I Think Our Babysitter Window Is Closing

We’re dragging our feet, I know.

Our twin girls are closing in on two years old, and we have still never left them with a babysitter that wasn’t a relative or friend.  People who know about these things tell us that it’s of paramount importance to secure a babysitter we can trust and with whom we have a dispassionate financial arrangement that precludes any resentment of the type felt by put-upon friends and family, so that we can sneak out for the occasional date night.

I don’t know if we have some subconscious fear or reluctance to allow a virtual stranger to watch our kids, or if we’re just too lazy to do the legwork to find one.  We’ve gotten a few leads on babysitters from our friends with kids, but so far we haven’t followed up.  We don’t even know what we’re supposed to do to determine if the potential babysitter is trustworthy.

Meanwhile, our kids have become very entrenched in their routines, and I’m afraid that the prospect of training a babysitter to minister to their requirements is getting more remote as the girls develop more complex rituals surrounding the events of their days.

I was thinking about this earlier today, and mentally composing a list of instructions that I would leave for a babysitter if we ever found one.  If I were a babysitter and someone approached me with a list like the one I imagined, I would demand a hundred dollars just to read it, and then ten dollars extra for performing each of the tasks delineated.

The thing is, for a date night, the babysitter has to deal with some of the most difficult child-wrangling of the day: dinner, bathtime, and bedtime.

That would be a lot to demand of a babysitter we would be employing for the first time.  But even if we eliminated feeding and bathing, it would still be a pretty daunting job.

Let’s just say that Dr. Mom and I are going out to dinner at a reasonable hour and need someone to tuck the kids in after we take care of their dinner and bath, and then just sit there and text their boyfriends for the rest of the night.  That’s the least we could expect.  Anything less than that (i.e., sitting on the couch listening for any stirring from the sleeping babies we had already tucked in before the babysitter arrived), doesn’t really require a human to be there–we could achieve the same effect with a long-range baby monitor.

If we do ever find a babysitter that passes our security screening, this is something like what my list of instructions would look like for his or her first job, just for the stuff that happens during the half hour before the girls go to bed:

