19 answers

Babysitting My Neighbors Kids

Here is my problem. I have lived next to my neighbor for over 3 years now. Ill call her Sara. She has 3 kids ages 2, 5, and 6. I have one 20 month old son. We get along good and are good friends, but lately Im getting annoyed and Ill explain why. When she had days off and I worked, I would pay her $20 to watch my son for me and it was usually only 5-7 hours a day and only 2 days a week. As of last week, I don't have a job anymore, I went on maternity leave. Anyways, she has been asking to babysit her kids for the past couple of days since I dont work. SHe only pays $20 a day for watching all 3 kids, for 8 hours! Usually its only 2 kids since her oldest is in 1st grade but I still have to wake up extremely early to put her on the bus. I have watched them a everyday this week and have not gotten a single penny for watching her kids. The 2 year old is a brat and throws fits non stop and fights with my 20 month old. The 5 year old boy doesnt listen and whines that he is hungry or thirsty every 5 seconds, and complains when I offer him water because he wants soda or something else to drink. SO what should I do? Quit babysitting til I get paid or wait it out? SHe is a waitress and comes home with money everyday. She always has money for cigarettes and beer though but not enough to pay me?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Settle the bill, then tell her how much it would cost for you to continue. If you don't want to continue, then tell her that you just can't anymore as you are too tired with the pregnancy - good excuse. Keeping perfect relations isn't worth getting stepped on.

3 moms found this helpful

I would ask her to please take care of the amount that she owes you. Be firm and don't accept excuses. If she doesn't pay then tell her you can't watch the kids anymore starting today. If she does pay I would tell her that it is more work then you thought it would be to have so many kids in the house and you don't think you can handle it. If you are trying to maintain the friendship you could go so far as to give her a week free so she can find someone else and then after that stop watching the kids. I wouldn't be watching 3 kids for 20 bucks especially if she isn't feeding/sending food because you aren't going to cover that food bill on $20. If you are ok with watching them tell her after looking at the cost of food and drinks 20 isn't enough for all 3 and you want to renegotiate the amount you will take. If she balks at that then go back to not watching them. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

You have an easy out for the next 2 years:

"Honey, I'm sorry... but I can't watch your kids anymore. What with the pregnancy watching extra children on top of my own is just impossible."

DO make sure to say "extra" kids instead of "all 4 kids" unless you want to be put in the position of watching some but not all of her children. Then, after the birth it's "I can't watch extra children with a newborn."

If she's rude enough to say that SHE had no problem watching 4 kids... you can ignore it or say that "You know how it is, watching other people's children is just different from watching your own." You don't even have to bring up the 3 vs 1. If she can't figure that out on her own, she has a brain problem.

You may be out $100, or you can ask "If she has the money from last week?"

4 moms found this helpful

Settle the bill, then tell her how much it would cost for you to continue. If you don't want to continue, then tell her that you just can't anymore as you are too tired with the pregnancy - good excuse. Keeping perfect relations isn't worth getting stepped on.

3 moms found this helpful

As a licensed home daycare provider I will tell you a rule of mine (and many providers I know) that I learned to always follow after an uncomfortable and stressful first few years doing childcare (13 years now). NEVER do childcare on a regular basis for friends, neighbors or relatives.

The occasional "help a relative out while they are on vaca or their provider is", or assist a neighbor in the same way deal is do-able...but I will never again enter into an arrangement with anyone I see outside of daycare prior to the daycare arrangement...nor if I can see their house/yard from mine.

As far as getting paid and continuing the arrangement? Well...you need to decide if its worth it to you to wonder whether you will actually get paid....and $20 for 2/3 kids all day is silly for you to agree to (I get $35 a day per child...but as I said I am licensed, degreed in Child Development, etc).

If you can financially afford to end the arrangement..tell her its just not working for you to do so many hours. If you are feeding 2 kids of hers in a full day (likely breakfast, lunch and maybe 2 snacks...????) you probably are making almost no money each day anyways. Maybe washing an additional load of dishes each day as a result (water, soap and time)...or paying for paper plates instead...more napkins/paper towels for hand washing or clean up of spills..running your vacuum and extra time each day perhaps...using a bit more toilet paper, etc.

I know it may sound nit-picky..but this is what I do for a living..and it DOES add up. The difference just in my electric and gas bill from the extra bodies in my house and laundry I do to wash bedding and bibs each week is huge..more TP, paper towels, laundry soap, hand soap, hand sanitizer..the water bill to clean everything... Consider that it all comes out of the $20 a day you are supposed to be getting.

Just my opinion.

