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Babysitting! Needing some advice.

Posted by on May. 1, 2013 at 4:10 AM
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Hey moms, Here is my ordeal. I am currently babysitting for a family down the road from me. The best part about it is that I get to keep my little one with me. I watch another two year old, an eleven year old, and a ten year old. The two year olds get along great! My daughter loves having someone to play with and we three color, paint, read, play dolls and everything else we can possibly do. The down fall is the older kids are mean and rude. They have slammed doors in my face. Told me that they hated me and even just plain dont listen to me. Their mom works nights and so I watch them from 1730 (5:30pm) till 7:15 am. Which is almost 14 hours. I do all bedtime routines and clean up after the kids. The older ones go to bed at 9 ***When they listen*** They are great kids till bed time. I've talked to the mother about it and she gets on to them. Then it is the same thing the next night. Their dad works offshore and is only home every other month. I get paid 25 a night and I dont know if I can handle it anymore. I dont want to just quit because unlike other jobs being a babysitter the mother depends on you and I am not about to let anyone down!! I just dont know if it is worth 25 dollars for 14 hours and kids that never listen. I enjoy working with children but sometimes I feel overloaded! I just dont know anymore and I need some opinions. Thanks ladies!!!!
by on May. 1, 2013 at 4:10 AM
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by Member on May. 1, 2013 at 6:14 AM
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Could they be feeling jealous at how much time  your spending with the 2yo's? Maybe try bringing something for the older kids? Offer to find a book that you guys can work through reading together after the two littlies go to bed or a TV series? I think they're feeling left out and that there's nobody there for *them*. Do you ask them how their day is? who they played with? what they learnt? take the time to know them.

by on May. 1, 2013 at 8:58 AM

Quoting GleekingOut:

Could they be feeling jealous at how much time  your spending with the 2yo's? Maybe try bringing something for the older kids? Offer to find a book that you guys can work through reading together after the two littlies go to bed or a TV series? I think they're feeling left out and that there's nobody there for *them*. Do you ask them how their day is? who they played with? what they learnt? take the time to know them.

These are great suggestions. It could be their age or jealousy.

by on May. 1, 2013 at 9:42 AM

Could you do something with the older ones after the little ones go to bed at night.  I know when I watched my sister inlaws when they where younger loved after I put my dd to bed and their little brother to bed, that we would paint their nails and watch a girly movie together.  They just wanted the attention on them too. 

by Bronze Member on May. 1, 2013 at 10:10 AM

So, are you and your daughter eating dinner, and spending the night at their house, or are they eating/sleeping at yours?

It is possible the older kids could be a bit jealous of the time you spend with their youngest sibling. It could also be that they are not happy with their mom working nights. Is this a fairly new situation?

Have you tried talking to the two older kids to find out what is troubling them?

I would include the older two in the play time. I would also let the two year old's play on their own sometimes, and do some older kid, activities with the 10/11 year old's.

You need to talk to the mother about discipline. You both need to be on the same page, but you HAVE to be allowed to discipline the kids.

On a different tangent - $25 per night, for 14 hours work, is less than $2 per hour. That is not nearly enough to compensate for putting up with that kind of bad behavior on an ongoing basis.

by on May. 1, 2013 at 10:30 AM
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Or, could it be, that at the ages of 10 and 11, they simply A) Don't want to be told what to do B) Don't want to go to bed c) resent a veritable stranger telling them to do the thing kids that age most hate to do.

They are people with their own thoughts and developing reasoning at this point.  I would tell them that i want to have a mature conversation with them (when you get there, not at bed time).  Tell them how you can't stand being disrespected and although you know this arrangement is helpful to their parents, their behavior has made you consider whether it's worth it to YOU.  Tell them you realize they are much more grown up than the younger kids and you want to treat them with respect but it has to be mutual respect.  Then, praise them for being great people most of them time and ask them why they become nasty at bed time.

If it is a control thing (which I bet it is) tell them that you also don't like needing to tell them what to do and you are sure they can handle their own bed time routine but it MUST be on the schedule set by their mother. You don't want to be the police, but since they don't act like they can meet their responsibility on their own, you have to.  Tell them you will let them know when it's 8:50 so they can begin to wrap things up and mentally prepare, and you will tell them again when it's 9 o'clock. They simply need to be mature enough to go get ready for bed.  9 o'clock is not your call. It's not their call. It's their parents call.  If they want a later bed time, they need to negotiate with mom (not that 9 is too early.)

Even better, if they have a watch they can set, or a kitchen timer you can set, when it goes off at 9, they go to bed.  Taking you out of the equation may be even better than you giving them reminders.

Arrange with their mother what the consequence will be if they fail to meet their responsibility to go to bed on time.  What do they love?  It needs to be taken away BY THEIR MOTHER.  You will report to her each AM how things go.  "Getting on them" isn't discipline.  There needs to be a consequence.

Feeling like they have some power (doing it independently) may help.  I would also encourage their mother - ONLY IF they actually try to negotiate a later bedtime - to give them 15 minutes.  They will feel like they have won something, that they are mature, and they will be going to bed at a time they had some say over.

