I used to babysit when I was younger. I was great with kids. I was responsible. I knew First Aid and CPR (thanks to having an Aunt who was a nurse and working in a daycare). I’d actually play with the kids and I’d even do dishes or tidy up after they went to sleep while I waited for their parents to get home. I even had a kid here or there that I needed to know sign language for, and didn’t… so I would brush up on some of the essentials so I could better communicate. I didn’t have a “rate”… mostly because it was a side job and I REALLY feel weird (even now) disscussing money.
That’s generally what I looked for in a sitter back before I realized the kids were Autistic. Thankfully we had some great teens in our church we could ask who worked with me in the nursery, so I already knew we could trust them and saw them first hand with my kids.
Now… it’s much… much harder to find a sitter to watch my kids. I’ve even had to leave lists and “instructions” for family. They’d make fun of me… but it’s always funny to see how soon after I leave that they start texting me questions or tell me afterwards “I don’t know how you do it”.
Not only do I look for the qualities I listed above… I’d also look for people who at least understand or have at least heard of Autism and at the least are open minded and take instruction well. Someone who won’t just hang out on the couch until I get back.
Who aren’t squeamish about changing a diaper of a 6 and 7 year old. Who are patient and understanding… who won’t yell at my kids for probably doing something they’re either allowed to do that other kids wouldn’t be or for something they don’t understand they’re doing wrong.
But… not only is finding a PERSON with those qualities hard… I also have to make a list of the foods each kid likes and can eat. Each of them are very different and have food aversions… Jax is lactose intolerant and can’t eat certain things.
Each kid has things that will make them scream bloody murder and cry if it happens or the movie is put on.
Justin has Type 1 diabetes… so if I’ll be gone around the time he needs his blood sugar checked or given his insulin, I have to explain that.
THEN… I also have to take time before I leave to explain everything, show them where everything is, help the kids adjust to them…
Not to mention explaining the PEC cards or some of the signs we use with the kids or what certain things they do mean… like if Justin hands you a tablet, he’s asking for help, where if Tyler hands you one, he’s asking for a screenshot of whatever is paused. Or how Jax will put ANYTHING in his mouth…
And lastly… do you think any of this will come cheap? lol To find someone with all those abilities and then the added time to explain everything on top of the time that I’m going to be gone? No. It’s not. lol
It’s easier to just not go anywhere or TRY to get everything done while the older two are in school and it’s just me and Jax.
Or I used to wait until all the kids were asleep and go out. So the sitter didn’t have to do anything but keep an ear out for someone waking up. But even then… I couldn’t stay out long because sleep is pretty important to me at this point in my life. lol
So… you see why when someone says flippantly “Why don’t you just get a sitter”… my eye may twitch a bit. 😉