  1. Reading–Occurs seated on the floor in front of the bed, with Butterbean on the left side of your lap, Cobra on right.  Current favorites include “Jeremy Draws a Monster,” “The Potty Book, ” and “All Fall Down.”  If Cobra says, “sha-la-la-la,” that means she wants to read “All Fall Down.”  When reading “All Fall Down,” the girls will expect you to help them climb onto the bed and watch them as they enact the lines of the story, which include singing, running “round and round,” bouncing on the bed, and finally, falling down.  They will expect you to fall down at the end as well, and will remind you of this by pushing you and saying, “All down. All down.”
  2. Brushing teeth–This can sometimes be a struggle.  Start out by trying to build enthusiasm for the event.  Chant, “Brush teeth! Brush teeth!  Everybody brush teeth!” and “Deng zhang” (phonetic spelling of the Vietnamese for “brush teeth”) while marching around the bedroom.  Cobra gets the Piglet toothbrush and Butterbean gets the Tigger one.  Make up songs about oral hygiene and sing them as you brush their teeth.  When teeth are brushed, prompt them to say “cheese” repeatedly while baring their teeth in the mirror.  Model this for them.
  3. Tucking in the stuffed animals–THIS MUST BE DONE EXACTLY AS INSTRUCTED!  Place the two Boppy nursing pillows  on the floor OUTSIDE the door of the nursery (walk-in closet).  Turtle goes in the easternmost Boppy, and Puppy goes in the other one.  Butterbean will cover Turtle with a white washcloth (“pi-pi”),  and Cobra will cover Puppy in a green burpcloth (“mi-mi”).  If Cobra says, “zissel,” that means she wants the red and yellow stuffed lizard to join the slumber party.  Position the lizard between Turtle and Puppy, and cover with a pink hand towel.  Allow several minutes for the kids to hug, kiss, and step on the stuffed toys, and then move them into their cribs.
  4. Stretches–Cobra will lead these exercises from her crib, and you need only approximate the poses she demonstrates, and assist both of the kids in achieving deeper stretches when they say, “hep-you,” which means “help.”  Your experience as a practitioner of yoga should serve you well here.  What?  Oh.  I learned that from your Facebook profile.  Yes, I saw the “Camel Pose” picture.  I was impressed.   Cobra will let you know she is done stretching by saying “night-night” repeatedly.  Butterbean will continue goofing around all night unless you zip her into her sleep sack after her second headstand.
  5. Lovies–In their respective cribs, you will find exactly one plain blankie, and one blankie with a stuffed animal head on it.  Butterbean’s blankie, Stinky Pinky, a.k.a. “pi-pi,” is pinkish and smells like bacteria.  Her animal is Elephant (“ephant”).  Cobra’s blanket is a silky patchwork called “mi-mi,” (not to be confused with Puppy’s blankie of the same name), and her animal is Froggy (“frawzhie”).  If any of these items are missing…well, just make sure nothing happens to any of these items.  Drape the plain blankies over the children’s faces, snuggle the animals next to their necks, and bid them all good night.
  6. Blanket Toss–There’s a very good chance that Butterbean will throw Stinky Pinky into Cobra’s crib, and then wail until it is returned to her.  Cobra will not return the thrown blanket, but will only plaintively moan, “night-night.”  It’s up to you to return the blankie to it’s rightful owner.  Return Stinky Pinky to the crib, place Butterbean into her sleeping position, and comfort her silently for no more than 30 seconds.  Repeat as needed.  This hardly ever happens more than ten times in a night.  Maybe fifteen on the outside.
  7. Non Blankie-related Sleep Disruptions–Refer to appropriate chapters in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.  You should be familiar with this material from the reading that I assigned you in our last email exchange.  In case you forgot your copy, I have left mine on the nightstand, with the relevant passages marked with post-it notes.
  8. Most importantly of all–HAVE FUN!!

This seems a little complicated for someone who is just getting paid…what?  I don’t even know what to pay a babysitter.  The two times I babysat as a kid, I think I made $2.75 an hour.  Anyway, is it unreasonable to expect a babysitter to comply with the established routine?  What would you do if you received a set of instructions like this one?  And more importantly, how do you go about finding and breaking in a new babysitter?

About BetaDad

BetaDad is a fortysomething stay-at-home dad who is sometimes allowed out to build stuff out of wood or teach college students how to write. Most of the time he just chases his toddler twin girls around though. He Dad can also be found at his personal blog as well as Daddy Dialectic, Dad Centric, Insert Eyeroll, and Man Of The House


  1. mttwinmom says:

    um yeah, our twins just turned 2 and we’ve never left them with a (paid) babysitter. i know we need do, we just haven’t gotten around to it, i guess. grandma & grandpa are coming for a week, so we’re getting out of here- our first time doing that, too!

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  2. Stacy says:

    Our kids are 18, 15, 11 & 6.

    When our oldest was a baby, we had good friends who hired a sitter for their daughter and the sitter let her roll off the changing table onto the hardwood floor. Since the baby seemed “okay”, the sitter didn’t mention it to the parents. It wasn’t until the middle of the night as the parents rushed their unresponsive baby to the ER that the sitter was called, and the story came out.

    Needless to say, watching my friend and her husband struggle with the many years of issues, surgeries, and heartache that followed this injury had a major effect on me. I’ll never erase my friend’s tortured whisper from my mind, saying, “it just wasn’t worth an evening at a restaurant”. (She really said this to me, and yes, it is still bouncing around my brain 17 years later.)

    So we have never hired a sitter. Ever. My mom has watched the kids from time to time, and now that our older girls can babysit, they watch the younger two if we go out.

