Babysitter Don’t Play

Now that’s how you PLAY with kids

We recently had to fire a babysitter. She’d been like part of the family, and it was traumatic, so I won’t get into the nitty gritty.

But as you always do in hindsight, I have realized I should have seen the writing on the wall earlier this summer.

She told me my daughter was “so much better” on a playdate. You know, with other kids. As in, the kid was “good” when she wasn’t actually asking the sitter to play with her.

See it? Writing. On the motha’ truckin’. Wall.

Unless … did something change since I was a babysitter? Do babysitters not play with kids anymore? Am I expecting too much?

I’m not talking about a daycare, I mean a babysitter. I babysat little boys (who, aside, are not so little anymore … one of them graduated from college in May!) when I was a teenager, and our jaunts into the “woods” (aka a couple of trees) behind their house were epic, the number of toys that would end up on the playroom floor too high to count. We played, and we played HARD.

At that point I actually really liked it. And their mom also happened to be paying me to do it.

The thing is, I don’t always like playing with my kid. But I have that luxury because I am her mother, and I can hire someone else to do it.

OK, I’m kidding. Kind of.

The thing is, I do like to play with my kid … sometimes. And other times I hate it but I do it anyway because she is MY KID. And then other times I tell her “Mommy is busy” and expect her to do something else because that is how you learn to be independent and creative and all that jazz.

But when I’m paying you good money to babysit my kid, I have a firm and fast rule: if my kid says you should play princess, you play princess. If my kid says you’re going to dress up teddy bears, you’re going to dress up teddy bears. If my kid wants you to put on a stupid hat so she can “sort” you into one of the Hogwarts houses, you put on the stupid hat!

Am I wrong here, people? Isn’t that kind of the point of being a babysitter?

I should note we have good news: our regular babysitter is back from a month out of town, and just this week I caught her and the kid outside dancing in the rain — literally. And in place of she-who-shall-not-be-named I have a new mother’s helper who came on board this summer and has already introduced my daughter to a whole new world of art projects and long walks with the dog.

As long as they keep playing with her, the paychecks will keep flowing.

What do you think of babysitters who don’t play with kids? Would you keep them employed?

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  1. Maybe it's a generation issue, but it seems like babysitters today are just sitters, not playmates.

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