I’ve been interviewing some of my babysitters to get the inside information on things they wish parents knew. If you missed the first two parts of this little series, take a look at Monday and Tuesday’s posts. Let’s find out more.

Written instructions are a lifeline. Whenever I write things down for a sitter, I sort of feel like that mom. You know the one. But they tell me they love when we write things down. Even though they nod their head and say okay when you are giving them verbal instructions, it’s possible they won’t remember what you said once you leave. The truth is, often times the kids are competing with you for the sitters’ attention so they tend to be distracted when they first arrive.

Here is their list of helpful things to have on paper:

  • What time the kids should eat. If it doesn’t matter, make one up.
  • What time they normally begin to get ready for bed. They watch the clock to get this one right. They don’t want to be the sitter who lets the kids stay up too late.
  • How many books to read.
  • Any rituals that are essential to a smooth night (like if your kid needs to shake your hand five times each and kiss you on both cheeks before they can relax. Not that I know anyone like that…it’s just a random example that I just made up).
  • Instructions on how to work the TV/DVD player (if they and the kids are even allowed to watch…write that down, too).

But please remember to allow flexibility. Let them know that these are guidelines for them to refer to if it helps them rather than a rigid schedule that would only cause more stress.

Okay. It’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty: Let’s talk about money. This is by far one of the most stressful parts of hiring a new sitter for me. The bottom line is I don’t want to be the cheapskate mom who doesn’t pay the sitter enough. So let’s get this out in the open.

They are never gonna tell us how much to pay them. They actually said “We will NEVER tell you how much to pay us.” I think one of the first things I always want to ask a new sitter is how much they charge. They don’t charge. They just get paid. They are students. We are grown ups. End of story. Inevitably what happens is they say “I’ll take whatever you wanna pay me.” And they always do.

But our interview happened over brownies at about 11:30 at night so they got a little chatty. I found out that $8/hour is the going rate. At least around here. From what I could gather, $10/hour is really good and $7/hour is just okay. The number of kids doesn‘t change the amount of pay they expect, and neither does age. Although they all agreed that sitting for newborns is extremely stressful because “they’re so…new.”

I pay the same when they have just one of mine who is sleeping as I do when they have all three awake. From my perspective, it all eventually evens out. That way when I call them to sit, they always know how much they’re gonna get paid.

The only time they think they may get a little more money is if they are sitting for multiple families at one time, like if an adult small group needs sitters for all of their kids while they meet. That is a lot of work and a lot of kids. Usually all the families pitch in a certain amount for their own children.

Wow. These are getting lengthy! It’s just that these girls had so many great things to say that I don’t want to leave anything out. I’ll finish it up tomorrow. In the meantime, please check out the comments section if you haven’t already. You all have the BEST stories and some great sitter advice as well. Thanks for chatting and I can’t wait to hear what else you have to say.