24 answers

Do I Offer the Babysitter a Meal? What's the Etiquette Re: Food and Sitters?

My son will be having a babysitter once a week for 4-5 hours while I take a class. She is from an agency and quite expensive (if that has any bearing on this question.) Most days will be from 2-7 pm. Should I be offering her food? I keep my mother's helper happy with sugary snacks (she's 11) but this is the first time a grown woman and non-family member will be coming. Am I expected to tell her to help herself to anything she finds? What do you ladies do?

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Maybe I should add that my son is 12 months old and still eats semi-pureed foods. I don't expect her to eat that!

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I always tell the sitter to help herself to the fridge and pantry. If you're using an agency you might want to ask if they have a policy on that.

2 moms found this helpful

I keep a good stack of frozen meals around for such occasions. that way it doesn't put me out and she can choose what, and when to eat. Eating other people's food can be strange. And it is at times when you need a bbsitter that you are least able to whip something up. I also welcome them to eat anything in the house.

1 mom found this helpful

I never have anything specific planned for my sitter to eat. If they're here over a meal. I tell them to help themselves to something if they want.

I would tell her to help herself to something to eat if she wants. Otherwise being there until only 7pm, she could eat after she leaves.

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Assuming she'll be cooking your son dinner, I'd ask her to sit down and eat the same meal with him. This way, she's fed and also promoting healthy eating habits, engaging him in dinnertime conversation, and (hopefully) teaching table manners at the same time. Definitely worth the bang for your buck.

3 moms found this helpful

If she is coming to your house during mealtime, then yes you should absolutely provide her with a meal...it does not have to be lobster and filet mignon but something reasonable for sure.

3 moms found this helpful

I always tell the sitter to help herself to the fridge and pantry. If you're using an agency you might want to ask if they have a policy on that.

2 moms found this helpful

When I had a nanny I always always had the mi casa su casa attitude. It's how I am 100% of the time with people in my home. Our nanny was really overly "good" about bringing her own food, and balancing things. She was here 3 days a week from 8-5. She fed the kids breakfast and lunch. Many times she even cooked dinner so I didn't have to do it when I got home. She would eat my food and then the next day bring food from her house and make things for herself and the kids. She was Salvadoran so she made alot of food from her country for the kids. Sniff...I miss her! What a doll!

2 moms found this helpful

I think you need to have food for her. I don't think my morning sitter eats with my kids, but they eat Toaster Sturddels, waffles, eggs, etc. She will cook for them when they have tme, but she normally brings her own breakfast, even though I've told her she is welcome to whatever we have.

If she starts eating up your meals, it's a diferent story, but have sandwich stuff and healthy snacks on hand.

1 mom found this helpful

I always tell my sitters they are welcome to whatever they can find.

1 mom found this helpful

I would just say baby's food is "x" if your hungry there are apples or stuff for sandwiches in the fridge. that will be keeping her through dinner time. she may not want anything she might eat when she leaves your house. But it would be good to have stuff for her to drink and a snack on hand. I would not offer her a meal but to say if you want there is snack stuff would be nice.

1 mom found this helpful

If I expect my child to eat during that time, I offer the food to any sitter I use. I do not however use an agency type of arrangement. That may be different. Plus i is generally what my children are eating that I offer.
I always say you can have anything but xy or z and I only hold back for like the next day's meal.
Go with what feels right to you. Like how would you want to be treated?
The snack sandwhich idea is a great one in my opinion.

1 mom found this helpful

I nanny and I would be surprised if I went to watch the kids and she said that I had to bring my own food. I guess like others have said, if I'm sitting them while they eat it just makes sense. But the kids I watch are 3 and a baby. However, like Tracy M said, it's not like you have to provide lobster etc. I don't think me throwing together a sandwich or something is going to matter in the long run for the family. If the sitter is doing nothing but eating, she's not a quality sitter. When I'm not having meal time I'm busy w/the kids not snacking all day. My "boss" is awesome and always telling me there's this or that in the fridge. And she's a good cook, so love it when she tells me to have at her leftovers! Again, I doubt me having a portion of the leftover tacos is going to really matter. :-)

1 mom found this helpful

You should definitely tell her she can eat whatever is available.
There should be some fruit, stuff to make a sandwich, maybe something in the freezer to heat up.
When I did daycare in another's home, I was told I could have anything I wanted. When people watched my kids, I made sure to having things on hand.
Both of my children are accomplished babysitters and the parents always have food. It's a little different when you are expected to prepare meals for kids that you, yourself can't eat, but having snacks on hand for the babysitter is fairly customary, in my experience.

Just my opinion.

1 mom found this helpful

My personal opinion is that if she is going to be there during meal time, then yes, you should offer her a meal.

