Top Tips from a Babysitter

Even in tough times, there’s still a need for the best babysitter in your budget. A modest night out to the movies, or even the occasional adults-only dinner party at a friend’s house, as well as an unexpected late night at work – are all reasons to have a sitter you can trust.

But what are some good ways to foster, build and maintain that relationship? Here are five insights on making the connection better from local southeast Michigan nanny and college student Whitney Newman.

1. Trust the sitter. Newman had one experience when she was a morning sitter and the parent just couldn’t leave. "The boy’s mother really made it difficult by sticking around longer when he would cry, or coming back from work to take him (and myself) on errands. He then learned that the more he cried and put up a fuss, the more likely it was that mom would stay home or come back to see him. It was really hard for me to make a positive connection with him because whenever I was there, he wanted me to leave so his mom would come back."

2. Communicate, communicate! "I guess I would just say how essential it is to always keep lines of communication open between the nanny and the parents," Newman says. "I am always in touch with the boys’ mom over the summer and she is very respectful of my position as the nanny, which I greatly appreciate."

3. Establish clear rules. Don’t just leave the required list of safety tips, but also discuss and clearly write down the rules of the house – from where they can eat or snack to how you use time-outs.

4. Don’t overburden the sitter. It’s important to make your child’s care the priority, not other tasks, like cleaning the house or doing errands.

5. Appreciate your sitter. Newman does some pretty creative games – like a treasure hunt – with her family’s children. Show your appreciation not just in tips, but also with notes, maybe a baked good, or at least in words. Chances are the sitter will be back – again and again.

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