Friends and family make up a large majority of babysitters, and 51% of the people who watch children don’t get paid for their work. Taking care of children is a huge responsibility and finding a good and reliable sitter can prove difficult, so it makes sense that parents turn to people they trust the most.
One Bright Side reader, Anne, experienced some friction when her sister asked her to babysit last minute. We received this letter from her and decided to help her with some advice.
We at Bright Side got together to help Anne ease the tension she’s experiencing with her sister, and here’s what we came up with.
- Allow things to cool off a bit. Before having an honest conversation with Emma, wait for a few days so the two of you have enough time to think things through before. Rushing a conversation after an argument can make things even more heated and difficult.
- Once you have both had enough time to process things, call Emma to schedule a meeting with her. A face-to-face conversation can be much more effective than a phone call, as it is more direct and open. During virtual interactions there’s also a much higher chance of misunderstandings and some sort of miscommunication is much more likely to happen.
- Help your sister understand your situation better. Explain to Emma that while you can understand that being a mom is difficult, you also have many things to take care of in your day-to-day life, including your work.
- Explain to Emma that babysitting is a stressful job that also needs to be compensated. Friends and relatives often help out with childcare for free, but it’s not something that should be expected. By taking care of her children, you are spending time and energy that you planned to use on something different, to earn your living. And while one child is already a huge responsibility, 3 are even more demanding, so it’s fair to expect higher pay.
- Spend some one-on-one time with Emma. You said in your message that you haven’t been able to plan any activities together like you used to. Try to plan something fun just for the two of you, like going to the movies or even just grabbing coffee together and chatting.
We hope that this advice can help you and your sister solve your disagreements and understand each other better.
Have you been asked to babysit for your friends or relatives? What would you do in Anne’s situation?