5 Ways to Ensure Your Babysitter Isn't Stolen By Another Family

By Alicia Geigel on June 5, 2023

Good babysitters are hard to come by, so when you find a good one, it isn’t bad that you want to hold on to them for good! Over the years, however, it has become increasingly popular for parents to steal babysitters from other families, so much so that there is an official term for the phenomenon- “sitter stealing.” Put simply, sitter stealing is when a parent knowingly uses the services of a babysitter without consulting with the original family the sitter works for. Oftentimes, these parents will fill up the sitter’s schedule and leave little time for the original family to book their services. A poll by Care.com that surveyed 1,000 parents found that 41% of respondents had experienced sitter stealing, with 35% of the parents admitting to keeping the babysitter’s identity a secret.

No one wants to experience losing a babysitter to another parent, especially if they are a good one. If you’re nervous about this happening to you or your family, here are a few different ways you can ensure your sitter isn’t stolen by a different family.

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1. Start with Competitive Pay: Babysitting is not the casual job it was once considered. Today, people across the country are making livelihoods with babysitting jobs and the average rates reflect that. From the start, it is important to establish a competitive rate with your babysitter that is the equivalent of the rates in your area, specifically your suburb, city, and state. Don’t just look at the average numbers to come up with a pay rate for your sitter, however. Weigh different factors, like the size of your household, the ages of your children, and the workload you are expecting from your babysitter, and adjust the rates according to these factors. Younger children typically require more attention and care, while older children can mostly be self-sufficient- these are just a few things to think about when coming up with a pay rate.

2. Be Upfront About Your Expectations: Nothing is worse than getting into a job and learning that there are a number of tasks and duties that you have to do (and weren’t informed of beforehand). Babysitters don’t like to be surprised with new information and work responsibilities after taking on the job, and if you withhold important information just to secure a sitter, they will likely quit within no time. When you hire a babysitter, be transparent and honest about any and all expectations you have regarding childcare. Communicate restrictions (such as certain foods or screen time), discuss activities to do with the children, establish curfews, go over house rules, etc. If your babysitter has a clear understanding of these expectations and rules, they can honestly tell you whether or not they are fit for the position.

3. Be Respectful of Their Time and Needs: Respect goes a long way in the world, it is a universal currency that transcends culture, language, and background. Part of what makes a babysitter leave one job for another is a lack of respect from parents regarding both their time and needs. It goes without saying that in order to keep your babysitter, you have to be respectful of their time. Avoid canceling at the last minute, or spontaneously asking them to drop everything to sit for you one night. Rather, be understanding of their life and schedule by working around their obligations. Additionally, if your babysitter is sick or needs time off for familial, school, or other reasons, be mindful of that and make adjustments accordingly.

4. Go the Extra Mile to Show Kindness: Babysitting is not an easy job, and sometimes it can take a toll on the babysitter no matter how easygoing you are or how well-mannered your kids may be. Over time, babysitters become family, and going the extra mile to treat them like such can make a big difference. If you celebrate Christmas, consider gifting them a present to show you appreciate them and are thinking of them. When their birthday rolls around, send them a birthday text and get them a small gift or birthday treat. These little acts of kindness are not so small in the eyes of your babysitter, and can be the defining factor that keeps them around!

5. Encourage Communication and Sharing Feedback: No parent or child is perfect, and it’s important to show your babysitter that it is not only ok but also encouraged to speak up and say what’s on their mind when they experience an issue. When they feel comfortable talking to you, it will foster a better environment in your house, help maintain a healthy relationship between you, the babysitter, and your kids, and will definitely stop them from going to another family.

Sometimes you can’t stop a babysitter from leaving you for another family, but these few steps can help them stay around and keep them happy!

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