More Tips on Hiring a Teen Babysitter

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Last week I shared tips you can use when you’re hiring a teen babysitter.  Not only have I been a teen babysitter and hired many babysitters, but as the mother of 2 teens that babysit frequently, I have even more tips on hiring a teen babysitter. These are the tips the mother of your babysitter wants you to know.

teen girl looking to side with young boy in background and text overlay

More Tips on Hiring a Teen Babysitter

The first two tips today are mistakes I made and learned from.  Sometimes you just don’t think of the little things until they’re needed.

pink, black and blue graphic that says "leave a flashlight on the counter"

I think of myself as a very responsible person and parent, but sometimes you just don’t think of everything.  One time I got a call from the babysitter asking where we kept our flashlights.  The power had gone out and she and my children, ages 5 and 3, were bumbling around in the dark trying to find a flashlight.  It had never occurred to me that the power might go out while I was gone and that my babysitter would have no idea where I keep the flashlight.  After that I always left a flashlight next to our cell phone numbers on the counter.

Make it easier to keep the babysitter informed of all important information with the editable Babysitter checklist I created for you.

images of 3 babysitter checklists in purple and rainbow colors
pink, black and blue graphic that says "write down your address, house phone & cell phone numbers"

Prior to our babysitter calling to ask where our flashlight was she sat in the dark with my children for 10-15 minutes and then called her mother.  (I don’t know why, but your babysitter will always hesitate to bother you by calling.  My daughters do the same thing when they babysit.) Her mother was going to drive over to my house with a flashlight for her daughter, but neither the mother nor my babysitter knew my street address (I had picked up the babysitter and driven her to my house).  After that I always left my address and home phone number written down next to my cell phone number on the counter.  What if there had been an emergency and the babysitter needed to call 911 but hadn’t known our street address. (hyperventilating mother here).

pink, black and blue graphic that says "don't ask your teen babysitter to dispense medication to your children that you can do yourself earlier or later"

My daughters have babysat for children that had an EpiPen and have been told by the mother how to use it if necessary.   This was  prudent, but most likely the EpiPen would never have to be used.  It was just a wise precaution.  However, another family asked my daughter to dispense routine allergy medication while the parents were gone.  In this situation, the parents could have given the medication prior to departing or after they returned.  It was not necessary for my daughter to give their child the medication.  Although my child is very responsible and has completed the Red Cross babysitter training, she is still. a. child.  I do not think you really want another child dispensing medication to your child.  I know I don’t want her giving your child medication, that should be your responsibility.

pink, black and blue graphic that says "don't have a young teen babysitter bathe your young child"

 Before I allowed my daughters to babysit, I made sure they both completed the Red Cross babysitting course.  Both of my daughters are very responsible and I wouldn’t let them have responsibility for your children if I didn’t think they could handle it.  But, please limit the risky situations you put your child and mine in while she is babysitting for you.  One family asked my 12-year-old daughter to bathe their 2-year-old child the first time she babysat for them.  She was young enough that she didn’t feel comfortable saying no (and I didn’t find out about it until she got home).   Accidents happen in bathtubs all the time with adults present.  There are many reasons why you shouldn’t ask my teen to bathe your young child.  Although, my children are very honest and trustworthy, you really don’t know that.  Why would you want to place your child in a vulnerable position with an unknown person?  I’m pretty sure that the bath could wait until tomorrow.  And if the bath really couldn’t wait, then you should probably have taken care of it yourself before you left.

pink, black and blue graphic that says "tell your babysitter where to find the toilet plunger"

 This is one of those you-don’t-think-of-it-until-it’s-too-late ones.  But if your toilet has problems, please leave the plunger out and point it out to your babysitter before you leave and before she has to deal with a crisis.

pink, black and blue graphic that says "don't ask your babysitter to fold the underwear in your laundry"

Sooooo, I understand that you’re paying your babysitter good money.  And you figure that she doesn’t have anything to do after your children go to bed, but you’re still paying her.  So-ooo, you figure it’s only fair for you to leave a list of chores for her to do since you’re paying her.  I disagree.  You are paying your babysitter to watch your children.  Just because you say that bed is 8pm, doesn’t mean that your children lay down and go to sleep at 8.  Your babysitter has to work much harder than you do to get them to go to bed, stay in bed and actually go to sleep.  Your babysitter really has less “extra” time than you may think.  But if you still want to give her chores to do, please do not ask her to fold laundry that contains the underwear of anyone over the age of 5 or 6.  It’s embarrassing for my daughter to fold your or your husband’s underwear (yewwwww!) and it’s embarrassing for your child to realize that the babysitter folded their underwear. (Trust me.  My daughter has been put in this situation several times.)

Having said all that, my child and I deeply appreciate that you trust her and are engaging her in meaningful employment.  To teach my children financial responsibility, they are expected to budget for all their own expenses and earning income is part of  that process.  So, thank you for helping me teach my children a good work ethic and financial responsibility.  We promise to treat you and your children with respect and to behave responsibly.  We only ask that you do the same for us and these more tips on hiring a teen babysitter will help us both. 

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Parenting Tips from a Mother of 3 and Parent Educator

pink, black and blue graphic that says "answer your cell phone if your babysitter calls"

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  1. Good tips! I’m not sure my teenage son would know all the stuff that you mentioned for taking care of his siblings. I think I need to make up a cheat sheet for anyone home alone or home alone with the kids.

  2. Hi Susan – Oh yes, the toilet issue. Parents were out of the country and I was care-giver for a week. Toilet was overflowing from cauliflower (toddler putting it in there prior to my week) and I had to call a plumber to fix. Strange man in a strange house with two little ones – we all sat on the couch together and waited for him to leave. Awkward! Thanks Part 2 for sharing! Hugs, Holly

  3. These are all excellent points and I am sure some that parents just wouldn’t think about. I am glad you shared them and will make sure I share this so others can see it too!

  4. These are wonderful tips. My husband and I need to get past our fear of leaving our children with someone other than family. Especially since we will soon be PCSing away from any!

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