“Call if you need anything.” We don’t really mean that.

“Call if you need anything.” We don’t really mean that.

Actually, only call or text when absolutely necessary. If my kid won’t eat, find a way to solve the problem yourself, without involving me. Make them eat it, offer them a peanut butter sandwich, or tell them you don’t really care if they eat dinner, there will be another chance to eat in the morning, that is a problem we want you to solve. That is a problem we are paying you to solve.

Please make some attempt to clean up the kitchen after dinner. At the very least clear plates, napkins, drinks and silverware off the table. If you want to just rinse them and leave them in the sink that’s fine, we don’t expect you to fill the dishwasher and run it, we just don’t want to return home with our kitchen looking like its been abandoned mid-meal.

Have the kids pick up after themselves when they are playing. No parents want to leave for a night out, only to return to a house messier than before they left.

Turn off the lights. Chances are when you babysit for us, our kids will want to show you every inch of our house, including projects they’re doing in their bedrooms, toys in the basement, heck they will probably even want to show you our bedroom for some reason. After you put the kids to bed, please take two minutes to walk around the house and turn off every light that was turned on during the grand tour. Or better yet, turn off each light as you walk out of the rooms individually. Either way, make sure all lights are out before we get home. There’s nothing worse than turning onto your street after date night only to see a bright glow in the distance, and realizing it’s your house, not the face of the sun, because the babysitter neglected to turn off a single light.

There’s nothing worse.

Ok, almost nothing.

Finally, THE MOST IMPORTANT task parents want done by a babysitter is getting the kids to go to sleep before us parents get home. Yes, my wife and I enjoy our date nights out, but when we hire a sitter, what were really doing is hiring someone to put our kids to bed for us for the night.

That’s it. It’s a pretty simple list. I suppose I could make it even simpler…

“Don’t call. Clean up. Lights off. Night, night.”

Brian "Pete"
Brian "Pete"
Indianapolis Stay-at-Home Dad to three kids, ages nine, six and four. Blogger and monthly print columnist for Indy’s Child, Cincinnati Parent and Dayton Parent magazines. Fifth grade class spelling bee runner-up. Gold Award Winner at the Parenting Media Association Editorial and Design Awards for Best Blog/Blogger.

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