    Years and years of not going out was hard. But going out with my friend’s whisper bouncing around my head would have been much harder.

    • photomikey says:

      If your friend’s baby had been injured in a car accident, would you have never left the house? If your friends baby had been entangled in window blinds, would you have drywalled over the windows in your house?

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      • BetaDad says:

        Good Lord, that’s a terrible story! I think I’ll just be extra-diligent about the screening process.

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      • Stacy says:

        @photomikey: This list of yours could continue to grow in both length and absurdity. OF COURSE if I had a friend whose child was injured in a car accident it would make me even more diligent than I already am about car safety. OF COURSE if I had a friend whose child was entangled in window blinds, I would be even more diligent than I already am about baby proofing.

        But my example…my friend…was someone whose child was forever altered in THIS particular way. And THIS is the topic of conversation at the moment. (Babysitters.) My personal experience with the subject has been greatly influenced by someone else’s story, so I shared it.

        Honestly, if this had been an IRL conversation, I don’t think I would have shared this information. I don’t try to convert other parents to any of my own beliefs. But online seems like a more open place to share sometimes.

        Anyhoo…I really am not an alarmist. But watching this family go through this with their child who was the same age as mine…and it being my first baby…it just really affected me. It’s stayed with me.

        • photomikey says:

          It seemed you were not advocating diligence, it seemed as if you were recommending never, ever, under any circumstances using a babysitter unless you didn’t mind your baby dying.

          Diligence would be checking to see if a potential babysitter had taken a Red Cross training course, or asking to see their CPR certification. Going 18 years without a babysitter (and pledging to do it for many more years) is extreme. Like drywalling over your windows, or giving up your car.

          You were being alarmist.

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    • If you heard our story you might have never had kids.

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  3. Ann Imig says:

    How I remember these detailed instructions.

    See, the thing is? Your kids won’t hold your sitter to the same standards.He or She will do her best to follow your instructions, but will bring his or her own personality and offerings and it will be a different routine.

    It seems like such an inconvenience–the work of explaining it all and trusting and THE FEAR, but it is so important for everyone as you know.

    The girls need other trusted adults in their life. You know this.

    My babysitter-finding advice:

    1. Place in ad in your nearest college/university job board.

    2. Demand three excellent references and check them out.

    3. Go with your gut.

    Good luck!

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  4. kyooty says:

    yeah just tell the kids that hte babysitter might do things differently but you’ll be home before they wake up to fix it :P

    • BetaDad says:

      Despite my apparent concern about what the babysitter might do differently, the sad truth is that I’m mostly worried about the kids freaking out when we leave.

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      • kyooty says:

        It’s all in how you market it! “the babysitter is coming tonight to play with you, and read you stories while we go to a meeting” hehe make it the most boring event you are going to for the evening. We started by using a 15yrold neighbour, and then move on to a different 15yrold neighbour and now we will have to move on again, darn babysitters get boyfriends and BAM! they are too busy to babysit. It’s all about the marketing. Market it as a party for the kids. Another trick is to not leave until after the kids are in bed, and the babysitter is watching a movie. If you have the babysitter over for a visit to play with the kids that also helps. Little Mommies between 14-16 are awesome! Teen girls that want to be sooooo important and are too old for dolls. Your kids become the dolls.

  5. Did you skip the new dog phase? That would have helped in preparing for a sitter. Newly married and with a new dog, I left a similar list of instructions the first time my folks dog-sat. Example: “Say ‘down’ to make him stop jumping up on you. Say ‘off’ to get him off the couch. It doesn’t work if you switch the two.”

    Seriously, I did that.

    So my dad won’t let me live down the first time I left my daughter. “Here’s her formula. Feed her when she gets fussy. Or change her diaper – one or the other.”

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    • BetaDad says:

      The experience with dog sitters is what made me think about the list. With our last dog, I literally had a 3 page (single-spaced) document I would leave with the sitter. And our current dog is a Basket Case. I didn’t even really think about that aspect. 120 lbs of anxiety and urinary incontinence who would growl at the babysitter every time she got out of her seat. Great.

