I don’t remember exactly when I started babysitting, but I know it was before I could drive as I remember being driven home by relaxed parents after a night out without kids or walking home if it was in my neighborhood. I don’t remember babysitting much after I got my license, but it’s likely that I was so busy shuttling my sister back and forth between choir rehearsals that I didn’t have time to watch kids.
One of the rules I remember about babysitting was that I always called my parents if I knew the parents I worked for were going to return later than planned. That rule was instituted after I came home 3 hours later than expected. Another rule we started was that I was to call my parents to let them know I was on my way home if the dad was driving me home. This was to prevent anything from happening on the way back to my house. Nothing ever did, but it was better to be safe than very sorry.
I don’t recall ever watching kids that I didn’t know. I only ever watched kids from my church or neighborhood. Which meant that my parents knew who the families were, knew the kids, knew the parents. I can’t remember working for total strangers.
Which makes me wonder… What do the parents of one of the sitters I use know about me? One of my “paid” sitters (as I have sitters who refuse to accept payment due to our friendship) is a high school student I know through my church. Not a member of my church, but someone who frequently attends the Sunday evening youth program. This person is a good friend of many of the young members of the church and is good with my daughter. But I’ve never been to this person’s house, and I’ve never spoken to the parents. Ever. I wouldn’t know them if I passed them on the street. I am not saying anything against the parents for not asking to meet or at least talk to me on the phone, and I don’t know what they know about me. I just wonder how I would respond if, 10 years down the road, “Em” is asked to babysit for a child whom I’d never met and whose parents I didn’t know.
Would it matter if the person was a member of a church or organization that my daughter regularly participated in? Would it matter if friends of my daughter and mine told me this person and their family were great and totally “normal” and recommended the babysitter?
What do you think? Would/have you let your teenager babysit for people you don’t know?
**I have decided to ask the babysitter to give me their home number so that I can attempt to reach out to the parents and introduce myself. I still welcome your responses.**