Tips for Your Babysitter: When Your Child Asks Tough Questions

By Ashley Paskill on May 4, 2023

The world is filled with a lot of heavy situations right now, especially in terms of safety at schools but in general as well. As a parent, you know how to deal with tough questions your kids may ask. You know where their maturity level is and what topics they are ready to learn about. This is especially true if you have open communication with your kids and allow them to ask about anything. However, your babysitter may not be as comfortable dealing with tough subjects. Giving your babysitter tips for tough questions and topics your children may bring up is important for establishing trust and communication between you, your child, and your babysitter.

Communication is key

When you first meet with your babysitter, inform them about how open you are with your children. Let them know what topics they may already know about and how to address potential tough topics. Your sitter needs to know how to communicate with your child and your child needs to feel comfortable with your sitter. You also need to be sure that your babysitter feels comfortable coming to you if the child asks tough questions they are not sure how to answer. Communicating with a sitter about what is appropriate and not appropriate to say when certain topics come up is crucial and can help a babysitter learn how to address these topics and questions that arise in the future.

It is also important for your child to communicate with what they already know. This can help your babysitter know what needs to be shared still. Have your babysitter share the truth about the topic or situation at hand, but do so in a gentle, age-appropriate manner.

Appreciate confidence

While kids ask tough questions in a seemingly easy manner at times, in reality, tough questions and topics are as difficult for them to bring up as it is for adults. Even if your babysitter does not feel comfortable answering a specific question, have them thank the child for trusting them. Have the babysitter say something along the lines of “Thank you for trusting me with this question. I am not sure of the answer, but we can ask your parents when they get home.” This gives the sitter an “out,” allows the child to see that even adults struggle, and gives you the control to answer the question in a way your child will understand.

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Show compassion

One of the key things your babysitter needs to do is show compassion when a child trusts them with a tough question. Even if it is something they are unable or unwilling to address, they still need to show the child that it meant a lot that they trusted them enough to bring it up. Have your babysitter thank your child for trusting them with the question or topic as it truly can be difficult for children to bring these topics up.  If your babysitter shows compassion in the face of difficult topics, your child will continue to trust them for future conversations that may be difficult.

Be a role model

It is likely that your babysitter has experience with tough situations and topics that your child may bring up. If your child brings up something situation-specific, your babysitter is likely able to relate to them with their own possible situation. Have the babysitter leverage their past experiences and show the child how to handle the situation. This allows your babysitter to be a positive role model for your child as well as a friend with authority. Being in this kind of relationship allows your child to trust and admire someone outside of the family.

Take child development courses

Parents are acutely aware of the stages of development within children. However, babysitters may not be as familiar with these stages. There are stages where certain topics may come up, and if a child brings up a tough conversation before this stage, it can be hard to navigate how much information is too much or too little. Have your babysitter take a training or course specifically designed for situations where difficult topics arise and how to address difficult topics and questions in an age-appropriate manner. These topics are important, but they need to be addressed appropriately so the child can understand the concept and process the information fully.

Take care of themselves and your child

Tough conversations are difficult for both your child and your babysitter. Be sure to have fun activities or even uplifting shows, movies, or music on-hand for them to engage with. This will teach your child how to handle self-care in the future when dealing with heavy conversations and topics that will inevitably arise. Relaxing activities will also give your babysitter a chance to breathe and relax after a stressful moment of navigation a difficult navigating.

Showing your babysitter how to navigate difficult questions and conversations your child may bring up is crucial for the current world we live in, but it is definitely something that is attainable.

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