Most parents—especially mothers—would love to be a stay-at-home parent and take care of their children all day, but the truth of the matter is that in modern society, many families have to have two breadwinners in order to be financially stable, and that requires mom and dad to find a reliable, qualified, and experienced babysitter to watch their little one when they are at work.
When it comes to hiring a babysitter, many mothers and fathers focus on the basics: making sure that the agency or smartphone app they have decided to use conducts a thorough background check on the applicants, that the potential sitter clicks with both the parents and the children, and finally, that they have the necessary experience or qualifications to work in this position.
Care points out that as with anything else, there are always risks that parents take when they hire a babysitter because even what appears to be the most carefully vetted person could wind up being a major dud.
For example, there is a leap of faith parents have to take when it comes to hiring a sitter in that they won’t make off with money lying around in the drawers or expensive jewelry.
Other risks that parents take are detailed in the list below.
20 They Might Be Too Young For The Job
Back in the day, it was quite common for teenagers to make a bit of pocket cash by babysitting their younger siblings, their relative’s children and some of the neighborhood kids as well. It was a win-win situation for all: the parents got a chance to go out and relax without breaking the bank and the teens got the chance to get some extra money.
Care points out that thrifty parents might find it convenient to hire the neighborhood teenager or one of their younger relatives, but there’s also the risk that they are too young to handle the responsibility of taking care of younger children. It’s best to go with a more experienced adult as a babysitter rather than someone who is potentially too young for the job.
19 Photos Of Children Can Get Uploaded To Social Media Without Permission
Little Things points out that if parents do not set strict ground rules and put them down in writing, there is a good chance that the babysitter they have chosen to watch their children will think nothing of posting cute photos all over their various social media accounts.
Even if the parents and the sitter are connected on various social media websites, it is still unsettling when the latter decides to uploads photos and videos without the former’s express permission because there’s no way to really trust that someone they know won’t try to do anything nefarious or sketchy with the pictures and video.
18 Lying About Their Experience
Care notes that there’s always the slight chance that the person mom and dad are thinking of hiring is actually lying about their experience. In an age of digital resumes and references, it might seem a bit difficult to fake this kind of experience, but it can be done, so be wary.
In order to lessen this chance, it is a good idea to have a paid trial run where mom or dad can observe the baby sitter in their own home and see how they interact with the little ones so they can judge as to whether or not the person will be a good fit.
17 The Baby Sitter Could Steal Your Stuff
One of the concerns that many parents have when they start the hunt to find a reliable, trustworthy and experienced babysitter is the worry that they might try to steal precious items such as old family heirloom jewelry with expensive stones in them or even money.
Mommyish points out that even with all kinds of bank account security and home security systems, parents can run into the off-chance that the person they have hired to watch their children has some sticky fingers and they will try to make off with a ton of cash or something utterly priceless in your room.
16 There Is No Way To Really Check To See If The Sitter Is Being Responsible In Real Time
Care points out that unless mom and dad shell out a lot of money in order to set up cameras in every single room of the house or the apartment, there is no feasible way to keep an eye on the baby sitter while they are at work or out on the town and make sure that he or she is being responsible.
At some point, parents just have to accept that even though they checked the sitter’s references and qualifications with a fine-toothed comb and a keen eye, there are no guarantees in life and they have to resign themselves to the fact that they can’t be certain that the person they hired will be responsible.
15 Baby Sitter Might Be On Certain Meds That Impair Their Cognitive Function
Anxious Toddlers notes that there are certain prescribed meds that can impair a babysitter’s cognitive function and judgment.
In general, most responsible baby sitters will be honest with a potential client if they routinely take something for some sort of health issue that makes their brain feel a bit fuzzy during the day or that has the side effect of making them feel incredibly sleepy or lethargic because it is important to be honest, but not everyone will be so forthcoming about what they ingest and may not say anything at all, lest it cost them losing a potential gig.
14 No Way To Know If The Sitter Will Have A Nervy Spazz Over Minor Issues
When interviewing potential baby sitters, Anxious Toddlers writes that most parents ask about their previous experience, their qualifications, how long they have been working in this particular field and if they have any references that they could contact.
What most forget to ask are the hard questions, especially such as “What has been the most stressful scenario you have experienced as a sitter?” It might sound silly, but the responses can help parents weed out the sitters that would have a nervy spazz and start tearing their hair out over minor issues versus the ones that would keep their cool.
13 They Might Bring Unsavory Folks Over To Your House
Little Things writes that one risk parents take when setting blanket rules is that they aren’t specific enough and the baby sitter could be cunning enough to use them as a loophole in order to bring unsavory folks around their children.
Care adds that moms and dad should have a chat amongst themselves and brainstorm a long list of realistic expectations and rules that they want their babysitter to follow when they are in the house or apartment. It might not be a deterrent for everyone, but it can help lessen the chance that they will bring some sketchy folks into your living quarters.
12 Baby Sitter Might Not Take Kindly To Any Pets
Care points out that parents in a pet-friendly home might feel a bit more relaxed after they run a background search and check a sitter’s references only to find that they have a clean record and an impeccable history among past clients.
However, no matter how many background and reference checks you do, there is no guarantee that they will like the pets in the home. Sure, if asked, they might say that they love pets, but it is pretty easy to say one thing and act another way when no one is around. It’s best to hire someone that is clearly enthusiastic about both children and pets, just to be safe.
11 The App You Used Might Slack Off On Performing Background Checks
Nowadays, it is easy to purchase things online as well as hire someone. For example, pet owners that need dog walkers to take their pooches out when they’re at work, there are several apps that allow them to hire a dog walker without having to go through word of mouth.