Good luck.


by on May. 1, 2013 at 1:09 PM

I am a SAHM and babysit other kids as well. I agree with what others are saying, they may be jealous of the time you spend with the others. They are also old enough to see that you are mom and get to be at home with your child. They are probably missing their parents and taking it out on you. When I have older kids here (thankfully only on occasion lol) I always try to talk to them as though they are older. I find doing this helps them feel as though they are not being forced to sit at the "kids table." At this age they want to be older, not hanging out with little kids all the time. Especially, if the little ones are getting all the attention. I would try to find some "big kid" games that you and can play with them. Maybe let them have a little more control over something. Talk to their mom, see if you can stike a deal with them, behave all the way through the day and bedtime routine, and they can stay up for an extra half hr. With summer coming this should be fine. Just try to keep in mind, they probably miss their dad too. 

I also think you are WAY underpaid. You are not even making $2 an hour, for 3 kids, thats insane. I understand it is overnight, so they are asleep most of the time, and it is at their house so you are not using your own food and stuff, but still wow! Does your daughter stay their with you all night too?

by on May. 1, 2013 at 1:10 PM

25 dollars is definitely not enough.

by on May. 1, 2013 at 1:47 PM
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You have a wonderful opportunity here!  

You get to practice dealing with pre-teens on someone else's kids, before your precious two year old turns into one!

Of course you have it easier babysitting a child who is your child's age.  you understand what she is, and what to expect from her.  It's been a while since you were ten or eleven, you were never a boy, and you really do not know what to expect from the older children.  You can learn, though.  And when you feel more confident, you will know how to handle them.

You have several issues:  they don't listen to you, you don't know what to expect from them, and they don't want to go to bed.

First, you need to work out a nightly schedule with their mom. Exactly what they should be doing at what time.  If 9pm is bedtime, then you don't start getting ready for bed at 9.  they need to pick up their stuff, brush teeth, put on pajamas and whatever else they are used to doing before they should be IN BED at 9 pm.  Also, it helps if there is some benefit to doign as expected.  A reward of sorts.  I dont' believe paying kids for doing what they should do, but they need to want to listen to you.

I have tried the Marble Jar in the past.  Pick some reward that you can afford that they would enjoy.  Maybe dinner at Chuck E. Cheese with a handful of tokens for the games.  Can you do that?  Let them know that they will get marbles added to the jar when they behave, and marbles taken away when they don't behave.  Try to make sure that they are going to earn the ultimate reward fairly soon - within a few days or a week - so that they get hooked.  If you ask them to clear their dishes from the table, and they do - put two marbles in the jar.  If they help you with the 2 yr olds, give them several marbles.  If they slam a door in your face, let them know in a calm, sad voice, that you'll have to remove a marble from their jar, but you know they can behave better and that you are really looking forward to Chuck E cheese - or whatever your goal is.  

When the jar is full, treat the bunch.  Go out to Chuck E Cheese, give the boys their tokens (look to see if you can find any discounts online) and have fun. Repeat the marble jar, but the next time, if they are really snotty, it could take two weeks to reach the goal.  By the time you are working on your third marble jar, their behavior will have greatly improved.  They may come to know you adn like you a bit more. You're no longer like a substitute teacher, but the classroom teacher - who always gets more respect than the sub.

Like it or not, you are their parent while you babysit.  You are spending more time with the boys than their parents.  You will have more of an affect on them.  They may be having problems in school, or problems with bullying.  They may be feeling abandoned by their parents, neglectged, or even abused.  They need you! Don't abandon them too!  

You need to get to know them, so they can talk to you about what's really bugging them. If they really didn't like you, they'd ignore you.  That they are acting bratty shows that they are lonely and crave attention.  

Good luck!

Raising Creative Children

Nurturing Creative Young Minds and Wiggly Bodies

by on May. 1, 2013 at 4:00 PM
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Wow. Where does all this take place?

These kids are naturally resentful because their parents are not there for them. How many hours a day do they have with their mother?

Kids' needs, and those of parents, are often very different. Children act out to the degree that they do not feel emotionally  "safe." It doesn't matter that their parents are unable to be there for them. They know they are "second" to their parents' other priorities. They are not the most important thing.

Having said that, you can help them by encouraging them to open up about what's making them angry. It makes them mad to be left with you, and they are acting out because they aren't talking about it.  

The kids need "buffering" relationships in their young lives not to feel abandoned and neglected. If you choose to continue caring for them, know that you have a chance to make a difference in their lives. You may be the only one who truly nurtures them. 

On the other hand, if they don't have strong attachments to their parents, they may be acting out  due to attachment disorder. In that case, they will push the limits and try everything they can NOT to be nurtured by you - someone who represents a loving nurturer in their eyes, someone they may believe they are not worthy of. Has their mother every truly "been there" for them?

The more you try to nurture them, the more they may push away and rebel. $25 isn't a lot of money for theraputic parenting. It's got to be a labor of love. Meanwhile, you might want to investigate some theraputic parenting techniques. Foster care and adoption agencies might be able to guide you, even though you are only "babysitting." Good luck and God bless!

by Silver Member on May. 1, 2013 at 4:12 PM
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There's some very good advice here. I think it would be good if either mom or dad could call them at bedtime, and reiterate what the rules are, they are to be kind to you, and do what you say, and talk about what the consequence will be for bad behavior. AND MOM HAS TO FOLLOW THROUGH. I don't think she understands what you are going through, if it's bad enough that you want to quit, she needs to fix it.

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