Having some issues with the kids I babysit for a friend - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 05-14-2013, 08:03 AM - Thread Starter
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I am new to the website so I am trying to figure out my way around. So please excuse me is I am not doing this properly but I really would like some insight from an outsider.


I am currently babysitting for a friend out ours. She has two boys-1 a toddler and 1 in school.


Everyday she drops of her youngest here and every afternoon I drive across town to pick up her older son.


Here is my dilemma(s).

1. Her kids are ALWAYS sick. Her youngest is brought over first so I usually can tell within the first 5 minutes that he is ill. Every time I get into her bag she bring for him-there is NEVER any medicine. Right now he has a nasty cough and is has some Flem to it and there is no cough syrup so I am having to use what I have....meaning since he is sick I have to give my kids meds so they don't get sick. So I probably go through a bottle of cough meds or other meds in less then 3 days. And when I ask her to bring more-she doesn't.

Then her older son-when I pick him up I can usually tell there is something wrong right away because he is super quiet. Twice I have brought him home with a stomach ache and he was throwing up and when I called the parents they wouldn't come get him because they were too busy at work.

2. If their oldest son is sick or had a doctor appt.-they don't call and tell me that he is home. SO I drive all the way to his school to pick him up and sit there while the teachers search for this kid only to find out 30 m minutes later that he wasn't at school today. And when I call to confront them-its like they don't care that I took time out of my day and gas (because its so cheap) to drive to get their kid.

3. Their kids are really picky eaters. If it isn't artificially flavored, or contain sugar-they wont eat it. My kids LOVE fruits and veggies. They eat them non-stop. If there is a sweet in the house its defiantly a treat. So its like I have to accommodate their tastes to actually get them to eat. Which also leads me to the fact that-they agreed to bring snacks...so that way I am not buying all this crap to keep in my house-but they haven't brought anything in months (like 6 months). So I have to figure out how to pay for this junk food that I refuse to keep in my house just to make sure they eat something while they are here.

4. When it comes to payday-they are late (2 weeks to be exact) every time. I try to be patient but it gets to the point where I cant wait anymore and have to pretty much threaten them to pay or I wont watch their kids. Then at times they pay me half-because they are short on cash....??? Believe me-they drive two really nice cars, wear Nike, Under Armor, Coach, etc. So paying me shouldn't be an issue.

5. The youngest boy ALWAYS had diarrhea. Its really gross and I am constantly washing his cloths because there is never extras in the bag they pack. I am worried about this kids health.

6. Since the kid is a toddler, he is still in diapers. The parents ALWAYS forget diapers and wipes. Fortunately. for them, my youngest is in the process of potty training, so I have extras. But whats going to happen when I run out? She s literally on the cusp of being completely trained. I cant afford to go out and buy diapers.

7. They are late for pick up. I told them they have to be here at a certain time or I am charging them $10 extra. But they don't care.  They come when they want.

8. When I talk to the oldest son, he says on the weekends that he never is home. He is always at his aunts or his g-ma's house spending the night because his mom and dad are so busy. Plus they eat out constantly. Always eating fast food because they never are home. :(


I am sick and tired. I am a nice person and a lot of people usually take advantage of me being "a good person". But now I feel like I don't even want to be friends with them anymore because they are so irresponsible. And even though I am pressing about these issues-I can tell they just don't care. But I need the extra income. I cant afford to send my kids to daycare because its too expensive. And my husband (bless his heart) works O.T. to pull in a little extra. I am thinking about quiting them but then what?


Any suggestions?

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#2 of 10 Old 05-14-2013, 11:23 AM
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It doesn't sound to me like these people are worth the trouble. Maybe as friends, but not as clients for a business. But, if you really want to give them another chance, I suggest changing things up a bit. Tell them that you're sorry to have to do things this way, but in order to preserve your friendship you need to make some changes to your business relationship. First, they need to start paying you in advance. If you get paid every two weeks, they need to pay you on Friday for the period that begins the following Monday, or you will not be available to sit. Also, have them bring in diapers, wipes, medicine, and snacks on Friday afternoons -- enough for the following week. Either that, or bring you a check to cover all of those items. Tell them that your financial situation is such that you absolutely cannot afford to provide these items, and that since they are necessary to their kids' well-being, if they don't bring the stuff over on Friday afternoon you will be unable to watch their kids the following week.