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  6. Alicia says:

    I worried about the complex routines, too. I just made up a fairly detailed instruction sheet and then gave the babysitter license to do what made sense if she needed to diverge from it. To my shock, we always came home to find everything was fine. Small things would be amiss, like baby down with the wrong blankie (IMPOSSIBLE!) or the light on in the toddler’s room. But they have always managed just fine and smiled about it. TRY IT. The worst that can happen is you come home and they’re still up, right? As for finding/paying. We get our babysitters from the child development classes at our local high schools. But you can also use online services to screen babysitters if you prefer. Sittercity.com has a calculator that asks you things like your location and number of kids and then tells you what their average local sitter makes for that job. But we pay our 16/17 yo high school girls $10 plus a small tip and that seems quite acceptable (we live in the suburbs of a major city). I do advise just gutting it out and trying it. You need time out and there is no yucky familial obligation when you pay a sitter. Good luck! (sorry not to have any funny comments for you.)

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    • BetaDad says:

      Yup. “Gutting it out” is the right phrase. And I know that when Grandma babysits and changes up the routine, everything is still fine. Thanks for the info!

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      • Alicia says:

        Even if you don’t have much fun the first time – just try going to dinner for 90 minutes (including bedtime – or maybe just feeding time) and coming back. You’ll feel better that the time is short and you can increase it next time.

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  7. chris says:

    Why does it have to be someone that is NOT a friend or a relative? All my friends and family have always used babysitters that were friends/family…There is nothing wrong w/using family or friends.. Heck, why not??? dude, do what is comfortable for u and especially who your kids are comfortable with.

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    • BetaDad says:

      The problem is that you end up feeling guilty and/or obligated to those people and they feel like you only call them when you want a babysitter. I already feel bad about doing this with our friends who take care of our dog.

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      • chris says:

        hate to say this, but if they are your friends/relatives they should not be making u have these feelings… do u reciprocate in babysitting their kids? if not, there is always the barter system…

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      • kyooty says:

        I totally get this!!!! People have lives, and sometimes you want to go out with the people you use for babysitting. We had my inlaws come to visit and hired a sitter so we could go out with them one evening. It makes for a great visit with the inlaws where My hubbie isn’t competing with his kids for his parents attention. (you know cause… well forget that part)

        • BetaDad says:

          Good point, Kyooty. We’d like to actually hang out with our friends instead of leaving them to watch our kids. And, Chris, unfortunately we have a hard time reciprocating with the babysitting since we have our hands full with our own kids. Also, it’s not that our friends and family *make* us feel guilty. We put that on ourselves.

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  8. Rachel says:

    I babysit A LOT. I am even sought after enough that I can be picky and only babysit for families I like. (I am also employed full time, which makes being picky easier.) But No, you simply cannot expect a babysitter to follow a routine to your exact specifications. For most kids, the point of having a babysitter is that its fun! Mom and Dad are out for the night, and the kids are going to play, new games, sing new songs, and eat maybe an extra cookie or Popsicle tonight. Its apart of the babysitter experience for your kids. I do all sorts of fun things with kids of all ages, new born to 14, that there parents dont do with them. And its different than when mom and dad are home. I once got two pages of typed instructions before watching 3 kids. I never went back. Thats insane. You can tell babysitters what you are expecting, if they get a bottle before bed, do they need a pacifier. Where the bandaids are, where the cell #’s are written down. But a step by step plan of how you expect the night to go? Nope, you cant expect that.

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  9. Rachel says:

    Hahah, Boston.

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  10. Suzaroo says:

    I’m a stay at home mom/date night babysitter. I haven’t been given long lists of instructions before, it’s usually an overview of what usually goes down and a “thanks! good luck!”. ;0
    I have found most of my families through Care.com…you can do background checks on potential sitters through them and search through sitter profiles to see who sounds like a good match for you.
    Good luck!

