What’s in a name? cont.

Today’s name is babysitter!

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you hear “babysitter”? For me it’s a term I’ve heard nearly all my life but not because we frequently had one, with 3 older sisters I was well looked after…believe me.  I first became familiar with babysitting as a young reader who enjoyed reading the adventures of a certain club. Then my sisters started becoming babysitters. They would be gone for hours, making money then buying themselves clothes and make-up my parents wouldn’t splurge on (the ultra trendy, will be worn once but worth a months pay sort of things). That was exciting to watch, I wanted things too, but what exactly is a babysitter?

Here we go…

A babysitter tends to be young adults who are a little more independent and responsible. They are able to find their own transportation to and from jobs. They are looking for cash (immediate) and job experience/references. Often they are in school so available hours vary but lend themselves to afternoons and into early evening. With that in mind, many sitters will have homework they might want to work on with the child they are caring for as they complete their own or after children are in bed. Babysitters are responsible for well being and safety of children, regularly without adult supervision. Activities can be provided by parent or generated by sitter but usually do not require much travel outside of home/neighborhood. Babysitters might be asked to do light housekeeping (i.e. put dish into dishwasher, make snacks/dinner, pick up toys) however chores should be related to child and items used while sitter was “in charge.”

As each family unit varies greatly, it is helpful for the sitter to have very clear guidelines and expectations. Family rules, culture and routines should be followed and respected. It is up to each family to discuss and provide these to babysitter prior to leaving the house, and highly advised. What one family may find acceptable such as using cell phones, eating family food, and having friends over may be greatly frowned upon by another. As a babysitter, it is wise to ask as many questions prior to parents departure…better safe than sorry.

Shout out to all the babysitters! You all rock! You are needed, appreciated and help so many parents with sanity, marriage, and socialization…keep up the awesome work!

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