3 moms found this helpful

Quit while your ahead. You will only grow more resentful and if she doesn't pay up you will even be more angry. Nicely bow out. It totally isn't worth it.

2 moms found this helpful

I wouldn't watch the kids anymore. It's not enough money to make it worth your while.

1 mom found this helpful

First decide if you still want to watch them. Then if you do, tell her that you need more money for the two kids. I wouldn't count the third since he's not there that much. I was going to pay a friend $40 for one day a week for 9 hours. I would ask for that much at least!! If it's every day, I'd ask for a weekly rate instead!

1 mom found this helpful

Can you just tell her "I need to settle the babysitting bill because I have bills to pay"? I'm all for helping out neighbors, but you need to determine whether she is taking advantage (and it sounds like she is!). Hopefully, when your new one arrives, you can just tell her she'll have to find other arrangements now that you have an infant.

1 mom found this helpful

I would ask her to please take care of the amount that she owes you. Be firm and don't accept excuses. If she doesn't pay then tell her you can't watch the kids anymore starting today. If she does pay I would tell her that it is more work then you thought it would be to have so many kids in the house and you don't think you can handle it. If you are trying to maintain the friendship you could go so far as to give her a week free so she can find someone else and then after that stop watching the kids. I wouldn't be watching 3 kids for 20 bucks especially if she isn't feeding/sending food because you aren't going to cover that food bill on $20. If you are ok with watching them tell her after looking at the cost of food and drinks 20 isn't enough for all 3 and you want to renegotiate the amount you will take. If she balks at that then go back to not watching them. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

"I'm sorry, Sara, but I can't babysit your kids anymore."

1 mom found this helpful

It seems like your neighbor is taking advantage of your kindness. I would charge about $35 - $40 a day for one child and if there is more I would charge not half but a quarter more for each child. People are charging over $200.00 a week for one only. If you are close to this person than speak with her or stop doing this for so little money. People forget that when you take care of kids you are responsible for them all day long. That has to be worth something?

1 mom found this helpful

I hope/pray your friend simply hasn't realized how much she is underpaying you. If I were you I would tell her how much you want to be paid for caring for her children & that will be your rate beginning next week so if she can't afford it, you understand but you can't afford to take less so she needs to make other plans for them.

1 mom found this helpful

First, you need to assess whether or not you even want to watch the kids. Money vs. friendship...may not be worth it especially since you are neighbors so even if you aren't friends...you are going to be running into her all the time. Also, if her kids are a problem it may really be nasty later on...my kid was horrible to my friend, and it was really tough for us for a while.
If you do want the job...you need to sit her down and treat it like a job. Tell her you are currently not working, and if she needs someone to regularly watch the kids maybe you could provide that service...for a fee. Though you need some guidelines so that the both of you can make it work.
1. Your house rules (snacks, meal times, nap times, activities, pick up times and drop off times)
2. Hourly or weekly rate which you should both review locally what people are paying and negotiate from there. My friend charged me $3/hour for the first kid, and $2/Hour per kid for any additional children. Otherwise I took my 1 son to a weekly daycare that charged $100/week (whether or not we were there no matter what time I dropped him off or picked him up).
3. Vacation time - paid or not
4. Meals & Snacks - provided or she can bring foods for them (think long and hard about this because that many kids is going to rocket your grocery bill really quick between meals and snacks for them)

Spend some time researching other contracts and daycare providers to see what you want to offer...and check with your local state authorities because you are only allowed a certain amount of "babysitting" (even free) before you must become licensed. You can get fined big time even if you don't charge her.

You just need to sit her down and tell her that you need either something permamant, or you need the time you are affording her watching kids to spend with your child or job hunt...or whatever escuse you can come up with.

Additionally, you need to be paid either beforehand (right as she drops them off at the beginning of each week) or there will be a fee assessed...or at the end of the week or you cannot provide service for the next week. Just let her know your finances are tight, and the only way you can ease some of the burden is by you both setting a guideline that you both agree on...or you need to look at other options.

1 mom found this helpful

If you are pregnant or postpartum, I assume because you said you are on maternity leave, I'd say it's just too much and you are so sorry but you can't do it right now. I'd acknowledge that you know she has done it in the past, and I guarantee has had the same problems you have but I know its harder because these are not her children, but just say you can't do it right now.

Otherwise say hey, I'm on maternity leave and we could really use the money and you haven't paid me in X amount of days. If you haven't already set up a rate I'd say I pay you 20 for 1 for X hours could we maybe do 25 or 30 or something reasonable for what she can afford and I doubt that is much if she is a waitress. Hey that job is on the top 10 worst paying jobs for an adult. Ask for a timeline of when she can if that is your main concern and set up an amount.

