How to Keep Your Babysitter Happy and Maintain the Babysitter Zen

keep babysitter happy

As we get transferred all over Canada, my number one priority has been keeping our babysitter happy!

For several of my parenting years, I felt like my continual mantra was “Why Can’t I Find a Babysitter in Canada?”

My husband and our three children were transported to Vancouver, then Edmonton, and now Toronto. In the process, we experienced a drought of solid child care options.

However, now that we have found and employed our very own part-time Mary Poppins, our life is full of sunshine, rainbows, and lollipops.

Here are my favorite tips for maintaining our babysitting zen:

  • I let my kids LOVE the babysitter.  I do not worry that their adoration of her will supplant me as Mother of the Year. Let them share their sticky kisses with her. I am not in competition with someone who is getting paid to do what I do for free.
  • Similarly, I speak positively about my babysitter in front of my children. For the sake of argument, let’s say that a certain clever six-year old declares, “{Mary Poppins} never yells like you do, Mommy!” Despite the numerous witty comebacks that I might have to such an observation, I refrain from a retort that would demean our babysitter.
  • I am personal but professional. My children’s babysitter is not my therapist, nor am I her therapist. We are friendly, but we are not best friend-sy.
  • I respect her time. If we agree that her work day will end at 6 PM, then I will plan on being home at 5:50. I do not take advantage of my babysitter’s kindness to run another quick errand or to linger for an extra few minutes over a latte with a friend.
  • Finally, we remember our babysitter’s birthday. Each of my kids make her a card, and if it is not a day that she is working for us, I take a picture of my little cherubs with their homemade cards of stick figures and lopsided hearts, and I send the picture to her via e-mail. This year – her second year with us –  we got her a small gift. It was not an exorbitant amount of money, but it also was not a re-gift. We know that our babysitter loves to bake, so we bought her some fancy decorating sugars at a small boutique in downtown Toronto.  She loved them, and we were the lucky recipients of some of her delicious creations!
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