Author Topic: How to tell someone you just don't want to babysit for them?  (Read 16139 times)

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gramma dishes

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Re: How to tell someone you just don't want to babysit for them?
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2013, 11:47:22 AM »
You're just going to have to be honest.  Just tell your neighbor that you're sorry, but you are not going to be able to help them out.  You are not really interested in being their regular babysitter.  If there's an extreme emergency, you hope he knows he can count on you, but unless it's an emergency, they're going to have to find someone else. 

This has happened to me several times, since I don't have a job outside my home.  I have found that there's only ONE explanation people are willing to accept when I tell them I can't/won't babysit.  And that's the "Because I don't want to" reason.  Simply put, you can't babysit because you don't want to be a babysitter.  Anyone who would argue with you about it isn't worth worrying about their friendship over, IMO.

I agree with Shoo, completely and totally. 

Nothing good will come from saying things like "We're not comfortable doing overnights" because then they will expect you to babysit during the day and you don't really want that.

You need to make clear in a friendly way that you are simply not in the babysitting business and will not continue to babysit these children under any circumstances other than a real emergency.

LeveeWoman

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Re: How to tell someone you just don't want to babysit for them?
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2013, 12:24:04 PM »
I wouldn't even tell them that you're fine with an emergency.

jaxsue

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Re: How to tell someone you just don't want to babysit for them?
« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2013, 12:30:07 PM »
I wouldn't even tell them that you're fine with an emergency.

ITA. As a PP said, a lot of "emergencies" will come up.

Roe

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Re: How to tell someone you just don't want to babysit for them?
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2013, 12:34:12 PM »
An old friend once asked me to babysit both of her children for a summer.  My response was "Oh please, I can barely take my own kids!"  She got the hint and didn't ask again.  Of course, we were comfortable with one another.

For a neighbor, I'd keep it simple and polite. "Sorry, but that's not going to work for me. I'm not going to be able to babysit."  And just repeat as necessary.  I always feel better if I had the "sorry" though you certainly don't have to.


amylouky

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Re: How to tell someone you just don't want to babysit for them?
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2013, 12:35:06 PM »
You're just going to have to be honest.  Just tell your neighbor that you're sorry, but you are not going to be able to help them out.  You are not really interested in being their regular babysitter.  If there's an extreme emergency, you hope he knows he can count on you, but unless it's an emergency, they're going to have to find someone else. 

This has happened to me several times, since I don't have a job outside my home.  I have found that there's only ONE explanation people are willing to accept when I tell them I can't/won't babysit.  And that's the "Because I don't want to" reason.  Simply put, you can't babysit because you don't want to be a babysitter.  Anyone who would argue with you about it isn't worth worrying about their friendship over, IMO.

I agree with Shoo, completely and totally. 

Nothing good will come from saying things like "We're not comfortable doing overnights" because then they will expect you to babysit during the day and you don't really want that.

You need to make clear in a friendly way that you are simply not in the babysitting business and will not continue to babysit these children under any circumstances other than a real emergency.

I think I do, too. It's just a weird situation. I really like neighbor, and he has done some helpful things for us.. he has lent us tools, brings us vegetables, even caught our cat when he got out unknowingly and kept him in his bathroom overnight because it was cold outside.  He and DH talk outside quite a bit.

I really DON'T like his houseguest/gf/whatever.. she barely talks, even when she did come pick up her kids, I opened the door and she said nothing to me, just looked inside to her child and said, "You ready to go?" She's just.. backward. I know that sounds bad but it's what it is.

So, if it were just her I'd have no problem telling her I am not interested in babysitting, ever. But I really don't want to alienate Neighbor, because we do value his friendship. I think for this instance I am going to go with the "we're really not comfortable with keeping them overnight" and if he keeps asking for other times, just say that the kids really don't play well together and it's too much to handle on our own.

I know that "it won't be possible" is the recommended answer but in a situation where I actually care about the relationship I have with the other person, it seems pretty rude to me. I know that I'd be quite confused and probably cooling off the friendship if someone just told me they couldn't help me out, with no explanation at all.

