Is there an easier job than babysitting? Not only is it a quick way to earn cash, but it also has its own beneficial rewards on the side, most notably, parental experience. However, on the note of parenting, sometimes the parents can make the job, not necessarily difficult, but just a little weird.
Have you ever been hired to watch someone's child and, before they walked out the door, they mentioned a certain rule that made you do a double take? If so, these stories found on Reddit are just for you. These are the strangest rules that babysitters have ever had to follow.
What An Empowering Lullaby
“I had to put the kids to sleep with the CD player going. That wasn’t the weird part. It was a recording of their parents basically going, ‘You are wonderful. You are a star. You’re going to shine bright.’
That isn’t super weird, but the recording was several hours long. Apparently they listened to it every night. You know, I never stayed long enough to hear the end.”
Take Note Of This In The Nature vs. Nurture Debate
“I babysat for a family that had three boys, one a newborn. I was never to feed the baby by holding it next to me, but I was to put it on my legs and make eye contact with him at all times. No cuddling. Also, I was never to let the older boys lose any game we were playing. I quit after about a month. Years later, I found out that youngest one, the baby whom wasn’t to be cuddled, jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge.”
This Child Was A Messy Accident Waiting To Happen
“The mother asked me to stop by the house to meet her 2-year-old son a week before I was supposed to babysit him for the first time. I pulled up to the house and saw that the young boy was standing at the glass front door with a T-shirt on and nothing else. I went in and I must have given the child a strange look because the mom started to explain that her son doesn’t like to wear pants, so they let him run around pants-less with no diaper on.
I told her that this made me uncomfortable and asked if I could put pants on him when I was watching him. She got upset with me and said they didn’t like to make their 2-year-old son do anything he doesn’t like to do. So, they let him run around without pants on. Unfortunately, this meant he went to the bathroom on the floor since he would not wear a diaper and he wasn’t potty-trained.”
“Don’t Go In The Basement”
“I was 13 and babysitting my neighbors’ kids. It was my first time, so the parents walked me through all the rules about the bathroom, TV, food, bedtime, etc. Just as the parents were taking off for the night, the mom came back in and whispered to me, ‘Don’t go into the basement.’
As a teenager in the 80s, my mind went through all of the scariest movies that had basements. I avoided the door to the basement all night until I had put the kids to bed. Then, I walked slowly to the door and put my ear against it. I heard what sounded like whimpering. Then, it sounded like sad laughing. I ran to the couch and started watching TV to get my mind off of it, but then I heard something fall in the basement and knew someone was down there.
I really don’t know how I got the courage (or stupidity) to do it, but I went over and opened the door. The whining instantly got louder. I went down just three or four stairs so I could peek down… and I saw… a goat. Not a ghost. A goat. As soon as the goat saw me, he started bleating loudly. It scared the heck out of me. I went upstairs and the goat was still bleating loudly, so much that it woke up the kids and the oldest girl came out.
‘Did you open the door to the basement?’ she asked.
‘Yeah, why?’ I asked.
‘When you do that, Carlos thinks you’re going to feed him and he starts yelling.’
Thank god I knew it was a goat first, because if she had said that before I went down, I would’ve thought Carlos was some kidnapped person in the basement who would yell for food. It became very funny to me. When the mom came home and I told her what happened, she almost died laughing. They were repairing the goat pen and had to keep him in the basement for a few days. I still remember every moment of that night vividly.
I think the mom told me not to go into the basement that way either to mess with me, or she was so used to telling her daughters not to go down there that she didn’t even think of how creepy it would sound to someone else. I bet that goat was probably driving her crazy that week. It wasn’t funny then, but is funny to me now. Whenever I watch a scary movie and they’re going into the basement, I pray there’s a goat.”
She Should Have Charged Them For Fuel Money Anyway
“The parents asked me to drive their 3-year-old twins around in my personal vehicle for two and a half hours because, ‘That’s the only way they can nap.’
I have been nannying for so long and worked with so many different families and situations. I’m not afraid to say directly to neurotic parents, ‘That is ridiculous. They are three years old, not colicky newborns. I’ll get them to sleep here at the house.’ I simply put the kids in their beds, closed the door, and they were asleep in 15 minutes.
When the mom came home, both kids had been passed out for the two hours. She thought it must have been some awful battle. I assured her that it was not. I just put them in their beds, in their baby-proofed room, told them to have a great nap and then closed the door. They couldn’t get out because they had the doorknob cover on their side of the door and I was listening and watching them on a monitor. They messed around a little, but got bored and – gasp – got back in their bed and fell asleep.
‘Wow!’ the Dad said. ‘You can get them to sleep better than either one of us, I think!'”
It Was, Borderline An Animal-Sitting Job
“In high school, I babysat for a woman who knew my mom. She had two kids. Both acted like feral animals who kicked and bit me very hard when I told them ‘No.’ She had her TV behind a plexiglass window because they keep breaking TVs. She had locks on the outside of the bedroom door and a crib set up that essentially locked the younger 3 or 4-year-old child into her crib. It had a top that you pulled down and padlocked to the sides. It was absolutely horrific.
