Babysitter Basics

Working with Your Sitter

For many parents, hiring a sitter is their first experience of being an employer, and most are unsure how to develop and strengthen the relationship with someone who is such an important person to the family. It's essential that you and the sitter agree on what the job entails. Have a written agreement spelling out the parameters of the job -- the hours, the pay, the benefits, when payments are made, the additional compensation for additional hours, vacations, etc.

To help the relationship run smoothly:

  • Realize that the sitter has a life of her own. You may think of your sitter as a part of your family, but she's got her own life and, perhaps, her own children, too. Invite her to join any family activities that are not part of her job, but don't feel rejected if she chooses not to join you.
  • Be mindful of your agreement. Don't expect your sitter to accept additional hours without additional pay or to alter her plans at the last minute to meet your schedule. Plan ahead and check any changes that you may need with her. Likewise, pay her on time and fully, including any overtime due.
  • Respect cultural differences and differences in beliefs and attitudes. Unless a difference impinges on your child's well-being, realize that exposure to the ideas of others can be a good thing for your child.
  • Act respectively toward her. Speak to her in the same tones you'd speak to another adult rather than speaking down to her. Don't correct her in front of the children. If an issue needs to be discussed, set aside time to talk to her privately and be willing to listen as well as to speak.

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