Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Babysitter Rights

As a babysitter there are certain rights implied that I have, or anyone for that matter. One such right would be the right of privacy. When I go babysitting, I bring with me a little pocketbook with my cell, keys, and calender.

Then if my phone would ring, I would go get it and see who called, and then sometimes answer. Then the kids would see which pocket the phone was in. They know that phones have cameras in them and that it takes pictures. So the first time they asked if they can take a picture with my phone. So I let them. But then once I let them once they figure it means they can use it whenever they want. So they would go into my bag and take out the phone and start pressing buttons and taking pictures. It was an old phone and I figured they can't cause much harm to it. So I would let them.

But then, if the mother is home and she sees her kids going through my pocketbook and taking out my phone and using it without permission, she would tell them they are not allowed to do that. That you don't go through other peoples things, which is true. So I let her tell them that without correcting her and telling her that I don't mind. For the purpose of parenting, so that they will listen to their mother.

Now, yesterday the kids wanted to play a game that was in the closet. One kid said its supposed to be a prize for when their tooth falls out. So I told them we can't play with it then, that its supposed to be a prize. But then the kids wanted to play with it anyways, and I figured its not causing any harm, so I took the game down and taught them how to play. Then the kids started whining and being impatient, because it was a 2 people game, so one of them was left out. The game was checkers, and they didn't understand that you can only jump if there is a piece to jump over, and that you can only move one piece at a time. So they were fed up with the rules. So the mother told them to stop whining, that they won't be able to play the game like that.

The kid started crying when her mother said she had to clean up the game and can't play. So I was listening to the mother and told the kid she's not allowed to play and that we have to clean up. But she cried harder, so I figured the rest of the kids found something else to do and were quiet, so I could play with her. So we set up the game again and I played with her. Then after the game the kid started smelling what will be for dinner, and she liked the smell, so she ran up to her mother as if she hadn't been misbehaving before and gave her mother a hug and said thank you for making her favorite supper. The mother accepted the hug but told her that she has to stop having temper tantrums and expecting me to give in, she said its not nice and that now she has to apologize to me, and she said that really they weren't supposed to be playing the game because it was for a treat.

Now this causes a few reactions from me, a whole mumble jumble of thoughts. I never think negative of the mother, and I always think that she doesn't mean to offend me whenever she says anything. So when the mother said the kid had to apologize to me, again I didn't expect an apology or anything and I understand its the way of kids. But then when she says that they weren't supposed to be playing the game. In a way it implies that I shouldn't have brought the game down to let them play with it. As a negative thing on my part, but yet I know she didn't mean it that way. But still I want to do what the mother says. So then other times I say "no" to the kids, and follow what the mother says. But then it gets the kids all upset and everything, and sometimes its just not worth it. As long as its not a bad or dangerous thing, then I would give in to them.

Then there's also the right to personal space. As a babysitter I don't feel like this right is necessary. I let the kids sit on my lap or play with my hair. A lot of times they ask me to pick them up and carry them. So of course once I carry one of them, the others also wants a ride, so I have to do each one, so then it could get out of hand and I put a limit. But then if its only one kid that wants me to carry them, then I would. The mother would tell the kid not to make me carry her around all day. Which again is a valid concern, but again I didn't mind. So I wasn't gonna put the kid down the second the mother said that, but I wasn't gonna answer back either. So I would carry her to where she was going, and then put her down and say "no more".


  1. I guess you have to have a good judement on what to do and when. It probably took a while to figure out what you could do and what not.

  2. i always hated babysitting or watching the kids when the mother was home, i was always worried that she was watching my every move, ready to critcize.

    i usally try to a little more chilled though. i think kids don't like it when their parents aren't home, so they're already a little antagonistic towards me. the best jobs i had was where the kids liked it when i came becuase they knew bedtime was a little later, they could watch tv, have a snack before bed...

    btw, i haven't read your blog in ages and ages becuase i've been so busy finishing up my semester. i feel like i've missed out on so many good posts!

  3. mikeinmidwood: True, it does take judgment. But I'm not sure if I even figured it out yet.

    frumcollegegirl: yea, I feel the same, although I don't think she'd actually criticize me, but she might be thinking it in her head. But the way I babysit now, from 3:15 to 4:15 its just me and the kids, but then 4:15 the mother comes home (sometimes later) and I watch her kids with her there till 5:15, while she cooks supper and takes care of stuff she has to do in the house without the kids being around her.
    That's true, its understood that when there's a babysitter the kids won't go to sleep normal time, and they get extra treats, I forgot about that.
    I've noticed! Thanx!
    Yea, I'm busy too, I'm behind in my blog reading by at least 73 blog posts. Now I have a final tomorrow, and I'm basically prepared, I just have to fix up a final paper for the class and I'm getting lazy so I'm taking a break. Hopefully I'll be done early tonight.

  4. You really shouldn't let the kids do something that the mother said they can't do. It doesn't matter what it is. When you allow them to play a game their mother said they can't, you undermine her authority. This is especially important in marriage that when one parent says something, the other must abide by the decision.
    When you let the kids contradict their mother's wishes, they see that all they have to do is wait for her to leave and then they can do what they want.

  5. Moshe: right, that's why I try to stick with what the mother says and not give in to them, but some times its so hard when they don't listen. Plus, I'm not their parent so they don't listen to me the same way as they do to their parents. Sometimes if they want something that I know their mother won't let, I'll tell them that I'll call their mother to find out if she lets and then they speak to their mother and either she says yes or no. If she says yes then it works fine, if she says no then they usually cry to her on the phone so then I feel a little better, that she knows how impossible their being, so that it's not my fault. Then she usually says she'll be home in a few minutes and talk to them then.

  6. My son tries to throw tantrums, lies on the floor, cries. I just go to the computer and ignore him. He more or less learned that if I tell him something, it stays. I'm not gonna change my mind and he knows not to mess with me. My wife mostly supports me on this too. His grandmas on the other hand...

  7. Exactly that's the difference.
    Parents could stick to their rules cause they have unconditional love, and their with their children the whole time, so their molding their children. Grandparents are only there for a little so its ok if the kids get a treat once a while from them. Plus Grandparents only see the good in their grandchildren cause their not raising them.

  8. I can relate to your situation, I was babysitting a little girl almost 2 yrs old and her mom was working from home. I felt as if she was watching my every move and didn't feel quite comfortable of the situation . Everytime the girl cries it seemed like i was the one to blame. It didn't make any sense because they will cry because they can't speak yet. So everytime she cries i felt as the mother was blaming me for her crying and would get very angry at me .So i decided to leave the job and find a job w/out the mother around. Also when my cell phone rang the little girl would grab my phone and wanted to take pictures w/it.or listen to music. which i didn't mind at all. but i felt the same way if the mom knew i was letting her play w/my phone she would get very upset...

  9. Its great to hear when people can relate.

  10. Free tip for babysitters always attemp to babysit in your own home this gives you more control and always have a lawer draw you up a
    contract for the parents to sign always know your rights many parents think that they have the right to control you just cause you are watching there kids which is bullshit

    Your buiness your rules
    they do not like it tell them to find someone else.


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