You met the and have come back each Wednesday to read what they have to say on the newest parenting question. Recently, we invited Wantagh-Seaford Patch parents to join the discussion.
How do you find a babysitter you trust? How do you know when the right babysitter comes along, and how do you make sure your rules are enforced and your child behaves while you're gone?
“Hurry up! Let’s get out of here!” These words resound in my memory. I picture my husband and myself escaping into darkness, running across our front lawn, jumping into the car, riding away (quickly) leaving our children (family A) with a baby sitter.
Our children’s babysitters consisted of family members, teenagers from the neighborhood, especially from our own street (it was a short escort home after 12 a.m.), reliable ex-students, my children’s classroom helpers and siblings of my children’s peers. I am truly resourceful when it comes to hiring the perfect sitter.
When family B was formed, (he is now 12 years old), my older children took the place of neighborhood employees. Now that they are grown and live their own plans-as it should be- I am seeking a new round of young adults (usually, my older children’s friends) to help with our youngest son.
Relying on my instincts in choosing a baby sitter always works out best for me. I make a conscious effort to hire a teenager. These young adults are innovative, reliable, honest, have a great sense of humor and do not allow little upsets to bother them. They are looking for some extra cash also. Family members are a big help in a pinch, but in my opinion, teenagers as babysitters rule.
Kathleen Vaughan Ware
Personally, I have only had family members babysit for my children. This of course meant none of my rules were enforced while I was out.
After 23 years, I have come to the conclusion that my sainted mother has no idea how to say “no” to her grandchildren. It never ceases to amaze me how this former no nonsense, take no crap, tough Irish parent has morphed into a teddy bear.
When my sisters and I were kids, we had a strict 8:30 p.m. lights out bedtime, at least until middle school. Rarely did we even get up to go to the bathroom after that for fear of the “Why aren’t you sleeping!” yell. Oh how the tides would change once my mother took on the title of “Nana”.
Nana Rules are the only ones enforced when she babysits, and they are often created by her as my children get older. Once, when my daughter Erin was a few months old, I remember Nana coming to spend the weekend with us. As my husband and I were leaving, I clearly remember telling my mother not to take the baby out of the crib if she cried. We returned a few hours later to find Erin sound asleep on my mother’s chest. I looked at her and rolled my eyes. “Babies like to fall asleep to the sound of a heartbeat” she matter of factly stated.
When she babysat a few years later, I came home to find Nana and my children inhaling pints of ice cream way past their bedtime curfew. I glanced in disbelief at my mother. “They were practically starving to death,” she deadpanned, and quickly retreated into the guest room.
My friends use local teenagers to babysit, and they love them. Some of the teens have Red Cross babysitting certification, and a few even bring crafts for the kids. I recently told my daughter I was thinking of hiring one of the girls to babysit, to which she quickly replied, “You can’t! That will hurt Nana’s feelings!” When I asked her why she thought hiring someone for a few hours would hurt my mother’s feelings, she simply said “Cause Nana told me there’s no reason anyone else should ever watch me”. Nana Rules.