6 Ways to Respect Your Babysitter's Professional Boundaries

By Ashley Paskill on May 28, 2024

Professional boundaries are an important part of any job, and this is no different for your babysitter. You have boundaries that you set for your job, and your babysitter likely has professional boundaries they would like you to honor as well. Honoring and respecting the boundaries that your babysitter communicates is essential for you and them.

Communicate

Communicating is essential for establishing and respecting boundaries. You need to be sure that your babysitter feels safe holding their boundaries with you and that they are not doing things they are not comfortable with. Your babysitter also needs to know that if they need to enforce an existing boundary or create a new boundary, they know how to communicate with you and they can do so without fearing repercussions or feeling like they will not be understood.

Keep to their schedule

It is possible that your babysitter has classes, student organizations, or even another job. If they tell you what days they are available, be respectful and do not request they babysit outside of their availability. They have other things going on in their life that need attention and it is important that you respect their schedule. This also applies to returning home when you said you would. Your babysitter may have other obligations after their shift, so it is important for you to make every effort to be home on time. Things may happen that are out of your control, so if you are going to be home late, be sure to communicate this with your babysitter.

Image: Bich Tran via https://www.pexels.com/photo/writings-in-a-planner-636246/

Give appropriate responsibilities

Your babysitter’s main job is to keep your child safe. Sometimes, babysitters help with things like driving your child home from school, preparing dinner, helping with homework, and planning activities, but mostly, they are there to watch your kids. Adding things like doing laundry, cleaning, and going grocery shopping are typically things that nannies do, not babysitters. Babysitters often have less time with your children, so unless your kids are sleeping, your babysitter will not have the time to do extra responsibilities. Be respectful of this. If you do want them to do some extra chores, be sure to discuss it with them to get their feedback. These extra responsibilities often require more pay, so if your babysitter is on board, be sure to increase their pay.

Social media

In this day and age, social media is a huge boundary for babysitters and the families they care for. Just like you may not like them posting about your kids, they may not want to post about their job. They might not even want you to follow their social media accounts or add them as a friend. If they have their social media accounts set to “private,” do not jump to the assumption that they are posting about your kids without your permission. It is more likely they are trying to keep their personal life separate from their babysitting and professional life. You may want to sit down with your babysitter and talk about their social media presence and the boundaries you both have.

“Nannycams”

It is normal for parents to be concerned about leaving their kids in the care of someone else, especially for the first time. You may have security cameras set up around the house, especially in rooms your kids are typically in. It is legal in each state to have a video-only recording camera, so you do not have to let people know if they are on camera. However, if they record sound, it is crucial to let your babysitter know if your family has these types of cameras set up. It is illegal to use these recordings for blackmail or voyeurism. While you may be tempted to watch the cameras from your phone the whole time you are away, you need to be able to trust your babysitter. Your babysitter would feel untrusted if they knew you were watching them the whole time, which may make them feel like they can no longer babysit for you. If you do choose to use cameras, with or without sound, consider writing something up and having your babysitter sign it so they know how the videos are being used.

Listen to their requests

Your babysitter needs the resources to help keep your kids safe. They will likely ask you for a way to contact you or someone else in case of an emergency. They may also want you to help prepare them for their first shift, including walking through any routines you may have. Have food and items needed for activities on hand. Keep check-ins to a minimum. These requests and boundaries allow your babysitter to do their job well. Providing these resources can help your babysitter be the best they can be as well as provide your child with comfort and structure.

While you have boundaries, your babysitter does as well. Respecting their professional boundaries is crucial for ensuring they can safely care for your child.

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