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Mother's helpers -- tell me your experiences

565 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  bec
I'm thinking of having my 13 y.o. cousin come over and help me out during the week, and I want to lay all of my expectations out first. However, I don't know what those expectations are! My girls are ages 20 months and 6 months, so obviously, I would want to be home whenever my cousin is here, but what can I expect a 13 y.o. to be capable of doing?

Also, what is normal payment for this type of job? And how long is too long for an almost-teen girl to watch children? I know at some point she may no longer think it's so fun and want to hang out with friends -- I don't want her to up and and quit on me!

Anyone mind sharing their experiences?

Thanks in advance!
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holdin babe so bear with me... i had a 12 & 17 year old helpers -- one on mon. & one on thurs. biggest difference was personality (& some maturity i'm sure). 12 yr. old watches tv & i have to prompt to get ds constantly as he is hanging on my leg. 17 yr. old rocks! however, i still think it is more personality -- i would not have behaved anything like 12 yr. old when i was that age.

does your cousin get down & play with your dc when she sees them now? that would be a VERY GOOD indicator of a
result. i would recommend having her come over once to help out cause you have xx to do -- make it sound like a 1 time thing so you can back out easily -- that is a difficulty i am having. re: payment, i took the going babysitting rate & subtracted 1 - 2 $$. i pay $4/hour for 2 hours -- each girl once/wk. The up-side to this is also that if you like how your cousin interacts with your dc, then you are getting to "train" your own babysitter for later!

Although the 12 yr. old isn't working out for us & the 17 year old is leaving for college, there is a 10 year old in the neighborhood as well who comes by & plays with ds just for fun. I have high hopes for her! :LOL Maybe in 3 - 4 years I will have the dream babysitter!

Hmmm.. I missed the "expectations" part. What I expected was that the helper would tell me if ds needed a dipe change (don't feel like explaining cloth to them), feed ds if I give her the food to do so, & keep him entertained (away from me if necessary) so that I could get things done. She can take him for walks (we live in a quiet subdivision) but has to check in every 15 minutes (I also have nosy neighbors who tell me if they do anything innappropriate, i.e. letting him play in road, not carrying safely, ignoring him to play with friends, etc. etc.). Play outside on slide or in sand box, in his room, the rec. room or the main living room/kitchen area. I expect her to tell me if he is upset & doesn't settle down right away so I can decide what to do -- that is a big one for me. If I find out my baby was miserable & she is keeping him away "to help me" I would be livid!

Well, that's all I can think of right at the moment, & ds isn't going to hold out much longer so...good luck!!
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My birthday gift this summer was to have a girl we know come over on Thursdays this summer to help out. She comes from 8:00-4:00 and we pay her $20 ($2.50/hr). She is 16 yrs old. It is the best thing I think my dh could have ever gotten me.

She had actually sent out a flyer to several of us SAHM's (small town and everyone knows everyone) and said that she would be willing to do this for 8 weeks this summer while school's out if anyone was interested.

I usually have her take 2 yo dd to the library in the morning while 11 mo dd takes her nap. Otherwise I have her watch the girls in our house (or outside, weather permitting) while I get things done. She's folded clothes, dusted and even painted our dining room one day.

The girls love when she comes and I love that I feel like my house gets picked up because I have a free moment to get things done uninterrupted (relatively).
I did this as a kid. I think for children that small, if you want your helper to be really helpful, you'll keep it down to 3 hours or less at a time. Under 3 hours and your helper probably will be fine with paying full attention to the kids, over 3 hours and it starts getting really tiring. I'd expect the helper to essentially babysit, and come to you with any big problems (hurt child, needs food, etc). At 13, she should basically just be responsible for keeping the kids happy and occupied, and depending on her maturity level, changing diapers. I don't know about payment - I used to get $10 for 2 hours, but there were 4 kids.
I have a mother's helper come about 2-3 hours once a week.

She's 16. I pay her 6 dollars an hour.

Our neighbors are 13 and 14 and both come together to entertain DS and hold DD while I get some things done around the house. The 13yo is awesome with DS ~ they play in the sandbox, run around outside, play with his cars, build blocks together, play in the hose, etc. She adores him and the feeling is totally mutual
. The 14yo loves to talk with me while she holds the baby, which is fine usually. She is very good at just making DD smile and keeping her happy. I've shown her how to sling her, which she enjoys. Basically, she holds DD and talks with me and brings her to me for nursing if necessary. Both girls will change diapers, but we use sposies

I pay the two of the $5/hour for them to split and we usually feed them dinner as well. They come every Saturday afternoon for 2-3 hours and sometimes for a few hours during the week. I've also brought the 14yo with me to sit with DD in the dentist's waiting room while DS got his teeth cleaned and she came with me to the hair salon last weekend to hold DD while I got a haircut.
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Thanks for all the responses. Keep 'em coming.

So far, my cousin's interaction with my daughters has been positive. I've been sorta testing her out a bit and she's done really well with my older daughter, and is content to hold my youngest for long periods of time. A huge
for that! Not sure she'll change diapers, but we could get her into that.

Here's a small glitch, though.... she lives about 25 minutes away and most likely, I'd have to pick her up when she comes over. Some days I barely want to leave the house, so that might limit how often she's over. But I *definitely* have days where I'd really like someone over to help out.

That leads me to another possible "mother's helper" situation -- asking my neighbor to help out every now and then. My neighbor is a sweet, elderly lady (77?) who means well and is totally in her right mind, but wouldn't be able to lift or chase after either child. Plus, she is the neighborhood busybody -- I am honestly afraid to have anything out of place when she comes over for fear of the entire block knowing that I am a complete slob! :LOL She has dropped hints that she is lonely and I'd like to help with that, but I'm not sure it would be a good idea for her to be a "mother's helper". And what in the world would I pay her?????

Any advice would be appreciated!
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I love my mother's helpers! I have an almost 13yo, and an 11yo. I am home when they are over. Right now, they are only watching my 3yo, so I pay them $3/hour. I expect them to tell me when dd needs to go potty (in the past it was when she needed a diaper change), needs a snack/drink if she doesn't have one, is hurt, etc. I let the older girl take Katie to the nearby park. The younger girl can play outside with Katie (weather permitting).

There is a vast difference in personalities. The 11yo is a lot more engaging and entertaining for Katie. She plays with her, rather than watching Katie play, iykwim?

It is a huge relief to have that break during the day. I have the 13yo twice a week, and the 11yo once. They come for two hours from 3:30-5:30. This is a low energy part of the day for us, so it is nice to have some distraction from that.

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