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Am I a bad babysitter? - June 8th 2012, 05:31 PM

I haven't babysat in several years, and in the past I remember always being very responsible and having nothing go wrong. However, I just started babysitting for a new family to whom I was referred by a friend, and I feel like I keep making mistakes. I have only babysat for them twice, but the first time I took the girl to bed at bedtime and was reading her stories. We read for awhile, and I was just finishing the last story when her parents came home (I completely lost track of time since I didn't bring my phone upstairs!). She rushed downstairs, and I told them that we were just reading before bed. How embarrassing. This time, they asked me to babysit in the morning, to walk the dog, and to do some math worksheets with her. She didn't want to eat breakfast, so they told me to "encourage her to eat". I walked the dog with her, which took forever, and then she didn't want to eat breakfast, and somehow in the midst of all her sassing I forgot about the math worksheets! We drew together, and she wanted to turn the TV on but couldn't find the remote, so I found it for her. We drew while we watched some Disney Channel show, and then I convinced her to eat breakfast, which she was doing when her mom came home. Only then did I remember the math worksheets. I offered to do them with her before I left, but the mom said it was fine, she just wanted to make sure she was doing something productive instead of watching TV. Apparently, the mom told the daughter that she was not allowed to watch TV but neglected to tell me. She had even hidden the remote (though it didn't look hidden to me; it was next to the cable box when I found it). The mom didn't seem irritated and was friendly, but I still feel like I was super irresponsible. What do you think?
   
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Re: Am I a bad babysitter? - June 8th 2012, 07:06 PM

Hello, and welcome to TeenHelp!

I have never babysat before, but based on what I read, I don't think you're an irresponsible babysitter. =) Some children are more difficult/fussy/temperamental than others, so you need to put a lot more effort into getting them to comply. Also, keep in mind that you just started babysitting for this family. You're a stranger to this child and to her parents, so it's going to take a while for you to develop a real relationship with them. Until that happens, communication may be a bit muddled at times, but the bottom-line is that you're doing the best you can with the information you're being given, and you're showing responsibility by being willing to correct your mistakes afterward.





   
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Re: Am I a bad babysitter? - June 8th 2012, 09:02 PM

I don't think you're a bad babysitter!!
I think when you're looking after someone's kid they feel compelled to leave you with guidelines bed times, things you could do etc. etc. etc. at the end of the day you're caring for something which is uber important to them, personally I've often found that these guidelines are just that - guidelines! They're not rules which you have to obey no matter what or the world will end.
To me it seems great that even if you weren't doing the math worksheets or whatever, you were doing something constructive with the kid you were babysitting, reading to them or drawing with them or encouraging them to eat breakfast are all really useful things that I'm sure the parent will appreciate because it shows that you're interacting and bonding with their child in a positive manner.
As long as you don't decide to pump their kid full of candy, let them stay up until 3am, get a tattoo etc. etc. etc. I think you'll be fine ... All joking aside, keep doing the things that will help you get to know this kid whilst encouraging them to do things that will be useful and beneficial (like eat breakfast!) sure if you can fit in a math sheet here and there that'd be great, but it's not the end of the world and you are not a bad babysitter!


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Re: Am I a bad babysitter? - June 8th 2012, 09:43 PM

I often babysit for my neighbours and I've found that as long as thier children are safe and cared most parents won't actually mind if you are just finishing reading a story or something. My neighbours kids do the same, I've found that now I'm used to my neighbours kids etc I've learnt thier little tricks etc and such like and now things go pretty smoothly. Occasionally things do go wrong like the kids try and get round me and I did fall for it the other time, it was 5 minuets till their bed-time the kids asked me for a drink, I couldn't say no but at the same time it was thier bed time, so after that I got the kids into bed and read them a story (3 kids in the age range of 3-10) so got one to bed, then the next and then finally the three 3 year old who decided because his siblings were going to bed he would, so we took the toys out of his cot etc, read him a book and such like, dimmed his light and left his door a jar, i then checked on the other kids who were reading or playing in their room which they do before bed , and then i went downstairs sat down and the 7 year old comes down saying thier older brothers hit them so up I go can't find the ten year old, get the seven year old settled, hear a noise downstairs , frontdoors open tell the 7 year old to stay in her room which she does and i go downstairs and call out hello hello and the dad appears and I explained the situation etc he understood completely. parents are usually pretty understanding. I would say if the parents keep asking you back to babysit for them you are doing alright, if the parents weren't happy with you they would not keep asking you back to babysit. Kids like to test the boundaries, see what they can get away with etc, thats what kids do. And as long the kids are fine the parents are usually happy!



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Re: Am I a bad babysitter? - June 9th 2012, 04:40 AM

I don't consider you to be that bad. We all make mistakes sometimes, it can be hard especially since children are all over the place sometimes.

Like once, I was babysitting this energetic two year old, and I didn't have to put him to sleep (... His parents always said it was alright) and he got all dirty from something, so I grabbed a cloth and put him on the table and began to wipe him down, forgetting that I didn't put him down or that he climbed back up, anyways, I come back out and he's still on the table and the flowers and the dirt have been knocked over! I felt horrible, and I told the parents and they understood since he did it before.


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Re: Am I a bad babysitter? - June 9th 2012, 12:24 PM

Oh, trust me, you know what's worse? I was babysitting an 18 month boy and when I rushed to pick up the families phone, he got on the couch and started reaching for something on the counter. I rushed back around with the to stop him, but he fell off before I got there and banged is head on the wall. He was ok, no serious damage, but I had to (embarrassingly) give him back to his mom with a bruise on his forehead. But I would say I am still a good babysitter. Most parents don't expect babysitters to be perfect. I know I was being babysat and I fell over while playing with my brother and split my lip when I was younger. Kids will be kids, they get hurt or throw tantrums. I know a lot of kids who know that they aren't allowed to do something but will go to the other parent (or babysitter, grandparent etc) and ask them instead and NOT say that mom/dad already said no in hopes that the other person doesn't know they already were told no and will allow it instead. I would say that you haven't mentioned anything that sounds all that horrible, you were reading her stories to try to put her to bed, no biggie, lots of kids stay up a bit later than they should sometimes, and the parents probably understand that since it was your first time babysitting her so you weren't used to her routine and got behind. And as for the homework, do you have any idea how hard it is for some parents to get their kids to do their homework? As long as you explained why it was overlooked and that you just were unaware of the fact that the mom had said no, I'm sure she'll understand.
   
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Re: Am I a bad babysitter? - June 9th 2012, 02:24 PM

Mistakes happen! It sounds like mom was sort of testing the daughter to see if she'd mind while her parents were gone. I babysit three kids and the oldest boy tricked me into letting doing a lot he isn't normally allowed to do even though he was grounded. Just remember to stand your ground, you aren't a bad babysitter! The parents don't expect miracles from you, it sounds like you're a great babysitter. (:


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