The kids screamed bloody murder when I tried to get them to listen. Their grandma who lived next door came over. Did she come over to help me out? No, she gave these kids cookies and talked down to me for not being able to control them, as if it was my fault that her grandkids acted like animals and not the fact that their mother apparently treated them like animals and gives them treats when they have temper tantrums instead of putting them in timeout like a normal person.
Their mom promised to be back by 9 pm. She wasn’t back until 2 am. That was after I started calling all the bars to find her. I was planning to eat dinner afterward, so I was starving. I called my mom and she ordered delivery for me. The grandmother got peeved that she didn’t order enough for the kids too and guilted me into sharing it. The mom finally came home, paid me $10 for 10 hours of babysitting, even though we agreed on $20 for five hours. Then, she proceeded to talk down to me the next time she went out, saying I was lazy and a bad babysitter. She said I should have beaten the kids and locked them in the bedroom when they started acting up.
My mom and I contacted Child Protective Services afterward a few times. Unfortunately, nothing came of it. Where I live, they give people 24-hour notice before inspecting a house. I’m sure she was able to hide whatever, or they just gave her a warning. I never babysat there again.”
Should Have Just Told Them Lies… “Sweet Little Lies”
“The 3-year-old daughter HAD to watch a VHS tape of a live Fleetwood Mac concert before bed.
OK, cute, I thought. That’s adorable. Three-year-olds love the weirdest things. She’s so quirky and this will be fun.
But, she didn’t love it. She always wanted to watch The Land Before Time instead. But, it was always on the note left for me – ‘Pager number, pediatrician, chicken soup for dinner is in fridge and, and WATCH FLEETWOOD MAC at 6:30 before bed.’
The family eventually found out I wasn’t making her watch it, as I had no freaking reason to believe it was a secret. They were clearly upset by this and I was never called back to babysit. So, that was weird.”
“Just Hold Him Down, Even If He’s Screaming”
“One woman I found through Care.com was just generally pretty weird. Some of the weirder things were, ‘only let the kids have three spoonfuls of peanut butter each,’ ‘the boy might want to throw softballs at you, just try to catch them to avoid getting hit,’ and ‘also, if he doesn’t want to brush his teeth just hold him down and do it for him even if he’s screaming.’
I get that some kids need to be (for lack of a better word) forced to brush their teeth. But this kid was almost 5 and was really too old for that and it was clear that his teeth-brushing tantrums were for the sole purpose of driving whoever was watching him crazy. He cooperated more once I stopped reacting strongly, brushed his teeth, and let me read him a story. It made me wonder how the mom handled this stuff.
The kids screamed, hit, fought, made messes the whole time, and wanted me to chase them around the yard with sticks. I did not. Both times I babysat for this woman, she didn’t tell me when she would be home and didn’t show up until the middle of the night, totally wasted. The first time, she forgot to pay me. I was too nervous to say anything, so she had me pick cash up from her mailbox later in the week. She shorted me $5. I stopped going there.”
A Real “Trip” In The Car
“The kids were twins who were four years old, I think. The mom had me put the twins in their car seats and sit in the driveway with all the car doors open while she just hung out inside the house. I didn’t take them anywhere. She specifically asked me to just sit in the driveway with them. I also didn’t have my drivers license yet, so I couldn’t have taken them anywhere even if I wanted to.
For five hours, I stood in the driveway, watching the twins sit inside their car. They were weirdly, weirdly well behaved and didn’t complain about what we were doing. To this day, I have no idea what she was doing inside or why she didn’t just let them play in the yard. I never returned to babysit for her again.”
“I Wonder What Else Those Boys Endured”
“The neighbor I babysat for when I was around 12 had four rambunctious boys. The youngest, who was probably 2 or 3, was locked in a dog crate under the kitchen counter when I arrived. She told me to leave him there until they returned, which would have been four or five hours later.
I let him out immediately and called my mom saying that I wanted to call the police because I thought that was super abusive. The crate was too small for him to even stretch out in. My mom said no, so I never did. I also never went back there. To this day, I feel guilty and wonder what else those boys endured.”
Bad Sign When You Have To Use Duct Tape On The Baby
“I used to regularly babysit one of my younger cousins. At nap time, I had to put her in a zip-up pajama with feet. I then had to duct tape the zipper down and tape the wrists in a way that wasn’t restricting, but kept her from pulling her hands into her onesie.
If I didn’t do this she would pull her hands in and dig in her diaper. Always. My aunt got tired of cleaning poop-covered walls regularly. For a while, just taping the zipper worked. Then, she got smart and started pulling her arms into the pajamas, making an even nastier mess.”
How Progressive That Family Was
“It was a hippie family. The 2-year-old had no bedtime and no rules.