  11. Issa says:

    Dude. You are screwed.

    Nah, actually find a sitter and ignore the list. Your kids are two, they will be fine. Just don’t over think it. Know that with someone else? Your kids likely won’t care much. I have great sitters. They are responsible teens. My goal? Is to not care what happens when I’m not there, as long as my house is still sounding and my kids are alive.

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  12. Melissa says:

    I’ll second Rachel here. I babysat A LOT up until a year or two ago. My experience came from babysitting my siblings and I generally only babysat for friends of the family, employers kids, and friends of friends.

    I regularly babysat for a family with four kids aged 12 to 2. The kids and I survived a severe thunderstorm spawning a tornado. The bathroom window did not survive this same storm.

    Some advice to you as a parent – your kid doesn’t need a bath every night. As a babysitter, I did not do bathtime with my clients kids. (I did, however, hose kids off in the yard after a fabulous afternoon of making mud pies.)

    You can leave a list with a detailed schedule, but I probably won’t follow it. I want to know your emergency contact numbers, any meds that need to be administered, band aids & topical first aid equipment, food allergies, and the BASIC essentials of the bedtime routine. If the blankie keeps them from screaming, I’m interested, their favorite book sounds? I could care less. You see, I’m babysitting your children and if I want the gig a second time, I’ll do a good job.

    Check references, use your gut, babysitters used by friends are a good sign and babysitters that have taken care of siblings will probably be your best bet.

    Oh, and if your kids go to bed at 7:30 and you won’t be home until 10, please explain how to use use your television setup and where the remotes are.

    And I’ll probably let your kids stay up until 8:30. Because I’m the cool babysitter and we were having so much fun we didn’t pay any attention to the clock.

    • BetaDad says:

      I like your attitude. I would be happy leaving my kids with someone as confident as you. But you also made me realize another potential problem–we don’t have a TV.

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      • Melissa says:

        Yikes! Might want to think about what the babysitter should do between bed time and home time. Suggesting the sitter bring something to keep themselves entertained post bedtime when booking them is a good idea.

  13. Maggie says:

    Totally agree with Rachel. I was an experienced babysitter “back in the day”. Sitters are the good time Charlies, and if you are lucky you find a sitter that likes buliding tents, playing hide and go seek, making forts out of couch cushions, and all the other crazy shit that makes you batty as an adult. Let the routine fall by the wayside, everyone needs that once in awhile.

    • BetaDad says:

      Haha…”good time Charlie.” Haven’t heard that expression in years. You make a good point. Ideally it should be a big fun event when the babysitter comes. We had a second cousin who babysat us as kids and we always had the best time ever.

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  14. I am afraid rates for babysitting have gone up STEEPLY since you use to babysit. Nowadays you can expect to pay between 6 and 10 dollars per hour per kid depending on what area of the country you live in. A good night of babysitting for 2 kids will run you between 30 and 50 dollars ddepending on how late you stay out. If you try to pay someone less than that for 2 toddlers you probably won’t get anybody who will babysit more than once and not talk trash about you being cheap behind your back.

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    • BetaDad says:

      I figured as much. It doesn’t seem right that they would charge double for two kids. It’s not actually twice the work, especially when the kids will be asleep most of the time. Maybe I can just describe the scope of the job and get different babysitters to bid on it.

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  15. chris says:

    My oldest babysat infant fraternal twins when she was in h.s. if u are that desperate for a babysitter she lives in w.l.a.
    when my girls wanted to babysit I had them take a Red Cross program.. they walked them through emergency situations, both knew cpr, etc.. I think anyone who babysits should know what to do in a situation especially when it comes to babysitting little ones.

