Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Reader Requests 2011 - Post 7

This week we are talking about babysitting. Check out what our reader said...

"I have a 15 month old daughter and we still have yet to find a babysitter. We have family and friends that we can trade off with which is nice, but when trading off with friends and family it makes things hard because we have to drop her off at their house and often when we go out it's almost her bedtime. It would be nice to get a babysitter that we'd pay to come over to our home so we wouldn't have to worry about bedtimes or getting a big diaper bag together when we go out.

I definitely fall in the "worrier" category as a parent so the thought of a teenager watching my child does make me feel a bit uneasy. I also have a child that doesn't eat well (especially for other people) which makes me worry a lot when leaving her with someone, but I really would like to go on more dates with my husband. We live in a ward with very few youth (and most of which are younger youth) so that has made finding a babysitter tough as well.

My questions are:

What have you done to find a babysitter?
How old were your children when you started leaving them with a teenaged babysitter?
What qualities do you look for in a teenaged babysitter?
Are there any ways to help me worry less when leaving her with someone?"

So help her out!! Share your advice about teenage babysitters.


Laura said...

I have also yet to leave my kids with a teenager, but I have no problem leaving them with other adults. If trading is hard, you could try finding a couple without any kids. It has worked out nicely for us to have another couple over to our house. They will play with our girls for a while, put them to bed, then they get their own "date" hanging out at our house, watching a movie or playing our games or whatever.

In the beginning, you could leave for shorter times. Maybe just go out to dinner at a fast food place, so it takes less than an hour. The next time, go to a nicer sit-down restaurant, and maybe the time after that go out to dinner and to some other activity. If you leave for only a short time at first, both you and your daughter will learn that it's ok to be gone for a bit, and everything will be ok when you come home again. :)

Britta said...

I haven't done the 'pay for a babysitter' except once. And I hope to not have to do it too many more times. Its expensive. Before we moved we had a teenager come over who's family lived in the neighborhood. I felt comfortable with her because her mom was only 2 streets away if there was an emergency. I'd always get my kids ready for bed or they'd already be in bed before I left, which left the babysitter to only lay them down and camp out. She was always just fine with me leaving her a bag of popcorn and a few pieces of candy. I think she used it has her YW project for service...

I find that younger teenagers are actually really good babysitters because they are still at an age to want to play with the kids. They are also eager to please and make sure everything is perfect.

I'd ask around in your ward to see who your friends use or ask the YW president who she thinks would be particularly good at babysitting.

Take your phone and make sure your babysitter has a phone. And I agree with Laura that you should probably start out with short dates at first. Also, if you are nervous your kids won't click with them, invite them over for an hour a few days prior to the date so your kids get a chance to see they aren't threatening before you leave.

Megan said...

I've paid for a sitter quite a few times. The first time I paid for a sitter my son was 18-24 months. Even though I've paid them it's always been family that I have left my son with.

When it's not going to be too long I leave my son with my 12 year old cousin. I always make sure she knows where the phone is and I feel really comfortable that my aunt is only 5 minutes away. I also make sure she knows where emergency numbers are, including mine and my husband's cell phones. If it's going to be for a longer time or we are going to be really late I usually have my 16 year old cousin watch my son. I haven't left my 7 week old daughter with anyone but my 19 year old sister or mom.

Like Britta suggested I would talk to the YW's president or the Relief Society president in your ward to find a babysitter in your ward.

Rebecca said...

Thanks everyone for your input. It was all very helpful!

And I never thought about a younger babysitter being better, Britta...but I think that is totally true! There's a 13-14 year old in our ward that is so cute with my little girl but I've never considered her as a babysitter because she seemed too young (still blows my mind that someone trusted me to babysit their kids when I was 11!). I'll definitely have to check with the YW presidency to see if they think she or any other younger youth (which is like 1 or 2 others lol) would be good babysitters.

Thanks again! :)