Q & A: Additional Duties Expected from Babysitterby Martha Scully • July 17, 2009
We have just hired a babysitter for the summer. She is great with the kids, but not catching on when I leave her hints to provide a little extra help around the house, like folding laundry and putting dishes away. What is the best way to communicate this to our babysitter?
Everyone feels different about cleaning. Some babysitters love to clean while others don’t feel it’s a part of their job. I always recommend covering the expected duties at the beginning, before the babysitter starts providing service for you. If there is one thing that I have learned over the past 8 years running this business, it’s that babysitters usually do not make good housekeepers. If the babysitter does have some free time during the day when she is not caring for the children, it is not unrealistic to ask to help out with some light housekeeping duties like folding laundry and putting dishes away, but not much more.
The best way to communicate this to the babysitters is not to give hints – they may not be taken seriously or noticed. Have a sit-down meeting with the babysitter, asking her how the job is going, providing her with feedback on her work so far, and giving her a chance to ask questions and give you feedback on her experience. At this time, you can also ask her if it is possible for her to assist with some duties around the house. If she’s willing and able, provide her with a list of the desired duties and ask her which she prefers to be in charge of. This gives her some control of doing duties she doesn't mind, rather than getting stuck doing something she dislikes and feeling overwhelmed with her duties. Be sure to give a sincere thank you to her for making your family’s life easier by assisting.
The key to a good employer-nanny relationship is open communication. Keep the lines of communication open and two-way, so that she feels just as comfortable approaching you about something as you are about approaching her.
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