Rules are something babysitters get used to. Every household is going to be a little bit different: a different bedtime for their kids, maybe somebody has allergies, etc.
Sometimes it can get a little weird though.
Reddit user Foraring asked:
"Don't Touch Daddy's Food"
The dad had a whole cupboard of brand name junk food just for him. It had an inventory list taped to the inside of one door so he could ensure no one stole from his stash. The kids and mom got no-name brand food. When I got there the mom repeatedly told me "don't touch daddy's food!" and when he drove me home the dad asked me if I'd touched his food and grilled me about boys. Did I like boys a lot? Did I have a boyfriend? How many boyfriends had I already had? I was 12 or 13.
I only babysat there once; the whole experience gave me the creeps.
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 "Molly, you are wonderful. You are a star. You're going to shine bright." That isn't super weird...But it was like several hours long, and apparently they listened to it every night.
"No Hot Sauce After 9pm"
To give some context, the kid LOVED hot sauce...but his folks were super over protective...maybe they had heard of ppl eating too much hot sauce an throwing it up as it would not settle?
Honestly the kid was made of solid steel...we went to Taco Bell pretty much every time I babysat.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, The family gave me instructions to let their kids drink chocolate milk, which they were otherwise not allowed to have. I think they wanted their kids to associate baby sitter time with fun time, so the parents could go out more often. Seemed to work out well for them, the kids both grew up to be successful people.
Every Kid Would Rather Watch Land Before Time
OMG thanks for asking because you reminded me of a weird thing.
The 3 year old daughter HAD to watch this VHS tape of a live Fleetwood Mac concert before bed.
I was like, okay cute , that's adorable, 3 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 land before time instead. But it was always on the note left for me. Like /pager number, pediatrician, chicken soup for dinner is in fridge and, and WATCH FLEETWOOD MAC at 630 before bed/
Obviously the family eventually found out I wasn't making her watch it, as I had no f*cking 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...
Get Ready For A Creepy Story...
I was 13 and was babysitting my neighbors' kids. It was my first time, so the parents walked me through all the rules about the bathroom and tv and food and 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 to 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. And 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/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 crap out of me. I went upstairs and the goat was still bleating loudly...so much that it woke up the kids. The oldest girl came out and said, "Did you open the door to the basement?" I said, "Yeah, why?" She said, "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. The mom came home and I told her what happened and she almost died of 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.
"Only 2 Hours Of Reading Time"
To be fair, the mom was a librarian and her two kids were adorably nerdy. They had an entire room filled with books and even then we'd make trips to the library from time to time. The rest of the time was supposed to be outside or doing some activity. It was a super sweet deal too because she paid for not only her kids to have a pool pass but me as well, so we basically went everyday all summer and we would play in the pool.
Don't Eat The Vanilla Wafers!
I used to babysit for this family when I was in high school (in the 80s) and they had no books or reading material of any kind, except that there would usually be like two sections of the WSJ and a running magazine lying around. No. Books.
Anyway, once I went over there and the mom told me like nine times, BEGGED ME, not to eat the box of 'Nilla Wafers that was in the cupboard because she needed them for a recipe the next day. BEGGED. I was like, "Ok, got it. They're totally safe because I don't even like vanilla wafers!" She kept mentioning it, and it was the first thing she asked me about when they got home.
Ok. So I thought it was weird, but after reading through these posts ... yikes. Anyway, when I was a kid, there was a mom who would only allow her kids to do art on Tuesdays. I never learned why it was only one day or why it was Tuesday. But she totally flipped out one day when we did it on the wrong day.
Then Why Have A Microwave?
Not allowed to serve her kid food that was heated in the microwave. Also she NEVER told me this until after I babysat her and berated me for it. How was I supposed to know? Guess I ruined that child.
That same lady would give me a list of chores to complete too. How am I supposed to watch your kid AND vacuum your house?
What About Half A Bowl?
I was told that the only thing she specifically wasn't allowed to do was eat a bowl of sugar.
Once a family asked me only to feed their baby formula made with twice boiled Fiji water.
Too Dangerous For A Sitter
Not a rule but a single mom once told me to use the bat by the door in the event the kids father comes by and tries to take them. That was pretty weird and uncomfortable.
To give him warm milk in a *baby bottle* right after every dinner - he was a fully functional 10 year old boy.
Edit: To answer some of the quesions: Yes, he was fine with it; His parents were otherwise normal (as far as I saw), the kid himself was great; His teeth seemed fine from what I can remember (not that I really would have paid attention to that back then), but I just found him on facebook and it looks like he did have braces around 14-15 years old
Definitely Not "Easy"
When I was about 14 some friends of my parents asked me to babysit their 9 or 10 son who wanted a boy babysitter. When I got to their house the mom told me that her son loved poached eggs and asked me to make him a poached egg on toast for dinner. She quickly explained to me how to make it as if were something really simple and easy. Later that night, after wasting half their eggs in a hopeless effort to make a poached egg, I asked the kid if he liked scrambled eggs. He said he loved scrambled eggs and ate them without complaint. When the parents came home I apologized for using up their eggs. They laughed and seemed to appreciate the effort, although the mom explained it again and insisted that it was really simple. I'm almost 40 now and I still suck at making poached eggs and it cracks me up that the mom thought a 14 year old should be able to whip one up based on a few instructions. On the other hand, as a parent, I appreciate the hell out of that kid.
Edit: Wow, I love that this has brought out so many egg poaching tips. Now I need suggestions for hollandaise!
Not As Comforting As She Thought
Not necessarily a rule but the first time I went to their house they told me about their daughter's very serious peanut allergy, walked me through the epi pen, prevention, phone numbers of their neighbors who were doctors- all fine so far. I took this very seriously. But then the mother put her hands on my shoulders and said "if she dies we wouldn't blame you. It wouldn't be your fault". While I appreciate the thought this freaked me the hell out and I was 100 times less comfortable
14 years old. Funny story I was uncomfortable but still took the job, and about 6 months in I put the oven timer on to make sure the kids got ready for bed by bedtime and lo and behold it was actually the microwave- microwave busted open while I was upstairs brushing the kids teeth and melted glass from the plate was everywhere. I cried my eyes out and called my mom to rescue me. The parents weren't even mad, they called the company they bought their microwave from and they covered the damages. They were great kids and a great family to work for- just terrible wording day one
Pants Are A Requirement
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 go 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, though he isn't potty trained. I told her that this made me uncomfortable and asked if I could put pants on him when I was watching him, and she got upset with me and said they don'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, which unfortunately means he goes to the bathroom on the floor since he won't wear a diaper and he isn't potty-trained.
Don't Be This Lady
One woman I found through care.com was just generally pretty weird. Some of the weirder things were:
-only let the kids have 3 spoonfuls of peanut butter each
-the boy might want to throw softballs at me, just try to catch them to avoid getting hit
-also if he doesn't want to brush his teeth just hold him down and do it for him even if he's screaming
Also both times I babysat she didn't tell me when she'd be home and didn't how up until the middle of the night, totally wasted. The first time she forgot to pay me, and 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.
The kids screamed, hit, fought, and made messes the whole time, and wanted me to chase them around the yard with sticks. I did not. I also stopped going there.
The kid couldn't have dessert if she didn't finish her dinner. Problem was she was about 4 or 5 and dinner was two cheeseburgers and sides. She ate half of one and,was okay with not getting dessert.
Kindergartener couldn't watch any movie or read any book if it had a protagonist and an antagonist. That's like...every movie and book.