Forbes warns parents looking to use similar apps in order to find a reliable baby sitter that there is no guarantee that they actually performed extensive background and reference checks on the applicant. Even if the company says that they did, there is always the chance that some unsavory folks slipped through the cracks and are now promoting themselves as baby sitters.
10 Your Sitter Might Rely On Old-School Punishment Methods
Very Well Family writes that using positive reinforcement is the best way to deal with children because it avoids any potential fall-out (such as behavioral issues) from using old-school disciplinarian methods and it teaches them to be more responsible.
Care adds that when it comes to hiring a baby sitter, there is always the chance that they practice the more old-fashioned and outdated methods of disciplining children unless you scrutinize them during the interview. For example, asking how they would modify a child’s behavior and inquiring about the discipline methods that were used on them when they were children and growing up.
9 They Forged Their Qualifications
According to KidSit, when hiring a babysitter, it is important to make sure that they have certain qualifications, such as successfully completing a basic babysitting course and first aid training. It also helps if the applicant has taken infant care classes and has a driver’s license with a clean record too.
Given the fact that photo editing software is freely available, it is important to ask that the sitter brings over his or her qualifications and certificates so you can see for yourself that they are legitimate. It is also a good idea to research the place they received their qualifications to make sure that they are legitimate too.
8 Using Products That Clog Up The Air In The House
Care points out that unless parents clearly state in writing that the babysitter is not allowed to use any items that can clog up the air house or apartment with foul smells or a grey, cloudy vapor that clings to the furniture and everyone’s clothes, there is always the chance that the sitter will use such things once mom and dad leave.
That’s why it is so important to make sure that there is a list of ground rules and expectations (preferably in writing)—that way, parents have something to bolster their argument if they find that the sitter went behind their back and tries to pretend that they didn’t know it was against “the rules.”
7 Bringing Their Significant Other Over
Care adds that another important rule that parents need to be very upfront and clear about lest the babysitter take advantage of the fact that they are alone in the house or apartment and bring their significant other over is that under no circumstances should the person they are seeing come over while they are working.
It’s one thing if their significant other drops them off and picks them up, but there are always unscrupulous people out there that will try to use their babysitting gig as a way to surreptitiously spend time with the person they are seeing and thus get distracted from performing their job.
6 Trashing Your House Or Apartment
Care points out that it is a bit too much added stress on the babysitter for a parent to ask that he or she is also to act as a housekeeper. It’s one thing to expect them to wash the dishes if they have to feed the children a meal, but asking them to do other chores such as the laundry is a bit too much.
That being said, parents also have every right to expect that their sitter won’t leave the house or apartment a total mess—such as not cleaning up after the children. One risk that every parent takes when hiring a sitter is that they could take advantage of the fact that this place isn’t their home and leave the living quarters messy because they figured it’s best to let the parents handle it.
5 Taking Kids Out For High-Risk Activities
When my little sister was a child and my mother went back to work after her maternity leave ended, she hired a babysitter to watch over her during the day. Most of the time, the sitter played fun games with my sister and they watched television. Every so often they’d take a walk around the block or she’d watch from the stoop as my sister rode her tricycle up and down the driveway for an hour or two.
Unless it is made crystal clear, Anxious Toddlers points out there is always the chance that a babysitter could take the child out for a high-risk activity because he or she doesn’t think that something could happen. For example, they might let the child swim in the pool in the backyard during the summer because they erroneously think that nothing will go wrong.
4 They're On Their Devices All Day Instead Of Watching The Kids
Let’s face it, most people nowadays can’t live without technological devices such as a smartphone or tablet. There are always going to be people who work at a dull office job that will sneak a quick glance on their smartphone when no one is looking because they want to see if anything interesting is happening on social media, but most babysitters should be smart enough to know that when working with kids, anything can happen in the blink of an eye and to put such devices away.
Care notes that even if a babysitter says they won’t be on their phone all the time they are working with the parents’ child, there’s always the slight risk that they could be glued to their devices the entire time and don’t pay attention to the little one.
3 They Don't Know How To Handle A Severe Allergy Attack
Plenty of adults and children have to deal with mild to moderate allergies. As a child, I had to constantly go for allergy shots because I used to wind up getting a sinus infection thanks to all of the pollen and mold flying around in the spring that would get stuck in my nose and cause a whole host of issues. Then there are some people that have pretty severe allergies—such as they can’t even smell peanut butter or they will have a negative reaction.
Food Allergy notes that unless mom and dad seek out a sitter that is experienced in working with children with food allergies, they run the risk that their little one could have a reaction and the person hired to watch them won’t know what to do because they’ve never dealt with this before.
2 Opening The Door To Every Stranger That Knocks
It should be common sense for everyone—even a babysitter—that it is not a good idea to open the door for any stranger that starts knocking.
Of course, common sense sometimes isn’t all that common and Care adds that there is a slim chance that they will hear a knock at the door and won’t even think twice about opening it to see who it is, especially if they live in a neighborhood that hasn’t had a lot of incidents that required the cops to come onto the scene. Still, it’s always better to hire someone that will play it safe than sorry.
1 Leaving The Doors And Windows Unlocked
When my sister and I were growing up, my parents were very strict about keeping the windows and the doors locked. They got lucky that the babysitter they hired when my little sister was a child was also quite strict with making sure everything was locked; she’d often triple-check to make sure that everything was secure on the off-chance she took my sister out for a walk in the stroller.
Care notes that even the most responsible babysitter can slip up and leave the doors and the windows unlocked because either they forgot or they erroneously think that nothing will happen if they’re out with the kids for a short time.
Sources: Little Things, Anxious Toddlers, Forbes, Care, Mommyish, Very Well Family, KidSit, Food Allergy.