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Babysitter refused to bath the children at bed time - is this standard?

(78 Posts)

Babysitter we have had several times before (from an agency) said she had checked and she wasn't allowed to give the children their bath at bed time.

Children are 2 and 4. Was I being unreasonable to expect this?

We were going out just before 6, so arranged for babysitter to arrive at 5:30 so we could all finish the kids tea together, then hand them over for the usual bath and bed time routine.

Anyone else have experience of the bath question?

I don't think you should expect a stranger to bath your children at all, at least not one they hardly knew - quite different if it was a nanny.

BackforGood Sun 17-Feb-13 12:52:03

I wouldn't expect a babysitter to bath children - nor (when I've babysat) have I ever been asked to. You either bath them really early, or let them go without a bath for that day.

HeyHoHereWeGo Sun 17-Feb-13 12:56:51

I always tell them not to bathe them as 1)they might not actually really and truly get that you cannot leave them alone for a nanosecond and 2)it feels too intimate for a stranger to do with my children.

forevergreek Sun 17-Feb-13 12:57:08

i dont think so. a nanny yes, they care for all your childrens needs day and night, a babysitter usually comes after they are in bed or just lets them watch tv then put to bed.

in your case i would arrange for them to arrive at 5.50pm. both children would have had dinner by 5pm that day and already bathed/in pjs.

LittleChimneyDroppings Sun 17-Feb-13 13:00:46

I wouldn't expect a complete stranger to bath my children. It would be different if it was a nanny who worked with your children all the time. But a stranger from a babysitting agency? Absolutely not.

12ylnon Sun 17-Feb-13 13:04:06

I think this is a sensible precaution for a babysitter to take.

I have my own children, but have never been asked to bath a child i was sitting and i don't think i would do it unless i knew the parent and child very well (i have 1 client who i might consider doing it for if she asked).

Whilst i imagine you would never have to raise an allegation, but there are some parents who would, so the sitter is just covering herself.

It sounds sensible to me.

Kaekae Sun 17-Feb-13 13:07:41

I would not even consider asking them, would not feel comfortable with someone from an agency bathing them at all.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Sun 17-Feb-13 13:08:13

I presume that all of you saying it's too intimate had children who never went to nursery and were out of nappies by 2? hmm

I can see why the agency have said that - it reduces the risk of complaints/allegations.

It's a sad state of affairs though sad

With small children it's often part of their bedtime routine and they are happier when that stays the same.

I guess they'll have to miss their bath this time and you'll have to get them in their PJ's before you go out.

Maybe look for a local babysitter who you can develop a relationship with instead of using the agency.

MoppingMummy Sun 17-Feb-13 13:08:35

Of course I wouldn't think it was reasonable to leave my children to be bathed by an almost complete stranger.

My children don't have a bath every night anyway, and in this circumstance we would definitely miss it out of bedtime routine.

Viviennemary Sun 17-Feb-13 13:13:22

I've not used an agency for babysitting. But I've never heard of a babysitter being asked to bath the children. Even when they know them quite well never mind somebody they hardly know. Most small children would be either in bed or in pyjamas. But if the parents are going out early this might be difficult. But I wouldn't have thought bathing children was normally part of babysitting duties.

Interesting... Thanks for your views. I had no idea it was such a weird request.

We've had her maybe four times before so not a 'complete' stranger. The kids get on with her well and were looking forward to seeing her.

I appreciate the general opinion being expressed here, but I genuinely can't help feeling a niggle that, on the one hand I am not supposed to be comfortable with this person bathing my kids, but on the other hand I am supposed to be comfortable with leaving her responsible for them for the night, changing nappies, helping them go to the loo, comfort them if they wake up, etc?

What is different about the bath? Genuine question - it has simply never occurred to me that there should be any taboo or weirdness around this, and I feel a bit sad that everyone else seems to think there is. But in this case it sounds like I am the strange one!

tethersend Sun 17-Feb-13 13:14:26

It's more than likely a blanket agency rule to protect their staff from allegations.