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  16. Anne says:

    My free advice as a mother of 9 year old twins and an 11 year old….it’s time to get a sitter.
    1. try local colleges financial aid offices, they often have kids looking for work listed and you can find a nice “early childhood ed” major to babysit
    2. accidents happen, hire a reliable person and stop worrying…the baby can fall with anyone….just trust that everything will be fine and it usually is (that story is horrific but also extremely rare)
    3. date night is required…too easy to grow apart just being “mommy and daddy”
    4. kids are resilient and take their cues from mom and dad, if you act like it’s ok, they do too. a little crying is normal at the peak of the separation stage. try going out for a short time (1 hour) the first time…and stretch it out to longer. maybe even a lunch date so no bedtime routine required.

    Just my two cents…you and the kids will be fine. Take the plunge and stop worrying! Odds are they will loooove the sitter and be in her wedding someday! That’s what happened to us! :-)

  17. jared karol says:

    Our twins turned two in January, and we have gone out a couple times, but only AFTER all the routines (although admittedly not as extensive as yours, but particular nonetheless) of bedtime have been completed. Our neighbor is a high school senior and we pay him fifteen bucks an hour to text his friends and watch TV while our kids sleep. Kind of a rip off, but seems worth it to not have to make the list of instructions. :) We do end up eating dinner at 8:30 or so, but hey, we’re actually eating!

    You’re not too far behind when we hired this kid for the first time–sometime last fall, maybe 20 months or so. Best of luck. . .

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    • BetaDad says:

      I know, right? $15.00 an hour? What a racket. Why was I out busting my hump mowing lawns and doing construction site cleanup when I was in high school? What a chump.

      The couple of times we have left the kids home with friends watching them, we didn’t leave the house until they were asleep (the twins). Which is actually fine, because we never eat before 9:00 or so anyway. But if we wanted to go crazy and see a movie too, it would be a different story.

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  18. I don’t know where you live, but here in N. California we pay $10/hour. More if they drive. So yeah, I don’t feel guilty if I have “special requests.”

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  19. Jan says:

    So yeah, you already have a bunch of comments and they probably mostly all say a variation on this:

    Your babysitter will mostly ignore your list, because he or she won’t need it, because the children that melt down upon the tiniest variation from The Plan when you are there, will happily toddle along until bedtime, then tuck themselves into bed or fall asleep on the floor whilst driving a monster truck. The babysitter will saying things like, “Oh, we couldn’t find Bubsy-Bunny, but I gave TwinkleToes a washcloth from the guest bathroom and she was fine with it” even though you know darned good and well TwinkleToes’ head would explode if you so much as suggested Bubsy-Bunny sleep three nanometers to the left of His Normal Place.

    And who cares if they miss a night brushing their teeth? If you come home from your date and the house is still standing and the children are asleep, it’s a success.

  20. Neeroc says:

    My daughter turned 3 last December and we’ve only ever left her with family and I’m sure we’re under 10 times that we’ve even done that. I’m just too lazy. One to do the searching and screening and two to do all the cleaning to make my house stranger-worthy.

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  21. Sabrina says:

    I’m a nanny, and before I ‘settled down’ into one job, I was on call for an agency. Almost 100% of the time this is what happened when I arrived. 1)The parents go through all of the details that are important for a caretaker to know. (Don’t feel bad, no matter how weird you think it is, and experienced childcare provider will have heard weirder.) 2) The children protest in one form or another. 3)Within 5-10 minutes TOPS the children are fine, and casually inquire throughout the night but go back to playing as soon as they are reassured that you will be back.

    Definitely check referances, and interview.

    Lots of times college students who are studying elementary education are truly interested and good with children. :)

    Also, if you don’t plan on getting a nanny cam, lie your ass off and tell the girl you do. It’ll keep her on her toes. Good luck.

  22. I think we were robbed as kids because my daughter makes bank when she babysits. She is gone 5 hours and brings home about 50 bucks. She never set a price, this is what they insist on paying her.

