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Babysitter Dilemma

I just had a “what would you do?” moment, and I need your help. The question is: do you report to your friend on her babysitter’s shortcomings? Here’s the real-life situation I faced.

My friend and I both use this same babysitter. We both love her. I’ve known her for years and personally trust her immensely. She was the one who watched my daughter when my son was born — she’s our go-to-gal. My friend has a similar relationship with her.

My friend is out of town this week, and this sitter is picking up her two kids, a not-quite-2-year-old, and a 4 1/2 year old, from child care and bringing them home and watching them in evenings. Last night there was an event at the park near the center, and the sitter brought the kids. I know the mom was aware and approved of this plan. Here’s where it gets sticky. The sitter was closely attentive to the toddler, but at many times was clearly unaware of where the 4 1/2-year-old was and didn’t seem concerned about it either. There were many other parents and kids around and we were all watching out for each others. This child was never in any real danger. But I was very uncomfortable that the sitter wasn’t proactively aware of where the child was or ensuring that someone else had their eye on him. I would have been equally concerned if she was the children’s parent. If she had ever said to me (or anyone) “will you watch him while I get his sister something to eat, etc.” I would have done it in a heartbeat and thought nothing of it. But no such requests were made, and now I’m not sure how much I trust this sitter myself. I still don’t think I’d have any problem having her watch my two kids at home, but now I’m not certain I’d be comfortable having her take both of them to the park, for instance. I never in a million years thought I’d say that about her. The question is, do I tell my friend whose kids the sitter was taking care of? Is that like telling your friend you saw her husband kiss another woman? Maybe it’s critical information she wants to have, and maybe it’s interference into territory where I shouldn’t tread. What would you do?

2 comments

  1. Tali August 15, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Definitely let your friend know. If something ever happened to her child while in the sitter’s care and you kept mum, well, I’m afraid you’d be guilt ridden for life!
    I would definitely tell my friend. I think too often in life people don’t speak up when they should. Good for you for being conscious!

  2. KC August 23, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    If I were your friend, I’d want to know. And if you were my friend, I’d tell you.

    Even though there were folks keeping an eye on the kiddos, as often happens at events like that, the sitter was responsible for both kids’ safety and well-being.

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