Roe

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Re: How to tell someone you just don't want to babysit for them?
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2013, 12:47:48 PM »
OP, I don't think there's nothing wrong with being honest.

"Older child can be sweet but she doesn't listen at all.  When she's around, our DSs follow her lead and it's just chaos all around so I'm sorry but I won't be able to babysit any longer." 

camlan

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Re: How to tell someone you just don't want to babysit for them?
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2013, 12:49:22 PM »
I think you did great by remembering to say that you needed to check with your DH. That bought you some time to think about the situation. As you get better at saying "no" you'll be able to say it right away, without needing the time to review the situation. But keep using the "I need to check" phrase until you are comfortable saying no right away.

Would you ever watch the kids again? Like if their mom was rushed to the ER in the middle of the night with a burst appendix?

You can just say no on a case by case basis. Even if that means you say no every time. Eventually, he will get tired of hearing you say no, and he'll move on to someone else who says yes more often.

Here's my theory on why people ask the same people over and over for favors--because it is the easiest solution for *them*. Not the easiest thing for the people they ask the favor of.

Look at your situation. You are right next door. He knows you and trusts you. He knows you have kids, so he knows that you know how to take care of kids. They only have to walk the kids next door and know they are safe. You're willing to watch the kids for free. And as long as you say yes, he has no way of knowing there's a problem.

There's a good chance his other babysitters are further away, or expect more money, or get grumpy if he calls too often. He goes with the easiest option, which is calling you. When you start to say no, he'll just move on to the next easiest option.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


amylouky

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Re: How to tell someone you just don't want to babysit for them?
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2013, 12:59:59 PM »
I think you did great by remembering to say that you needed to check with your DH. That bought you some time to think about the situation. As you get better at saying "no" you'll be able to say it right away, without needing the time to review the situation. But keep using the "I need to check" phrase until you are comfortable saying no right away.

Would you ever watch the kids again? Like if their mom was rushed to the ER in the middle of the night with a burst appendix?

You can just say no on a case by case basis. Even if that means you say no every time. Eventually, he will get tired of hearing you say no, and he'll move on to someone else who says yes more often.

Here's my theory on why people ask the same people over and over for favors--because it is the easiest solution for *them*. Not the easiest thing for the people they ask the favor of.

Look at your situation. You are right next door. He knows you and trusts you. He knows you have kids, so he knows that you know how to take care of kids. They only have to walk the kids next door and know they are safe. You're willing to watch the kids for free. And as long as you say yes, he has no way of knowing there's a problem.

There's a good chance his other babysitters are further away, or expect more money, or get grumpy if he calls too often. He goes with the easiest option, which is calling you. When you start to say no, he'll just move on to the next easiest option.


I would definitely be available in a true emergency, and we have been in the past. I also don't really mind having OlderChild over sometimes for an hour or so, in the right circumstance. For example, we've invited her over for popsicles and running around in the back yard/playing on the swingset before (last summer when it was warm), and everything was okay. We took her to the zoo with us once too and although it was a little hectic it wasn't too bad.

So I guess I'm okay with watching her in small doses, and at times that WE choose. I guess that's more playdates than babysitting, though.

DH stays home with our boys, and last summer Neighbor hinted around about DH keeping OlderDaughter when Mom has to work (she works fast food, so variable part time hours). We didn't have a problem saying no to that one, I just told him that it would be too much for DH to handle alone. Looking back I shouldn't have said that, I guess it opened the door to us babysitting at times that we're both home.  :-\

NyaChan

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Re: How to tell someone you just don't want to babysit for them?
« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2013, 01:06:23 PM »
What strikes me about this and I think you should consider as well, is that you have children too and the same number of adults in the household, yet you manage to deal with your childcare needs without troubling the neighbor.  I understand that he does other things for you which are nice, but that doesn't mean you should have to be the default babysitter.

