I’m a babysitter – the common phrase we absolutely dread and the secret trick to make sure parents get a quick exit | The Sun

IF you have kids the chance to go out for a date night or a catch-up with friends can be a rare opportunity, especially if you don't have lots of family around to help take care of the little ones.

While spending time as a family is also cherished, everyone needs a night off – which is why finding the right babysitter is crucial.

And keeping them onside is even more important if you want to maintain an active social life.

Here, experienced Bubble babysitter Isabella Dinan, from Barnes, says: "I love the variety of characters I meet, parents and children alike.

"I also enjoy building relationships with children and watching them come out of their shells.


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"A child who initially hid behind the sofa is often performing an all-singing, all-dancing ‘show’ by the second sit!"

Here, she shares her top tips on what to do – and what not to do – to stay in your sitter's good books…

A quick getaway

Depending on your child's temperament, actually making it out of the house without any drama or tears can be difficult.

For a smooth exit, Isabella says: "Allowing a bit of extra time before the parents leave for the sitter to get to know the children always makes for a smooth handover.

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Leaving the house can be the hardest partCredit: Getty

"However, parents often don’t have this luxury and I am more than happy to be thrown and set of keys and left to get on with it too. 

"Sitters understand how much trust it takes for a parent to hand over their child and we keep this in mind.

"I am always happy to meet with a parent or have a telephone call prior to a sit.

"Parents want someone who listens to instructions carefully, who slots in seamlessly and who they can trust completely.

"They want to be able to relax when they hire a sitter, which can be achieved through clear communication and a friendly approach on both sides."

High pressure environment

While they are professionals who are prepared for anything, there are some phrases even the most experienced sitter will dread.

"‘They will probably wake up in the night’ is a phrase I do not enjoy hearing," says Isabella.

"Trying to console a confused and hysterical baby at 1am is a recipe for high blood pressure!"

"Also, don’t intentionally underestimate the time you will be home.

"It’s better to be overly cautious, just in case a sitter has somewhere to be.

"However we all know that the clock runs on double speed when the wine is flowing!"

Parent trap challenge

Once you're out of the house and enjoying yourself, your sitter will quickly learn what challenges they may face that evening.

They will then be careful to strike the right balance between being fun and authoritative.

Isabella says: "Balancing fun with safety can be a challenge.

"Often overexcited children bite off more than they can chew, so it’s important that they respect you enough to listen to instructions.

"However, you don’t want to be overbearing – a relaxed and enthusiastic babysitter always makes for a better sit.

"I once looked after a set of triplets – aside from needing three sets of eyes, knowing who was who proved practically impossible.

"Understandably, the kids enjoyed some ‘parent-trap’ style fun at my expense!"

First time for everything

While it takes a lot to shock a babysitter, Isabella admits even now there's always a first time for everything.

She says: "One time, a parent failed to tell me her son had a pet rat. You can imagine my reaction when I saw it run across the kitchen floor…

"Another time I was looking after a baby boy and I heard the mother’s voice echoing around the room.

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"Turns out she was speaking to me from a disguised nanny camera hidden in the bookshelf.

"I had the fright of my life and spent about 10 minutes searching for the mystery voice!"

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