Here are the top no-nos parents don't realize they often make when it comes to caring for a good sitter.

babysitter carrying child
Credit: MariaSbytova/

Everyone loves (and needs) good babysitters, and we all know how hard it can be to find one. So whatever you do: Don't blow it!

Here's what not to do to keep yourself from becoming that mom who loses a good babysitter — and the one none of her friends want to work for in the future.

#1 Ignore the extra hours your sitter puts in up front

Not paying your new babysitter for the few extra hours she spent beforehand getting to know your baby and her routine is a huge faux paus, says Kerstin Potter, director of the early-childhood education program at Harcum College, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. That time is not only important for her to do her job well, but it's hard work, and she should be able to bill for it.

#2 Be vague just because it's a friends kid

It's totally OK to rely on your network of friends when it comes to finding a sitter. But hiring a friend's child to babysit, and then not outlining your rules and expectations could end up annoying everyone in the end.

"Even if it's the daughter of a friend, make sure that you are in agreement about her duties," says Angelina Newbury, babysitting instructor at the Women and Infants Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.

#3 Linger when it's time to leave

Resist hanging around awkwardly instead of cheerfully kissing your little one goodbye and leaving the house once your sitter has arrived. When you get where you're going, call home to check that everything is all right, Potter advises.

#4 Skimp on the cell list

Go overboard when it comes to leaving all the phone numbers your new sitter may need. And remember to include all your cell phone numbers. If she ever needs one she doesn't have, it will be bad for all involved.

#5 Forget to tip

You tip you're hairdresser for a job well done, so don't you think it's justified for a sitter to get one for caring for your kid? It's rude not to give a small tip to your babysitter when she does a great job. Reliable, caring babysitters are priceless. You want to hold on to the ones you and baby trust.

Rosemary Black, mother of six, is a writer in Pleasantville, New York.

American Baby