Minmom3

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Re: How to tell someone you just don't want to babysit for them?
« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2013, 01:07:45 PM »
If you don't want to go into the gory details of WHY you don't want to watch the children, you can always say "Your children and my children are not a good combination, they seem to bring out the worst in each other.  Because of that, and the failure to pick up the children when promised, I'm going to have to say no from now on."

There were children we had to refuse play dates with, even with parents around, because the combined behavior was so bad.  Each set alone was fine, but the two sets together were NOT fine.  And not picking up on time, and preventing me from doing something scheduled for after would be a deal breaker all on it's own, unless it was due to something honestly outside her control AND she apologized profusely for inconveniencing me.  Refusing to TALK to me when I've had her children for hours?  Not happening again, period.
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WillyNilly

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Re: How to tell someone you just don't want to babysit for them?
« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2013, 01:22:57 PM »
I would definitely be available in a true emergency, and we have been in the past. I also don't really mind having OlderChild over sometimes for an hour or so, in the right circumstance. For example, we've invited her over for popsicles and running around in the back yard/playing on the swingset before (last summer when it was warm), and everything was okay. We took her to the zoo with us once too and although it was a little hectic it wasn't too bad.

So I guess I'm okay with watching her in small doses, and at times that WE choose. I guess that's more playdates than babysitting, though.

DH stays home with our boys, and last summer Neighbor hinted around about DH keeping OlderDaughter when Mom has to work (she works fast food, so variable part time hours). We didn't have a problem saying no to that one, I just told him that it would be too much for DH to handle alone. Looking back I shouldn't have said that, I guess it opened the door to us babysitting at times that we're both home.  :-\

When I was in about third or fourth grade I was friends with a new girl at school, Francine.  She came over to play or my mom took us both out a few times.  Then one time, dropping her home after a day out, Francine said "oh my mom wanted me to ask if I could come over next Tuesday after school?" My mom said no it wasn't a good day for us.  After Francine got out of the car I asked why my mom had said that, whats going on next Tuesday? My mom explained she was happy to let me see and play with my friends and we could host them, but that she was not a free babysitter, and what had just happened was she was asked to be one.

I understood at the age of 9 or 10, it made perfect sense.  So honestly IMO, it should make perfect sense to a grown adult.

Its like doing dishes.  Dishes suck - they are wet messy chore to do.  But when your friend or family member is sick or hosting or whatever, its a pleasure to help out and do a sink of dishes.  Its the choice aspect that brings pleasure. Choosing to invite the kid for something fun is totally different situation then being asked to watch her as an obligation, even if the actual action is the same either way.

Roe

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Re: How to tell someone you just don't want to babysit for them?
« Reply #26 on: February 28, 2013, 01:43:43 PM »
Its the choice aspect that brings pleasure.

Choosing to invite the kid for something fun is totally different situation then being asked to watch her as an obligation, even if the actual action is the same either way.

Such an important point!!! 

Poppea

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Re: How to tell someone you just don't want to babysit for them?
« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2013, 04:22:08 PM »
If you need an excuse -

"Weekends are really our family time"

"I'm sorry we've got plans with the kids that weekend.  We're taking them to (museum, park, movies, whatever) and don't feel comfortable taking a large group."

"We may hove out of town guests that weekend, so we need to keep that weekend blocked off."

"If I had four kids in my house for a weekend it would end up a murder/suicide thing."

""My kids have night terrors and we don't have guests for that reason"

lkdrymom

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Re: How to tell someone you just don't want to babysit for them?
« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2013, 07:31:05 PM »
I'd go with the truth.....your gf was late picking up the kids and when she did she didn't even acknowledge me much less appreciate the favor I was doing. So no I really don't want to babysit again.

Shoo

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Re: How to tell someone you just don't want to babysit for them?
« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2013, 07:52:44 PM »
If you give them ANY kind of reason (excuse), it will backfire. They will work around it, and then you'll be stuck again.  Just tell them you don't want to.  Really, it's the only way that will stick.  "I just don't want to.  I did it a few times for you because you were in a pinch, but you'll have to find someone else now.  I don't want to be anybody's babysitter.  You'll have to find someone else."