How to Support a Student Babysitter Going Through a Tough Time

By Aidan Cannon on January 26, 2024

There’s nothing quite like having a reliable babysitter. It’s always calming to know that while you’re out and about at work, your children are in safe capable hands. Unfortunately, these babysitters might not always be available, and the many college students who work with kids on the side may go through rough patches that affect their ability to stay with your child. Common hardships for people in this age bracket include stressing over course load, exams, deteriorating mental health, and financial struggles, among others. While it’s not your responsibility to fully step into their lives and solve all their problems, the connection your family shares with them may allow you to offer some assistance as they navigate this difficult period of their lives. If they’re comfortable with it, have a discussion with them about what’s happening in their lives so you understand where they are coming from and figure out if you can help in any way. Use this guide for ideas on how you might help your student babysitter.

Image from Pixabay.

Decrease their time babysitting

Sometimes when you’re a stressed-out college student, the most valuable resource available to you isn’t money, it’s time. If you suspect that your babysitter is juggling too much, or they come to you and explain all the crazy things happening in their life, consider reducing the amount of time they spend with your child. As much as they love hanging out with your kid, they have a host of other responsibilities to take care of including school, other jobs, and time with their family. At a certain point, they need to prioritize aspects of their own life, and your child will not be at the front of their mind the same way they are for you. If your babysitter comes to have an honest conversation with you about the stresses they are facing in their life, it’s important not to take it personally. They are not blaming you for the situation they are in, and just need some extra time not usually afforded to them so they can handle business. Letting your babysitter have time off will let them know you have their back and increase their desire to keep working for you when they can.

Offer more money

If your babysitter is struggling financially, and you are able to do so, consider offering them more money for their services. College students often have a hard time making ends meet; not everyone can get monetary support from their parents, and taking on multiple jobs isn’t guaranteed to cover the bills in this economy. Your contributions to your babysitter’s pocketbook could also prevent them from leaving their position with your child to pursue another opportunity that pays more. While you offer them more money, you don’t necessarily need to pay more per session. Perhaps you’re able to offer them more opportunities to babysit as opposed to normal, meaning you get to enjoy their services more and they get more money in their wallet. This may be difficult if they are also pressed for time, but if they aren’t, they’re likely to appreciate you accommodating their financial needs.

Talk to them about their time management skills

If you suspect that your babysitter is too stressed to perform at their best when they are with your child, talk to them about how they manage their time. Start the discussion by gently bringing up how they seem to be tired or distracted whenever they work with your kid. This isn’t an inappropriate observation to bring up; the mental state and disposition of a babysitter can affect how they will act towards your child. Broaching this conversation can be tough, but if successful, your babysitter will open up and you’ll have a better idea of the challenges facing them in their life. This allows you the opportunity to draw from your own life experiences and offer solutions as to how you managed your responsibilities when you were their age. By walking them through your trials and tribulations of the past, they will understand that although things may seem insurmountable now, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Your perspective may be all that your babysitter needs to figure out the solutions to their problems or create an actionable plan to fix them.

Oftentimes, it can be hard to stick our noses into someone else’s business. We want to know what’s going on inside the heads of others, but we don’t want to come across as rude or disrespectful. When it comes to babysitters, it can be important to know what’s going on in their lives since it could affect their availability or the way they interact with your child. Understanding their struggles not only allows you a window into their lives but also an opportunity to help cultivate solutions. If you’re able to help your babysitter conquer their personal problems, they’ll be able to devote more quality time to your child.

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