But I pretty much guarantee this will put a strain on your relationship lest you be quiet and do it. She's done it for you is all she's going to think and you guys are friends. So put your foot down if you want but be prepared to lose a friend and maybe even have a cranky neighbor. This is unfortunately why you should let strangers watch your kids. It's like loaning money to friends. It doesn't always go well. Actually sometimes, like it sounds this time, it goes very badly. But that is neither here nor there you are already in.

1 mom found this helpful

It sounds like you don't want to watch them anymore...so don't! Or tell her that you're willing to watch them one day a week to help her out, but set up a specific dollar amount for pay ($40?).

Communication is important, so be clear about what you need. Your needs are valid – it's awfully hard for many women to get that. You have a business relationship going here, so act like a business woman and be clear what the terms of your "contract" are. She may think paying you at the end of the week is what you expected, unless you tell her otherwise.

You are also free to re-negotiate the terms of the deal, if it's not working for you. Be upfront about it, "Sara, I had no idea how much work extra children would be. Twenty dollars a day is just not worth all the starch this takes out of me." Then either name your new rate, or ask her to make other arrangements.

Add with a smile, "You're getting a great deal for the $_____ we agreed to so far. Can I expect your payment by ______?"

well if you like being used-keep doing what your doing...otherwise put your foot down-call her an tell her you wont be able to sit anymore...

If you are concerned about diplomacy, just tell her you're REALLY sorry, but you are VERY pregnant and tired and stressed and it's just TOO much for you to watch 3-4 kids all day long.

At $20 a day the aggravation cannot possibly be worth it. Yes, you need to collect what she owes you first, jeesh, in just one week you've saved her HUNDREDS of dollars in child care!

Contratulations, btw!

Maternity leave is for resting. And her putting all that stress on you is definitely NOT worth it at that amount. I believe the rate in Mpls for a licensed home daycare is $6/hr/kid, well that's what it was 4years ago, and It would be a little less for someone without a license. Honestly, I would tell her I couldn't do it anymore, unless you are seriously wanting to continue this arrangement. Her not paying you is probably being overlooked as oh well when she says something, I'll tell her this, or she's using it as a way to get caught up on her bills. I'm sure she's fully aware of the cost of daycare.

There are advantages and disadvantages to using family members and friends as babysitters. Each situation is unique and must be evaluated individually. Below are the advantages and disadvantages that you should consider when deciding whether to use family members and friends as babysitters.

Advantages

No need to spend time interviewing babysitting candidates
No need to spend time and money performing background checks on babysitting candidates
No worries about whether a trusting bond can be established between your children and their new babysitter
No worries about continuity of care as family members and friends are likely to be a consistent influence in the lives of your children (As a result of this continuity of care, your children won’t have the separation grief and anxiety that occurs each time a babysitter resigns.)
Lower cost (Usually family members and friends will charge less than the market rate in your area, some family members and friends will babysit for free, and some family members and friends participate in an exchange of “sitter services” in which they take turns watching each other’s children.)
Disadvantages

Increased likelihood that the babysitter will have insufficient training in childcare, CPR, first aid, etc. (Prior childrearing experience, by itself, does not establish someone as able to handle childrearing successfully.)
Difficulty maintaining boundaries and balance of power between parents and babysitter (Parents should be able to tell the babysitter what the parental expectations are and trust that the babysitter will meet those expectations, but pre-established family or friendship relationships may alter that. For example, the grandparent/babysitter may think he/she knows better about how to raise children and may thus ignore the wishes of the parents. Also, some family members and friends may think nothing of ignoring parental boundaries on occasion, where a traditional employee babysitter would be less likely to do so. Finally, parents too are more likely to cross boundaries when the babysitter is a family member or friend: parents are more likely to impose on babysitter by asking for sitting services with little notice, etc.)
Gossip within the family or social circle may become an issue if the babysitter shares things happening in (or overheard in) your home with other family members or friends
Increased difficulty in redirecting babysitter’s behaviors and ending the babysitting arrangement if the arrangement isn’t working out (Both redirecting the babysitter’s behaviors and ending the babysitting arrangement may create family and social circle complications.)
Whoever you choose to hire as a babysitter for your children, ensure that he/she is a person that you can trust to do the job well, will honor your boundaries, and will respond well to feedback that you provide to him/her about the care of your children. Communicate your expectations clearly at the beginning of and throughout the babysitting arrangement . All the things you should do to facilitate a positive working relationship with your babysitter should be true whether your babysitter is a family member or friend or was unknown to you prior to your recruiting for babysitter candidates.

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