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10 Requirements for the Perfect Babysitter

by Jill Smokler on January 7, 2013 at 8:32 AM

My family and I find ourselves in a most unfortunate predicament right now: We are without a reliable babysitter. All of the teenagers on our street are suddenly too cool to sacrifice a Saturday night, and much as my mom loves her grandkids, a standing weekend sleepover with all three wasn't too appealing to her.

Since it seemed to work in Mary Poppins, I thought I'd write out my wish list and see if the universe sends the perfect sitter to my doorstep.

She should ...

1. Truly enjoy spending time with my little monsters. I mean kids.

2. Drive herself to my house and then back home.

3. Play games with the kids instead of letting them watch TV or play video games.

4. Be fun enough that the kids get excited for her to come.

5. But be responsible enough to get them to bed on time. 

More from The Stir: Little White Lies Moms Tell Their Babysitters

6. Manage to get them to eat their broccoli and green beans.

7. Be available at the drop of a hat.

8. Not snoop in my bedroom drawers once the kids are sleeping.

9. Clean up after herself. And the kids. And the dog.

10. Never, ever cancel at the last minute.

I'm never going to find a sitter ... am I?


Image via Scary Mommy

Filed Under: kid sleep, kid activities


  • kjbug...


    January 7, 2013 at 8:47 AM
    I think your request to be avail at the drop of a hat is unreasonable but the rest will land u a good sitter.
  • Angie...


    January 7, 2013 at 9:31 AM


  • Tracys2


    January 7, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    That was me! Well, I wasn't always clever enough to get them to bed and eat veggies perfectly, but otherwise.... I made a mint!

  • jalaz77


    January 7, 2013 at 10:24 AM
    These are very reasonable except 7...they have lives too but it's nice to wish.
  • Amanda
    -- Nonmember comment from


    January 7, 2013 at 10:29 AM
    I've been a professional nanny for >7 years now, and I think (with the exception of #7) these are all expected of babysitters...but there's a catch. If your kids are allowed to watch TV/play video games when you're home and don't eat their veggies or go to bed on time for you, they won't do any better for her (unless she's scary or magical). I can't count the number of times I've had my families expect me to jump in and magically teach their 8 year old manners and respect in 20 hours a week...ugh. Have you checked out
  • xiolxuo


    January 7, 2013 at 10:36 AM
    You're gonna have to pay a pretty penny to find someone that's available at the drop of a hat.
  • femal...


    January 7, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    lol @ Amanda's magical comment.

    I agree with Amanda. 

    If I have to hire someone outside of the family my number one thing would be to come home and find my child safe, unharmed and home.

  • Michelle
    -- Nonmember comment from


    January 7, 2013 at 12:04 PM
    I have one who actually fits all these criteria (except for occasionally not being available). Until July anyway, when she's moving to Laos to teach English. She's amazing, and I will HATE it when she leaves! She also works for food. Everyone needs a sitter like my Heather. She's a godsend.
  • Jessica
    -- Nonmember comment from


    January 7, 2013 at 2:04 PM
    I've had two sitters ever and both have been exactly like this. Better, even, if you add "encourage creativity and self-esteem," "take them outside -- a lot," and "handle mishaps with patience and consistency." You'll find someone :)
  • KITTY...


    January 7, 2013 at 2:10 PM
    I would require all except 6 & 7 (my kids eat their veggies without a problem and expecting someone on short notice is too much to expect) if I was looking for a sitter. I'd go a step further and do a background check also. You can never be too careful or have too many standards when it comes to finding someone to care for your kids.
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