In 2015 we moved nearly 2,000 miles away from our closest family and friends to a new area where we knew no one. And suddenly being able to find a babysitter was extremely important. BUT SO DAUNTING!
Where to start when looking for a babysitter
We had so many questions, and very few answers. You’ll find 10 of the most common questions about having a babysitter for your kids below and it’s a great place to start your childcare hunting journey!
What does a babysitter do? What are their duties?
Their main responsibility is to keep your kids safe. They might do crafts and activities, play games, or just ensure that everyone in the house is safe. But beyond that, expectations are completely up to you.
If you decide they should be helping pick up toys, that screen time is off limits, or other rules, it’s best to make those expectations clear from the beginning.
A great list to get you started is this article on 5 qualities parents should look for in a babysitter. And it answers both the questions of what babysitters do and what they should be aware of in your home.
What should every babysitter know?
It’s important that all babysitters have a basic understanding of how your house operates and where you’ll be. Depending on your children and their needs, there will be more things you’ll expect your babysitter to know, understand, and abide by.
Read all about the important information every babysitter needs to know before you leave the house.
What do babysitters get paid?
The age old question… “What is the babysitter rate in my area?” It pops up all the time in mom groups and is always a hot topic among new parents. But to know what to pay your babysitter How much per hour, it will depend on what you’re expecting them to do, how long they’ll be in the home, how often they come, and more.
Read all about how to pay an appropriate babysitter rate.
Find our FREE babysitter printable at the bottom of this guide!
How can I make sure my babysitter knows how to handle emergencies?
First and foremost it is important to train your kids to be ready. They’re the ones in the home daily. So knowing a fire evacuation plan, tornado plan, and more should be discussed at least quarterly with the whole family.
Then, go through these emergency situations babysitters should be prepared for to make sure they’re well-equipped to handle anything that happens in this crazy world!
Finally, grab an inexpensive home cell phone. We get ours through Republic and have it pre-programmed on the home screen with important numbers. Once a child or the babysitter clicks it, a picture pops up to confirm that’s who they should be calling. It’s a really cheap way to ensure our kids’ safety.
Why hire a babysitter?
Babysitting is important for marriages, it’s vital for getting some space to breathe a little, and can even be a blessing to the kids.
But I am going to assume, if you’re looking at this, you probably already know how important it is to get a break.
Is appropriate to expect Babysitting for a sick child?
Some sitters are perfectly ok with watching sick children. But some are not. It is more likely that a nanny or an older woman with lots of experience caring for sick children is more willing to watch your kids when they’re not feeling well.
It should be discussed before the day you have to call telling them your child isn’t feeling well. It’s incredibly important that the person caring for your child feel equipped, and that’s typically not going to be your regular teen or college age sitter.
What to do when the babysitter cancels.
Having a long list of back-up childcare is important to have for emergency situations, but sometimes when it’s “just” a date with your spouse, there are a lot of at-home date ideas you can create!
Keep in mind who might be willing to watch your kids that aren’t your typical sitter:
- Other parent friends
- Those you go to church with
- Drop-in centers in your area
Did you know that most YMCAs offer babysitting even for non members once a month if you sign up ahead of time? It’s a great, inexpensive way for you to get out while also letting your children play with others.
How to handle if your baby or child cries when the babysitter comes.
One of the most prevalent reasons kids cry with babysitters is because of anxiety, especially in young kids and toddlers.
One of the best things we can do for them is to “front load” and set appropriate expectations so that they understand what is coming and what to expect from the situation. Read more about strategies for handling social worry in kids. (It’s title is for toddlers, but is appropriate for all ages).
When is babysitter appreciation day?
It may sound silly at first, but think about just how much you depend on your babysitter and how much they mean to your kids. It’s a special treat when they come so why not celebrate them?!
Each year, National Babysitter Appreciation Day is the Saturday before Mothers’ Day. You can share pictures (with their permission of course) on twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. with #NationalBabysittersDay to give a shout out to your caregiver.
Here are the dates for the coming years:
- May 12, 2018
- May 11, 2019
- May 9, 2020
- May 8, 2021
- May 7, 2022
Is a nanny and a babysitter the same?
No, not necessarily. A nanny is going to be someone that cares for kids more regularly and acts in the place of a parent in more aspects than a babysitter. A nanny may care for kids daily, 3 times a week, or on a certain schedule. They also typically take on tasks like cleaning or driving kids to activities that a babysitter wouldn’t normally do.
Are babysitter expenses tax deductible?
Remember that typically childcare expenses can only apply to tax deductions when they directly relate to allowing a working parent carry out their job duties. (Or to look for a job). Child care credits also only apply to kids under the age of 13 and cannot be applied to a spouse caring for the children.
According to Turbotax:
If you paid a daycare center, babysitter, summer camp, or other care provider to care for a qualifying child under age 13 or a disabled dependent of any age, you may qualify for a tax credit of up to 35 percent of qualifying expenses of $3,000 for one child or dependent, or up to $6,000 for two or more children or dependents.
In general, babysitting just for date nights are not going to be something the IRS will allow you to claim on your taxes. But if you have a legitimate reason outside of date nights, it’s definitely something to look into.
Be sure to grab our free babysitter notes printable. Here is partial preview, signup below!