What Would You Do to Keep Your Sitter Happy?

Filed under: Childcare, Baby-sitting

My father likes to tell people that we got our first color television, in the early 1970s, because they were having a hard time finding a babysitter; sitters were hard to come by, he says, and you had to have an edge. They were already offering to pay the sitters slightly above the neighborhood rate, but my mother refused to out bid her friends, so they had to come up with some other idea if they ever hoped to go to dinner without my brother and me.

So my dad bought a new TV.

I suspect, of course, that this story may be nothing but a Family Legend, but it got me thinking -- what will YOU do to keep your sitter, or to lure a new sitter? I have been known to bake cookies and buy special snacks and leave money for pizza. I also sell the fact that my kids go to bed early, often within an hour of my husband and me leaving the house. Babysitting for me is a sweet deal, really! Are you free on Friday?

We even have a color TV!

In my neighborhood, sitters are hard to come by; high school kids -- at least the really reliable ones -- are working or playing sports or doing homework, or whatever it is that teenagers do after school these days. There are babysitting services, but honestly, that always feels a little like leaving my kids with a complete stranger; I like to have a first-hand reference from a mom I know and trust. And don't even get me started about finding a sitter on Cragislist; if I wouldn't go there for a sofa, why would I go there for childcare?

How about you -- what lengths will you go to for a good sitter?

What are you willing to do to keep your sitter happy?
Pay more than the going rate.45 (24.3%)
Snacks! Drinks! Movies!45 (24.3%)
Nothing - I'm paying her to watch my kids; that's enough.27 (14.6%)
I don't even HAVE a sitter.68 (36.8%)

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.