Three Reasons My Teenager Won’t Babysit


    3 Reasons My Teenager Won't Babysit : Coastal Bend Mom Collective

    “Does anyone have a high schooler that would be willing to babysit for me this weekend?”

    I’m a member of a few mom Facebook groups and I see this question all of the time.If you counted these posts, you might assume that an industrious high schooler would be able to maintain a respectable weekend hustle for some decent pocket money.

    Well, I am here to tell you, fellow moms, that you are wrong. Teenagers won’t babysit.

    Why, you ask? Well, I’ve had the privilege of talking to a few teenagers,  and here is what they said:

    1. You come home too late.  This one has more to do with the parents of teenagers than the teens themselves. I know that the whole point of hiring a babysitter for the evening is to let loose. I’d be tempted to agree with you unless you tell me that your sitter is still in high school. If you live in the Coastal Bend, the curfew for people under the age of 18 years old is 11pm. I would be really angry if my teenager was stopped for a curfew violation as he was coming home from a babysitting gig.  More importantly, the idea of my son driving home with the bar crowd is really scary, and something I’d like to avoid for as long as possible. If this is a major reason you need a sitter to watch your kids, this may be one of the times that you invest in hiring an adult to sit for you. Even if the teenager in question thinks it’s no big deal to drive home in the wee hours, their parents may feel differently.
    2. You expect too much from them. Do you remember the days of elementary school when your class had a substitute teacher for the day? Remember how wild the class got and how nothing got done? This is how your kids feel when you have a babysitter for the night. You may leave clear instructions for your sitter to feed your kids, clean up, prep them for bed and make sure they are sleeping by the time you get home. I hate to burst your bubble, but it’s probably not going to happen. Your kids are going to get one look at this interesting new person and they are going to want to PARTY.   Prepping your kids by going through their normal evening ritual, even if it is a couple of hours early, will make everyone’s life easier and make your sitter more likely to return.
    3. You pay way too little. Moms, this one is major- and I mean MAJOR.     It’s not okay to ask a young person to sit with your kids for 4 hours on a Saturday night and then pay them $20.  I mean come on, that probably wouldn’t even cover your drink tab at dinner! One of my son’s friends told me about the time she was offered $35 for an overnight babysitting job so the parents could go to San Antonio and hang out at the Riverwalk. I heard this and thought it was really unbelievable. Is this really where you want to save a few bucks? Everyone will agree that their children are precious to them, so I don’t understand the concept of trying to short change your babysitter. By my thinking,  if you pay the least, you can expect the least. A good rule of thumb is to take your local minimum wage ($7.25 p/h in our area) and double it.  If that seems a bit steep for you, maybe you want to reconsider how often you go out or shorten the length of your date.

    So there you have it, a quick rundown of all of the things NOT to do.

    If you are trying to build a good, trusting relationship with a high school-aged babysitter,  treat them with the same kindness and respect that you’d like your own child to one day experience.  


    1. These are all very good points! I babysat a lot from about 12-19 years old. I had a regular family whose daughters I sat all the time! I remember house sitting for them for an entire week, and the family had two dogs, and it used a lot of gas going back and forth…and they brought me a snow globe from their vacation to Disney…a snow globe. They did not pay me. This was the last time I sat for them…I can also say that my mom always urged that if it was going to be beyond curfew, one of the parents I was sitting for would need to bring me home. She would often drop me off to sit, and they’d get me home later, or she’d do both trips. It’s just simply safer and avoids curfew issues to be with an adult.

      Good rules of thumb that I follow as a parent, and they work for me: My child has eaten and is bathed and in jammies before my husband and I go out. (Sometimes, we order pizzas for him and his usual sitter instead of feeding him before we leave) Our sitter is a college student, so curfew doesn’t come into play, but I always make her text me to let me know she got home. And if she forgets, I call her.

      We paid $75 for our sitter to check in on our dogs for one overnight stay when we went to SA for a quick family getaway. She gets $40-$50 for watching our child so we can do dinner or a movie. We’re never gone more than about 3-4 hours.

      The following month, she watched the house and dogs from Saturday morning to Monday morning, (with a break in-between because she had previously planned something, so we had someone else check in on the dogs during the afternoon and evening Saturday) and we paid her $150. $150 for a couple nights watching the house and raiding our fridge isn’t so bad. Not to mention our dogs are great company!

      We always remind her that we do have home/doorbell security, and this definitely makes her (and her dad) feel better.

      As parents, it’s our responsibility to make sure everything that can be done before we go out is done, so the sitter can focus on one thing and one thing alone: having fun and keeping watch over your kid(s)! This reply got lengthier than I’d intended, but just food for thought. Sometimes we forget that our sitters, even if they’re young adults, are still kids too. Sometimes they need a little help. 🙂

      • I’d also like to add that our sitter is good friends with my niece, so she has a habit of refusing to take payment because she feels like family, so I tricked her into getting Zelle, and now she can’t fight me! :-p

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