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!

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name? What is the big deal and why do people care so much about their name? Like when you meet someone and before you even have a chance to forget their name, they tell you “my name is Jennifer…not Jenn, or Jenny…don’t call me anything but Jennifer!” Whoa, why so bothered? How many times have you introduced your self this way, I wonder. I’ve actually been overhearing this as my work place is on boarding new staff, during my time volunteering at the zoo, or just sitting at the local bar . I suppose since it’s pretty hard to shorten Laura, I find this whole thing slightly interesting and I obviously haven’t had the experience of those with long names but the all of it got me think, what’s in a name?

What does this have to do with anything relevant to nanny consulting you might being asking yourself (or shouting through your screen at me)…here’s how. If we consider names are also job titles, in the world of child care there are so many different titles people use: babysitter, mothers helper, nanny, au pair just to name a few.

It’s confusing for those looking to find the right fit for their families when you aren’t sure which “name” to use when on your search. Do you need help Monday-Friday 9-5? Do you want to be able to run a few errands in the afternoon and maybe a date night once a month? Do you need some one to help entertain your little one and fold some laundry while you unload the dishwasher? Or are you looking for some who can live in and is also fluent in another language or culture then English? ¬†Finding your fit is as easy as remembering the right “name.”

This week I’m going to give you my spin on each of these different names/titles.

Today’s name to think about is Mother’s helper.

Mother’s Helper: Ideally, a neighborhood preteen looking for a little cash and babysitting experience. Not quite old enough to be left home alone with children but responsible enough to be in different parts of house/yard to allow parents time to do some chores, get dinner started, get into the garden, etc. Usually will need transportation assistance if beyond short walk to and from home. There are varying degrees of a mother’s helper, some can be left home alone during a quick errand to the store, or run around the block. This is up to the parents of all involved (the child who is being looked after and the helper’s) based on safety and comfort levels of both parties. This may be revisited as helper ages. Usually paid day of service or as arranged by parents.

*A mother’s helper could of course also be an adult but may be looking for less then part-time (think in school, has a desire for second job/additional income, retired but still active). Beyond that I would begin to consider said person to be more along the line of babysitter/nanny which “names” I’ll ponder later this week.