just part of the drill when sitting for a family during the evening hours.  It sounds like we do agree that it's fairer to give this girl the benefit of the doubt and not come down on her harshly for doing something she likely assumed was needed and was in fact helpful for the OP.

 

 


This, in bold. My problem lies solely with the assumption that getting my kid nude and washing him/her is okay and accepted without checking in with me. AmeliaBedelia phrased it really well. What's good for the other family's goose is not good for my family's gander. If I wasn't sure what to do when I babysat, I always, always called the parents...maybe that made me an annoying sitter? I guess this is lesson learned: be crystal clear with any future sitters I hire!

 


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#78 of 80 Old 06-27-2011, 10:39 AM
 
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I would be excited that she wanted to do crafts with the kids and just load up on cheap $ store paints and whatnot and just say "make sure you just use this stuff from now on, cause the other stuff is really expensive"


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#79 of 80 Old 06-27-2011, 04:18 PM
 
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I think the key is to remember that all families are different.  Here, we always paint in "regular clothes" and never use aprons or anything.  I don't care how the kids use the paints or how quickly they get mixed.  IMHO, that's part of the fun.  So you really can't say that a teen should "know better" or use "common sense".  I'm sure she was doing what she thought was "right" based on either her experience or her encounters with other families.  If you have different rules, then you need to tell the sitter about them.  Especially now that you  know there are differences you should be explicit about explaining your expectations.  Its fine to say "If you want to do crafts, please use these supplies here.  Anything that is out of child's reach is off-limits." 

 

But I also think you should look at all of the positives here.  The sitter was painting with you child -- not plopping her in front of the TV.  The sitter was trying to entertain and engage your child.  She was trying to make sure they went to bed clean and relaxed after a bath.  Heck, she was doing stuff WITH your child, not sitting on her rump texting her boyfriend and completely ignoring your child.  For me, this is the definition of a perfect sitter.  Messy clothes and used art supplies are nothing compared to the value of a good sitter who plays with your kids and who your kids enjoy spending time with.

 

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#80 of 80 Old 06-27-2011, 04:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post

 

But I also think you should look at all of the positives here.  The sitter was painting with you child -- not plopping her in front of the TV.  The sitter was trying to entertain and engage your child.  She was trying to make sure they went to bed clean and relaxed after a bath.  Heck, she was doing stuff WITH your child, not sitting on her rump texting her boyfriend and completely ignoring your child.  For me, this is the definition of a perfect sitter.  Messy clothes and used art supplies are nothing compared to the value of a good sitter who plays with your kids and who your kids enjoy spending time with.

 


ITA with this!!!

 

A babysitter who actually engages with a child and does fun activities with them, and then actually cares enough to do more than just dump them into bed at the end of the day is worth working out any miscommunications as far as I'm concerned.  I've had lousy sitters who sat on the couch and gabbed with her friends on her phone and clearly didn't care about my kids (and my kids didn't like her either) and I've had sitters who the very mention of their name lead my kids to squeal in delight.  You can bet I'm sticking with the sitter my children love and who loves them back, she enjoys spending time with them and doing fun activities with them all day long, and I know she has my kids best interests at heart. 

 

The nudity thing still isn't a big deal in my opinion (maybe it's the French in me) and again I would say talk to the babysitter about that sort of thing and explicitly spell out your expectations that she not bathe the kids if that is your hill. 

 


 

 


Mom to twin boys (7/15/05), another boy 5/9/10, and our latest addition born 9/13/11!

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