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After school sitter expectations(10 Posts)
I just started my first part time nanny job for an older child (9 year old boy). Well, the parents found me on a site where I was advertised as a nanny, but consistently refer to me as the babysitter. The parents want me to pick him up from the bus, bring him home and just watch him until they are off from work. During the interview the mother said he would mostly keep to himself, play games or be on the computer and that I would have plenty of time to get homework or reading done (I'm in college full time, 17 credits). She even invited me to watch TV or movies until she arrived home. Of course I expected to spend some of the day playing and engaging the boy, but it seemed that it would be a perfect fit and I would balance getting some work done with play time so I took the job. This has not been the case, however. From day 1 I have been treated more like a paid playmate, and he wants to play with me every second of the day from the time we get in the door. I wouldn't have so much of a problem with it except that he only wants to play a certain video game (one that is driving me absolutely bonkers), or play with Pokemon toys. Whenever I try to introduce new things, he says he doesn't feel like trying that, or doesn't think he'd like it. Now I've put a new system into place that lists activities that we could do together with a time limit on how long we can do each, but the time still seems to drag and I am slacking a lot on my school work because of how much effort I'm putting into play time with this child. He's even begun asking for me on the weekends like I'm a playmate, and occasionally asks his parents if I can stay past the time they get home (to which they respond, "if she wants to"). I don't want to hurt his feelings but I also think it's important that he understands I'm not there to be his new friend. My question is, how much should be expected from an after school sitter? I was told we didn't have to do his homework, but now I think doing it would help pass the time and give me a break from active play, but he doesn't even want to try doing his homework. I'm being paid 10 dollars an hour, which is good money part time but I'm wondering if it's worth letting my grades fall by the the wayside. What do you think? Should I enforce more independent play or other non-play activities? How much should a child this age be able to do on their own? Any advice would be great
I think if you are being paid to do a job you should be available for that job at the time and not expecting to be studying while you do it. If you don't have the time you should resign and explain you can't combine it with your academic studies. I'm not sure why you are concerned about the nanny v babysitter thing as it sounds like you don't even want to be a babysitter.
Yes direct his play towards a wider variety of activities and if you want to do homework with him discuss this with his parents so you can be clear with him that you are expected to do this but don't imagine you can just ignore him and do your own thing.
I think his parents were a bit generous saying you would be able to do your own thing while he entertained himself. You probably know that it's unusual for a cared for child to be self sufficient.
Have a chat with his parents, but I suspect this is not going to work for you if you need the time to study.
As the parents have said you are welcome to just watch him and to get your own work done, I don't think there is anything wrong with doing just that. Tell him "I'll do X once I have finished my work."
So basically you want to be paid 10 dollars an hour to do your own assignments? That's not really fair is it? You are either available to work or you need the time to study, you can't combine the 2. Maybe you should cut your hours down if you are struggling.
It's good you want to do homework with him, just lay down some ground rules, like you can have one hour on the computer after homework only.
If you are paid to be looking after a child, of course you should be interacting with them. I'm wondering if the parents were struggling to find someone to do the job, so said you could do your college work while you were there just to get you to take the job. They probably knew you wouldn't get much done, but it has eased their childcare problem for a few weeks.
It's up to you if you want to continue the arrangement, either have a word with the boy, explain he needs to play on his own while you get on and talk to the parents about how hard you are finding it to keep up with college or hand your notice in.
It is not worth falling behind with your studies because of this.
I also wouldn't be expecting to do my work. I used to work as a nanny while studying at university and while the parents were happy for me to work when the kids had downtime, realistically it was impossible. I did work LONG hours though. Kids were school age and I did weeks of proxy parenting so a week or 2 at a time. I was being paid to look after them so that was my priority. Certainly try to introduce more structure to his evenings. But ultimately you are there for him.
A 9yr should be able to entertain his self for a bit but also agree you are being paid to look after him and not do your coursework in this time
If you really are struggling and getting behind then why not do it before you start work 10-2 or what else do you do?
You sound a little naive about what being a nanny entails. I don't understand why you are advertising yourself on a Nanny site, and then expecting to do your coursework whilst looking after children? I think when the parents said he'd be easy to look after they were probably just saying it to persuade you to take the job, and were not expecting you to take it so literally.
If they really said you could do coursework at the same time, then perhaps they were desperate for childcare, or thought you were exaggerating. You talk as if you are doing them a favour, rather than being paid for a job.
Looking after children is really hard work and demanding, as you are finding out.
You need to separate 'work time', when you get paid to be a Nanny, and 'study time'. Be firm with the parents about not accepting extra play time after your working hours, so that you send a clear message that this is paid work and you are not there to just give favours. Your personal time should be your own. If you are Nannying for too many hours in the day, cut down the number of hours you Nanny for. Just tell the parents it's not working out as your studying is suffering, and you can only do three days a week, for example.
A nine year old will expect you to keep them company and treat you as a playmate. Also they won't 'want' to do their homework but will need to be encouraged (cajoled) into doing it - given the choice they would rather play a video game! I don't think you can expect to do much when looking after a child unless they are asleep. A nine year old would usually be easier than a toddler or pre-schooler to look after and perhaps they were trying to sell the benefits of this to you but have oversold it or you have misinterpreted it. As you say you are being paid well so you should expect to do a job, not sit and study. The parents may thank you for encouraging homework and a bigger variety of activities rather than spending all his time on a particular computer game. However, you will need to be proactive to encourage him to do this. Childcare is usually hard work if you do it well and it helps if you enjoy spending your time with children! Its best to take on evening babysitting work for young children with an early bedtime if you are hoping to get some study done whilst working. That may pay less though.
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