Your cultural background may be different from that of the family you work for. Or the family may practice a different religion or have different customs from the one’s you are used to. They might even have an altogether different outlook on life. But don’t think of these differences as problems, instead see them as a way to expand your horizons.
Respect the family’s customs
Never make fun of their heritage or try to teach the child that your way is better.
Learn by asking
A good sitter becomes part of the family, whether she’s living in or working nice to five. And that means learning as much about them as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that will help you appreciate the family’s culture and customs.
Share your own culture
A different worldview can expand anyone’s horizons. If the family is open to the idea, teach the child ( and parents) about your culture. Explaining how holidays are celebrated in your family, singing native songs or baking recipes you grew up with lets a family learn more about you, while enriching a child’s life. It can also bring all of you closer together.
Hopefully, your relationship with the child’s parents will be mostly smooth, but face facts; conflicts will come up. When something goes wrong, here’s how to bring the problem out in the open way
Without honest communication, little misunderstandings become big ones. Talk openly about what’s upsetting you and you can expect the parents to do the same.
Instead of complaining in general ( The day is stressful), use examples that make your case clearly ( there is no time in between driving to activities for me to get the laundry done)
Work on a resolution
Together try to find a solution to the problem, not only for the child’s sake, but to ensure continued success of the relationship.
Keep the child out of it
Issues or disagreements about the child or the job should never be discussed in front of the child.
Instead of letting all your complaints pile up for months, then spitting them out in a resentful tirade, focus on one major issue at a time.
Avoid putting the parents on the defensive. Instead of saying “you keep doing this” say “I’m not happy when this happens”. It also helps to put a positive spin on it: “I think it might work better if … ”
Don’t ignore the response
Remember, there are 2 sides to every issue. Even if you don’t agree with the parent’s side, it’s important that you listen to it.
Don’t take it personally
Parents want what’s best for their children and when they ask you to change they way you do something, that’s the reason. Try not to see suggestions as a criticism of you.
While it’s important to fit in with the family you’re working for, it’s also important to remember that you’re an employee. Make sure you and the parents have gone over the house ground rules, then keep the following tips in mind , even if you’re just babysitting for a few hours in the evening.
Keep the phone free
Tying up the phone line by chatting with your friends is a bad idea. Not only does it mean you’re not paying attention to the children, but it also means the line won’t be available for incoming calls from the parents and others. Make any necessary phone calls ( to your doctor, for instance ) at naptime and then keep it short.
Keep your cell phone free
So, if you can’t tie up the family phone,, there is nothing wrong with talking up a storm on oyur cell phone-right? Wrong.
Again there’s the attention issue. Keep the cell phone handy in case of emergency, or to contact the parents ( or be contacted by them) while you are out with the child, but don’t use it for catching up with friends during work hours.
(if you end up using your own cell phone a lot for communicating with the parents, you can ask them to pay for part of the monthly bill.
Use of Computer
Only if the parents ask you to email and instant message them during the day. Don’t put it to personal use unless they have said you can, and then use it only when the child is napping (and don’t make the mistake of visiting websites that parents wouldn’t approve of)
Don’t invite guests over
The only guests you should be hosting on the job are playmates of the child ( and their parents or caregivers) unless you’ve been told otherwise.
Don’t be a pantry raider
Most parents will be happy to provide you with meals and snacks while you’re on the job, and will probably tell you to help yourself to anything you want. But don’t consider this is an invitation to eat them out of house and home. be polite in the pantry, don’t eat the whole box of cookies, or drink the last sip of Coke, or polish off the leftovers they were saving for dinner.
There will be days when the baby won’t stop crying, or the toddler is in high-energy mode or the pres-schooler has back-to back activities, and those will be the days when you’ll forget what time the baby ate last, or how long the todler napped, or what the pre-schooler had for snack. The best way to remember the kind of information parents will want at day’s end is to keep a daily log as you go. Not only won’t you forget the important details, but you won’t have to try to give parents a blow-by-blow when they arrive home (to a child who’s screaming for their attention). See sample day blog
These specific instructions from the parents will tell you exactly how to tailor the care you’re giving to fit the child you’re giving it to. Does the child need to nap during the day? Should the baby be fed on demand or when the clock says it’s time? Can the toddler watch TV? Is the computer off-limits? How long can the preschooler play on the computer?
What foods should the child eat – or not eat? what about snacks? How are tantrums handled?
When a child misbehaves, what should you do? What about pacifiers? How about bottles?
Sure, you may be the one who’s changing the diapers, filling up the bottles, fixing the snacks and supervising the naps each day. But you’re not in it alone ( even if it sometimes seems that way). Caring for a child doesn’t just mean you’re part of a family – it means you’re part of a team. To ensure the best care for a child, you’ll need to work closely with those other most important team members, the parents, giving, taking, sharing,communicating and connecting with them.