    Also, I never left my girls with a sitter until they could both talk, my husband wasn’t too happy, but if something crazy was going down I wanted to know about it. Although this does have drawbacks because the kid might convince your babysitter that when we lived in SoCal there were earthquakes and so we took all of the photos off of the wall every single night and when the sitter asks your 3 year old if she is afraid of the dark she will decide “why not.”

    p.s. this sitter came highly recommended and wasn’t easily conned by young children, my child had special skillz apparently.

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  23. Mary Pena says:

    First of all, congrats on staying sane with a double-hitter for your first babies! I have six-mo old twin girls but luckily was able to iron this out with my three-yr old before the circus came to town.

    I’ve found that babysitters get the best of my kids. We’re lucky to have a great sitter who we trust, and she immediately gets the kids engaged when she arrives, coloring with my son and making hand-prints or body-outlines of the babies. Routine goes out the window in a Mary Poppins kind of way, and she keeps them up late so they feel sneaky and we get an extra hour in the morning. By the time their little honeymoon is over, we’re home.

    One thing I make sure to tell anyone watching my kids is that I’m not going to freak out if there’s an accident, they happen, and they don’t have to be afraid to call me with any seemingly minor incident or question, and that the only thing that would make me mad is not to learn about a problem immediately.

    The most important thing is not to call. You have to trust that your sitter will call you if needed, and if you call you’ll probably wake them up, at the very least remind them that you’re not there. Date night is essential to ensure your girls have happy parents, and you deserve it to be completely guilt-free. I don’t mind paying the $15/hr for the care of my three kids, and I actually would be apprehensive to use someone who charged a lot less. Just consider it part of the date cost, well worth the peace of mind.

  24. Lucyna says:

    Sounds to me like YOU aren’t ready for a babysitter! I think a good sign of being ready for a babysitter is when your list is simplified down to about 5 points, one sentence each.

    Kids at that age (I have some too!) can be extremely difficult, and breaks in routine can make flames rain down from heaven.

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  25. Debbie says:

    I loved your post!! As a mom I can relate to everything you said(except I don’t have twins)! For the first couple of years we only used family members as babysitters. Then I realized the beauty of the neighborhood sitter. They are fun, energetic, up for anything, and “awesome”. As the owner of an on line babysitting service I can share with you the “how to” of finding a sitter. First, find a few candidates you like. You can use a site like ours, FindTheBestNanny.com. Contact them via email and phone and get to know them a little bit. Then, meet the ones you like in person. Hold an interview. Ask open ended questions and get to know the candidates. Now, check references. This is a MUST! Once you’ve found the ones you like run a background check. It doesn’t cost much and you will want the peace of mind. Enjoy the date night!!

  26. Firehorse says:

    When I was training to be a nanny I had regular baby sitting jobs. The “worst” were 2 brothers who had a “routine” and feeding habits that drove their mum round the bend. Mostly I ignored it. They knew that if I was minding them, they got what mum had left for dinner – the first option – not any of the back up meals, they knew that bed time was 1 story, 1 song, AFTER teeth brushing time – and nothing else. I made up for being so “brutal” by allowing finger painting before bath time and the massive treat of warm milk before teeth brushing time. I think their mum hated the fact that they asked her to go out so I’d come round even though I didn’t indulge them. Your local college will have a child care class with people desperate for some extra money – they should also have been trained in basic first aid and child safety procedures. Also worth interviewing when the kids are awake and around, if the children like the candidate HIRE THAT ONE!

  27. Faiqa says:

    There’s some great advice up there. That I’m going to follow… because, this post? ME. I just started letting non-relatives watch my kids. My daughter is FIVE. We’re in DESPERATE need of a babysitter.

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  28. Jamie says:

    I’m the mom of 1 year old twin girls and a 3 year old little boy. I think that having a sitter come every few weeks so my husband and I can get out for a bit is a total life and sanity saver. We need that time, just the two of us. We have found two sitters that we really like and while I tell them about our routine, I don’t expect them to do it all my way. I think it is good for my kids to be flexible in some ways.

