by Auntie Em
“She can’t do this to me.”
I heard anger in her voice so decided not to say a word until she calmed down.
Ginger is the daughter of a good friend of mine and I knew she was talking about her mother…my girlfriend. This was awkward. I didn’t want to hear this rant and I certainly didn’t want to be a part of it.
Silence. Then Ginger sat down with her 3-year-old and explained: “Mother is going away for her vacation. A ten day cruise in fact and it’s around the same time that my class starts.”
Yikes. I knew exactly where this was going, my mind was racing and I was prepared to jump up and get away as fast as possible. She wouldn’t have a babysitter and I was not the person to fill in while her mom was away.
Yes, I did feel her frustration, but to stay friends with Ginger I knew I would have to help her find another alternative.
I used my Auntie Em skills to console her. “It will be fine,” I said in my sweet and sympathetic voice. Then I told her that I would help her pay for a babysitter for the two mornings she would be away at school. The hard part was finding a good babysitter, but we had a plan.
We both made calls to other mothers, friends and neighbors for recommendations and then set up 15 minute interviews for about three of the young ladies that Ginger felt would be the best ones.
The interviews weren’t just with Ginger. She also had her toddler with her and paid attention to how the potential babysitter and her child interacted. That eliminated one candidate and the other one didn’t have reliable transportation.
But that was only the first step. Once you have found the perfect babysitter, the real fun begins. How do you make your babysitter adapt to your parenting style?
Here are some tips on training a new babysitter. Remember that it takes time, so be patient!
- Set up a time for her to come over while you are at home for about a half hour and let her play with your child while you are in the house doing other things. This way she feels comfortable that you are near and you feel comfortable as well. Have her do this several times until you both feel comfortable.
- Your toddler will test the babysitter-in-training to see if she will tell him what he can’t do. Be sure to let your babysitter-in-training know that she’s allowed to tell him no and send him to the time-out spot. Also be sure to let your child know this too.
- Let your babysitter-in-training know that she is doing a good job. A confident babysitter will make you feel confident with leaving your child with her.
- The next time let her know that you’ll be going outside the house s if you were leaving to go somewhere. Tell your toddler that you are going out and take your purse with you. You can just sit outside where your toddler can’t see you or go to the neighbors. When you “leave” let your toddler know that he should listen to the babysitter. This way your toddler won’t see the babysitter as a “playmate” but more of an adult. This allows your babysitter to get used to the idea of you not being around.
- Next have her come over while your toddler is napping and really go somewhere. You can ask the babysitter to call you if your child wakes up then arrange to return home about a half hour afterwards. This way you give the babysitter some time with full responsibility, but you know that you are on your way home too.
And don’t forget to keep in touch with your babysitter in case grandma takes another vacation.