12ylnon Sun 17-Feb-13 13:19:03

Thats a good question- you should totally trust the person who's babysitting your child. I suppose just because the child is naked. There is quite a lot of touching involved (getting them in and out, drying off, getting them dressed etc). Really, it isn't much different to changing a nappy or getting them into jammies, but there we go. Funny world ay!

I agree with what one poster said about getting someone who's not from an agency and building a relationship with them, seeing as it's something that the agency in particular has stipulated.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Sun 17-Feb-13 13:20:44

Fanny - it isn't a weird request. Babysitting for small children from 5.30pm often includes bathtime, in the real world, only on MN is it weird/asking for trouble/not done blah blah blah.

What you say is right - there isn't any difference, either you trust her or you don't.

It is different if they are older and if they would be uncomfortable, but kids this age just want to play in the bath, they really don't give a toss who is making sure they're safe when doing so!

You aren't strange - not at all - prefectly normal. It's MN that has a weird vibe sometimes.

JugglingChaotically Sun 17-Feb-13 13:22:22

I'm with the others and would ask our family or nanny to do bath but that's it really. I've done early bath and then early tea in pjs followed by short film - "special treat" in the circs. (And yes, pjs had to be changed sometimes!! But it skips over the bath problem!).
Otherwise skipped bath but got hem into pjs before i left and then normal routine.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 17-Feb-13 13:27:19

I always assumed that when having a babysitter you presented the children ready for bed and the most the babysitter had to do was read a story.
I just never saw supervising the bath as being part of the babysitters role.

BackforGood Sun 17-Feb-13 14:05:06

I agree with LoneCat - it's nothing to do with 'seeing them naked' or 'touching them when you dry them' for me, it's about making life easier for the babysitter.
I was babysitting last night for my nephews, so not a stranger by any means, but they were all ready in PJs when I got there, and my role (well, it was dd's really, I just sat and read a book) was to play/read with them for a few minutes, then tuck them up in bed. A lovely, easy evening, and I'd be very happy to go again next week, and the week after, etc. Doing baths however moves it into a whole different ball game, just as it would if I were asked to cook for them or other non-intimate jobs. I still would do it occasionally to help SiL and BiL out, but it would be much more of a chore. I know OP is paying an agency, so slightly differnt from my free service, but, same principal applies - what's it worth doing / how much work am I prepared to do, for this amount of pay. A lot of people use babysitting as a chance to sit and study once the children are tucked up.
It is the difference between a babysitter (pocket money job) and a Nanny (full time profession) I'd say.

Startail Sun 17-Feb-13 14:23:52

I've never bathed my DDs every night and I certainly wouldn't expect a baby sitter to.

Karoleann Sun 17-Feb-13 14:27:18

I've never asked an agency sitter (we usually use sitters) to bathe the children, although if I'd asked one to sit that early, I would expect them to finish tea and then play and read books and maybe get their pyjamas on. If it was after 6, I'd make sure the children were dressed and ready for bed.

We do have a regular babysitter and she will do bathtime, but she nannies for us during the day too, so she's more used to the children and where stuff is etc.

FlouncingMintyy Sun 17-Feb-13 14:29:17

My dc miss their evening bath/shower when we have a babysitter. Its no biggie.

I am learning so much here! You see, if it weren't for Mumsnet, how would any of us know any of this stuff?

Or is just me who thinks everyone else knows stuff, and I have no idea how it is that they know it and I don't? grin

akaemmafrost Sun 17-Feb-13 14:35:04

I did extensive babysitting in my teens and early twenties and was never asked to bath kids. It has nothing to do with inappropriate behaviour it's just not done.

Floralnomad Sun 17-Feb-13 14:36:06

I agree with lonecat , the clue is in the title ,babysitter . They come , they play ,they read , children wake up they deal with them . Perhaps it is slightly different if they're from an agency but you wouldn't ask a friend / friends teenage children to bath your kids would you .

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