As for some of the other things you mentioned. First, is it possible that the kids are always sick because they aren't eating well? It's up to you whether you want to continue giving the junk food (if their parents provide it), but I would just provide healthy food and let them eat it or not. I wouldn't be comfortable encouraging such bad eating habits, and if kids are hungry enough, they will eat. That also gives you one less thing to worry about as far as the parents providing stuff for their kids. Secondly, can you call the school to find out if the older son is even going to be there before you drive all the way over to pick him up? Still annoying, but less trouble than going all the way to school for nothing. Third, what do you mean that you give your kids medicine to keep them from getting a cough from the baby? Cough syrup only treats a symptom; it can't prevent someone from getting a cough. Or are you talking about something else? The only thing I can think of that would actually make sense to give your kids to prevent them getting sick would be vitamins?

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#3 of 10 Old 05-14-2013, 12:46 PM
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I completely agree with michelleepotter. The suggestions in her first paragraph are very good -- I would put those into a contract and have the parents sign it, then be completely consistent about sticking to the terms of the contract, no matter what, so that they get the message that you're serious. 


Regarding the snacks, there's no way I would go buy junky snacks because "that's all the kids will eat." If they're hungry, they'll eat fruit and cheese or whatever you offer them. If they don't eat it, they're not really that hungry. 


I was also going to ask the same question about the cough medicine -- you're giving it to your healthy kids to try to prevent them from catching the illness? That won't work -- cough medicine just treats a symptom; it's not a prophylactic, and has too many harmful side effects to make it worth giving it to healthy kids. Plus it's expensive! 

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#4 of 10 Old 05-14-2013, 04:31 PM
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Twice I have brought him home with a stomach ache and he was throwing up and when I called the parents they wouldn't come get him because they were too busy at work.


Yikes. This would have been the last time I babysat for them. I have five children and you cannot bring your barfing kid to my house. Part of the tough thing about being a working parent is that when your child is vomiting, you don't go to work. It stinks, but it's how it works.

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13yo ds   10yo dd  8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds  
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#5 of 10 Old 05-16-2013, 06:10 AM - Thread Starter
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After reading every ones suggestions, I will defiantly be doing some serious thinking. Its looking like I will most likely not be watching them anymore, but its something I need to discuss with my husband. Between the food, gas, meds, diapers-I make no overhead. I have started charging extra for these things and letting them know-but its not going over well.


The snack situation has come to a head. I let them know yesterday if their kids cant eat what I give them then they aren't going to eat. They tried to ask me to accommodate them and I refused. They said they will start bringing the snacks themselves and I let them know to keep them and bring oranges and apples instead. They need to support healthy habits too. Their diets have to contribute to their health in one way or another.


As for the medication-my kids get airborne jr. and if they seem to have symptoms starting to arise...then they get meds. Sorry I didn't make that more clear.

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#6 of 10 Old 05-16-2013, 11:52 AM
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I don't think this is a job worth saving but assuming you really need it to work, I'd do the following.


Contract that outlines care standards that you need to adhere to, when you are not available to care (outline specific sickness, pro-rate the care, if the child is still dropped off the rate doubles for their care), what items are provided for by the parents, and what happens if they aren't provided for. (i.e. you go to the store and purchase them and they pay for the items on the receipt + $5 for your trouble).


Payment for the following week has to be provided for on the Friday before. If it doesn't happen, and they don't have a check on the Monday, DO NOT ACCEPT THE CHILD even once. Paying for child care needs to be their top level priority.

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#7 of 10 Old 05-18-2013, 05:58 PM
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Do you not feel that you can find other children to watch to gain income?

People who will pay you, bring snacks, supply the diapers and such for their children?


I would look for other clients.


These people are taking advantage of you.

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#8 of 10 Old 05-19-2013, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by colsxjack View Post

Do you not feel that you can find other children to watch to gain income?
People who will pay you, bring snacks, supply the diapers and such for their children?

I would look for other clients.

These people are taking advantage of you.
My thoughts EXACTLY. The other posters have great suggestions too but honestly I would simply say this isn't working, give notice and post ads to find other clients.
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#9 of 10 Old 05-19-2013, 09:23 PM
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I wouldn't give a child any medication the parent didn't provide and ask you to give them. Children die from overdoses that way, especially when cough syrup is involved. If he is coughing stuff up his body wants it out. A healthy person can cough for a long time without cause for medical concern, coughs tend to hang on. It sounds like allergies.

I would bag up clothes that are soiled and not wash them, charge $3 per diaper and $10 per wasted trip to the school. I would also come up with an illness policy and tell them they will have one hour to make arrangements then you will drive them to their work and that will.also be a $10 charge.
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#10 of 10 Old 05-19-2013, 10:11 PM
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QUIT NOW. Get other clients. You are not making any money if you have to buy junk food and spend money on gas. Stop being nice to other people. Start being nice to yourself and things will change.

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