I'm guessing that she will be serving or preparing food for your child, so I would simply offer her whatever your child is having.

Also, I wouldn't go as far as to tell her to help herself, but you may want to have a few items to offer. You wouldn't want her to make her self a large salad for a meal when you were planning on using those veggies for a salad as part of your meal the following night.

1 mom found this helpful

If she is to feed your child, make enough for two and tell her that the meal is for you both. I would not necessarily tell her to "help herself".

That's my take...

D.

1 mom found this helpful

Since she is new to your home, I would just ask her on the first day what she likes to eat. Tell her you are happy to pick up some "light snacks" for her to eat while she is at your house, so you'd like to know what she'd prefer. That way, she understands that she is not going to get a full dinner, and also that she should not be eating your regularly stocked food for meals. She'll also have the chance to say "Oh no thank you" and you can move on. You never know what people's dietary needs or restrictions are -- she may say just a bag of pretzels or something simple.

1 mom found this helpful

I keep a good stack of frozen meals around for such occasions. that way it doesn't put me out and she can choose what, and when to eat. Eating other people's food can be strange. And it is at times when you need a bbsitter that you are least able to whip something up. I also welcome them to eat anything in the house.

1 mom found this helpful

If she is feeding your child during a meal time, you should feed her.

Have you considered finding someone instead of using a service? There are plenty of teens or even moms or elderly that would love that p/t job....

1 mom found this helpful

I always offered our sitter food.. However, she always chose to bring her home .. She was very specific as to what she wanted to eat (mainly Ramen Noodles) ... I would offer something and IF she wants it, then fine.. if not, that's fine too...

good luck

I think if she's there at a mealtime, then there should be something for dinner--either something ready for her to heat, or $ and a number & menu for delivery.......

Yes, if she is there at dinner time offer her dinner and let her decide. If she won't be eating baby food offer her a few choices--maybe a healthier frozen dinner and whatever is in the fridge? Talk to her beforehand or the first time she comes and I am sure you can work something out.

i always tell my nanny (2 days a week) and babysitter (nanny's daughter, usually 1 morning a week, more if we go out at night, which basically never happens) to help themselves to anything in the kitchen. if we are leaving at night, i make enough dinner for them to have some if they want...my older daughter is 2 1/2 so it's usually mac and cheese, pasta, etc. sometimes it looks like they eat, but most of the time they bring their own food.

I think if she is cooking and feeding your son it is important she eat with him, to model good table manners and eating etiquette. That is what the teachers in child care do. Even if they hate the food they have to sit and participate, they do not just eat their lunch in front of the kiddo's, they eat the same meal and use that time to teach.

If she chooses to not eat the meal then it is her choice and not something she needs to be paid extra for.

The agency probably has a policy concerning food and meal times. I'd ask there first. Then I'd ask the employee herself if she'd like to eat with your son or if she'd prefer to bring her own dinner.

I would set aside a few snack type items that both the employee and your son would enjoy.

Since she's paid more than a teen babysitter I would not expect that you'd have to provide food for her. As someone else mentioned it would be good if she would eat with your son in which case I'd provide enough food for both.

I never have anything specific planned for my sitter to eat. If they're here over a meal. I tell them to help themselves to something if they want.

I would tell her to help herself to something to eat if she wants. Otherwise being there until only 7pm, she could eat after she leaves.

Generally, any come-and-go help is responsible for eating their own food (that they bring with them and are welcome to reheat at my house), that goes without saying (and especially in your case if you pay well). Of course, if I found them eating mine, for example, if the sitter was cooking and liked the food- I would not object (I am talking about a lite snack or a cup of tea) unless it was something unreasonable like eating a pint of expensive ice cream or a big steak. I also absolutely would expect to be told about it upon my return. Otherwise, I would consider it very bad manners. The only home help that can eat the food in the house is the the live-ins who have that arrangement with the employer. As far as some people saying that you should invite your sitter for dinner - that is an overkill and is absolutely not needed. It may even be very inappropriate in your case. Your child is only 12 mo old -so he needs to be spoon fed and supervised at all times - I do not see how she would eat with him, she probably will eat when he naps or plays quietly. I think you should mention that she is welcome to use use your microwave or tea pot if she wishes to reheat her food. In any case, she is the big girl and it is not your job to worry about what she eats. That is not to say that you cannot occasionally say: "Jenny, I made some great cheesecake, you are welcome to try it." But there is no pressure at all on you in this situation.

as an inhome daycare provider, I feel it is imperative for me to eat with the children. It is the perfect opportunity to "teach" manners! To me, that is part of my job description.

In your case, if she's feeding your son dinner, then she should eat with him....& most importantly, eat the same foods.

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