    We use college age sitters and typically pay them around $15 an hour.

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  29. Tawnya says:

    I am sorry that I am only reading this post now, and also for skipping the comments in case this was already pointed out, but I will say that graduate students make a good pool of sitters – we are poor, well-educated, and used to difficult kids (undergraduate students). The other thing I wanted to say is that all the times I have babysat with complicated night-time directions, it all worked out. Did I forget some of them? Yes. Did I go in the wrong order sometimes? Yes. Did the kids get a little fussy? Of course. But did I, as a competent adult, figure out how to get them fed, washed, and to sleep? Sure did. Also, when it is a stranger, the kids will have some of the same expectations (like the stuffed animals of course), but they will be so distracted by the new person, that they will not be as hung up on the details. Finally, strangers’ reactions to kids are different from their parents’ reactions, and so, in turn, are the kids’ reactions to strangers. I could get a kid down for a nap who never took naps possibly for the simple reason that I was not his mother, and he was too much in awe of my strangeness to argue with me.
    So I don’t know if this helps, but I hope it does – everyone needs adult time.

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  30. hi,

    i am nanny services provider in united states in america with 24/7 open services by moms for moms.


  31. Sundae says:

    Holy crap. I’m an extremely expireenced sitter and I have never run across such a wonderfully detailed list of instructions. First off let me tell you how helpful that is. The most annoying thing to a sitter is to be left with the kids and no instructions on import bedtime rituals. The kids of course will te you what needs to be done but as all kids do they have their own language with you parents and we sitters don’t have a translator. Second, a sitter now days is usually paid about 8 to 10 dollars an hour, if not more. Alway pay for travel. (gas money) Taking care of children is hardwork especially at bedtime we deserve to paid for that work. However, if the child is already asleep when the sitter arrives the price should go down. Third, when looking for a sitter always go to the ones your friends recommend first. They know you and your children and know how they’re babysitter will handle your kids. When meeting this sitter it’s best to have the first meeting at the sitters house. This way you ca. See they’re living arrangement and judge if you want them around your kids. This is also less intimidating to the sitter so they don’t have to go to a strange house to be asked lots of questions. Always have a second meeting with the sitter at your house for half an hour to see how they greet and interact with the children. BUT DON’T HOVER. The sitter won’t be herself if your still in the room and that will waste of her and your time. Just peek in once and a while to see how it’s going. Pay her for that time. If you decide this sitter will work for you make sure she thinks so as well. Exchange information. The first night she babysits don’t leave her for more than 3 hours. If it goes bad it’s just plain rude. Tips to make your sitter like you. 1. Supply snacks. We get hungry after wrangling your children to bed. 2. Show us how to work the TV or DVD player. We get bored waiting for you to come home. 3. Give us a list of what the child cannot have or allergies they have. Children lie about what they can and can’t have. Sugary snacks are a big factor. 4. Tell us an estimated time of return and stick to that time. If you’re late pay us at least 5 bucks extra. We make plans and expect you to be home so we can get on with our lives. 6. Be nice. If we like you enough we might even do the dishes or pick up the toys… But endless you’re paying us extra don’t expect it. 5. DON’T MENTION OUR FACEBOOK. We know you’ve probably checked us out but we don’t want to hear about it. It’s creepy. We dont like working for creepy. 6. When you leave for your date, leave. It’s hard to keep young kids from crying and when you pop in to “check in” it makes it 10x harder for us. 7. Treat your sitter with respect and if she tells you a difficulty with your children (they hit her) talk to the children about it before she comes again. (but she most likely wont tell you) 8. If you cancel or need us to come early give us a day or at least 9 hours notice. We have to arrange our day around you if we decide to work for you that night.
    Hope this was helpful! For more tips visit… http://www.babble.com/kid/kids-health-safety/etiquette-babysitter-secrets/.
    Good luck!

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