‘She can eat what she wants,’ the parents told me, ‘no bedtime, and if she falls asleep, leave her wherever she crashed.’
The parents came home at 2:30 am to a toddler eating chocolate cake on the couch with her preferred American Pickers on TV. That was fine, apparently.
Months later, the mom was very pregnant and asked that, when the baby was born, if I could wrangle her toddler while she gave birth in a bathtub at home. A two-year-old was to be in the room, watching, while I explained what was happening. I left that evening when the parents came home, with fried chicken in the toddlers hand and Keeping Up with the Kardashians on TV, and denied their next request to come sit. As a 20-year-old, I wasn’t prepared to see the mess of someone else’s home birth.”
A Surefire Way To Spoil Your Children
“I was their everyday nanny for their four boys (10, 8, 6, and 6). I got the kids off the bus at around 2:30 pm and then hung out with them until 6 pm, sometimes later. I was told the first day that I was under no circumstances to punish the kids. I just simply had to separate them. I was forbidden from going upstairs (again, under any circumstances), so I was limited to the living room, kitchen, dining room, and a less formal living room.
Guess how long it took for the four boys to figure out I couldn’t punish them or follow them upstairs? About two days. About a month in, I was at my wits end. I was on the verge of quitting because the kids were horrible and the expectations were insane. How was I supposed to make a kid do his homework if he hid upstairs where I couldn’t go?
One day, the 8-year-old sumo smashed one of the 6-year-olds into the coffee table. So I ‘punished’ him. I made him sit in a chair in the other room and took away his iPad time. The mom came home while the kid was sitting in the corner. It was awkward. She paid me and I left with no intention of ever coming back. Then, she fired me over text an hour later.”
Just (Don’t) Say “No”
“Years ago, I was a nanny. The mom told me that they didn’t use the word ‘no.’ Instead, I was told to ‘redirect’ the child when they were doing things that ‘weren’t nice.’ Basically, think of PC Principal’s mom and you’ve got my former boss. I couldn’t say the kid was doing something ‘bad,’ etc.
As most of you parents and babysitters can imagine, he was a perfect little demon. The day I quit was when he took a knife off the counter and tried to stab me with it. For his safety and mine, I grabbed it away, which set off the most fake and most spoiled tears I have ever heard. I explained to my boss that I could no longer watch the child because ‘redirecting’ him to calmly lay down the steak knife was a job for a police officer in a hostage situation, not a minimum wage college student.
I had no problem with using redirection, actually. I mean, he was 2. Unfortunately, they weren’t doing real ‘redirecting.’ To top it off, he was starting to hit and bite when I left. I hope he’s adjusted well.”
Only The Freshest Food For You, My Dear
“One mom had me feed her 1-year-old ONLY from a freshly opened baby food container. If she only ate two or three spoonfuls, I was to throw it away. When she wanted more in 15 minutes, I was to open a new one. I thought it was so she would finish her meal and be full for a while, but she said it was OK to feed her every time she wanted it. I would probably throw away five or six jars in a two-hour sitting. They cost more than I usually made for sitting.”
Let Us Pray… A Lot
“One parent said I had to read a Bible passage during dinner and as a bedtime story. I also had to use ‘Christian discipline’ methods. To this day, I have no idea what she meant, but if the kids acted out, I would just say, ‘Would the Lord like you doing that?’
I also had to make the kids pray every 15 minutes. I thought it was a bit much, but you got to respect it.”
What A Unique Appetite The Child Had
“I babysat for this family for the first time ever. The mother was walking me around the house, giving me instructions, and showing me around. Then she stopped at the fridge. She explained to me that when I sent her son to bed, I was to give him one hot dog out of the fridge. No heating it. No bun. Just a cold, soggy hot dog for her son to munch on in bed. Apparently, he ate one every night. This was years ago and I, seriously, haven’t stopped thinking about it.”
“Winning And Losing Leads To Hurt Feelings”
“I’m a professional nanny and one of the families I worked for had a strict ‘no games’ rule. Not as in video games, but as in any game that could have a winner and a loser. No board games, no tag, nothing. ‘Winning and losing leads to hurt feelings,’ was their explanation. I’d have to stop the girls any time they said something like, ‘I bet I can get to the end of the driveway faster,’ and remind them: ‘Mom and Dad say no competition, remember?’ Everything had to be perfectly equal or the parents would lose it completely. I fired them as clients shortly after.”
Surprisingly Strict Veggie Rules
“They refused to let their kids eat raw veggies for absolutely no reason. They never told me this, so I gave the kids ages 5-7 raw, washed and cut broccoli with some ranch for a snack. They were happily eating as the mom was getting ready for a party. She walked by, saw the kids eating the broccoli, took it from them, microwaved it and said they like it much better this way.
The kids did not like it better and even they thought it was weird. I was then instructed to never give them raw veggies.
I could understand if they were toddlers still learning to chew, but these kids were plenty old enough to chew broccoli florets without choking.”