Babysitting is one of the most underappreciated jobs out there. Quite a lot of people automatically assume that just because you’re a babysitter, you’ve got it easy. What they don’t often realize is that they’re seeing the tip of the iceberg: the world of babysitting is far deeper and far more demanding than you’d think… and it sometimes has a hilarious edge to it.

Case in point, the babysitters of Reddit have been sharing the weirdest and funniest rules that parents asked them to follow after redditor Foraring asked them to open up about their experiences. If you think you know everything there is to know about babysitting, you’re in for a few surprises. If you know nothing about babysitting, well, buckle in because it’s going to be a wild ride.

Pssst, Pandas, don’t forget to upvote the stories that you liked the most. Got any weird babysitting tales to tell of your own? Drop by the comment section at the bottom of this list.

#1

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow 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.

reddit , Jonas Von Werne Report

Kanuli
Community Member
5 days ago

Why did they not just tell you why 😂 I mean the reason was not for you to not go in the basement or keeping it secret, but to prevent the goat from expecting food obviously. Humans. Just communicate, we are often able to understand 😉

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#2

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow "If Brady stands by the door it just means he needs to go out. Open the door, and let him back inside in a few minutes."

Brady was a four year old boy.

imapuppycat , Paul Hanaoka Report

Legen ( wait for it ) dary
Community Member
5 days ago

Let me just say that this people follow the steps before have a child. First have Rock, then a plant, then a pet, then a child. 😅

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#3

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow 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.

concat-e-nate , Johnny McClung Report

Sue Hazlewood
Community Member
5 days ago

Not weird at all

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The world of babysitting is utterly captivating. I’ve been down this particular rabbit hole more than a handful of times, speaking to babysitters and industry professionals about their experiences taking care of other people’s children. Bizarre rules often spring up from the fact that each and every parent believes that they (and they alone!) know what’s best for their child.

There’s nothing wrong with that, however, it can make it difficult to look at things objectively from time to time. Your child might be the center of your universe, but that doesn’t mean that the 101 rules you’ve got in place for nannies are solid—they might scare away potentially great babysitters, instead.

#4

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow I had to change the kids cloth diaper every 2 hours on the dot. The kid was 6. I assumed it was for some sort of disability or something, but no. His parents just didn't want to potty train him, and the kid was content with being babied. I remember just making the kid put his own diaper on and encouraged him to use the bathroom if he had to go. I never went back.

Drsweetcum , MissMessie Report

~hUmMuS vIbEs~
Community Member
5 days ago

Why did they have a kid if they couldn't bothered to potty train him?

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#5

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow 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.

undeadgorgeous , Michał Parzuchowski Report

Jonathan
Community Member
5 days ago

Poor kids are in for a shock when they enter the real world.

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#6

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow "just let the kid be right, we believe in his achievement"

...he's f**king 5 and wants to kick your lapdog around the house. No, we're doing it my way today.

Babysat twice for them.

MaestroManiac , Timothy Eberly Report

Al Cook
Community Member
5 days ago

Why are there so many people that dont seem to realize what this kind of s**t parenting will lead to as the kid gets older, and even worse thinks his word is gospel as an adult. It's like they want them to be a narcissistic psycho!

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Babysitting can be very lucrative if you’ve got the right skills and work with the right clients. Professional babysitter and redditor, Nannyponyo, told Bored Panda earlier how she once worked a job where she got a whopping 700 dollars per week. The clients also provided room and board and compensated for the use of her car during work hours.

“I think the most unreasonable demands are absurd restrictions for no reason. I have worked with several special needs kids or kids with special circumstances (severe allergies, anxiety, etc.), and some truly need healthy restrictions, but I’ve met with many families who expect a 45+ hour work week and the caregiver is not allowed to leave the home with the child,” the nanny shared with Bored Panda the range of parents that nannies can expect to work with during their careers.

#7

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow I watched 2 girls and the parents asked if I would give them a bath- I thought no problem... then they told me that I must get in the bath with the 2 girls for safety reasons... I said I didn’t have my bathing suit and they both looked at me like I had three heads and asked why I would wear a suit.. girls got a bath without me in the tub and I searched the bathroom for a hidden camera.. didn’t find one, but still never went back.

MommaBearJam , Vytis Gruzdys Report

Al Cook
Community Member
5 days ago

Yeah, may have been innocent, but still very strange! It's not like you are less able to grab them from next to the tub if the fall, as opposed to inside of it.

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#8

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow 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.

mahas511 , Gabriel Crismariu Report

Al Cook
Community Member
5 days ago

Good luck to those kids when they're older and have to face the competitive environment of the real world! Honestly, this "there are no losers" bullshit with participation certificates does noone any favours. It's better to learn that you won't always win and will sometimes experience disappointment in life when you're a kid, than to be dysfunctional as an adult because you never had that lesson earlier in life.

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#9

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow 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.

optimuspaige91 , lilartsy Report

~hUmMuS vIbEs~
Community Member
5 days ago

I don't really know what to make of that.

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According to redditor Nannyponyo, parents who don’t let their kids leave the house and, well, play and act like kids are doing them plenty of harm. “They’re destroying any chance for their child to grow and develop socially and often motor skills are delayed because they’re afraid to let their child out of the house to run and climb and play the way they should,” she said.

“I think they believe that it’s their child that they are raising the way they want to (which I do agree with, to an extent) and all rules should be blindly followed. But some nannies (like myself) have been in the field for many years and can offer valuable insight and advice, which they are rarely willing to take because parenting is so personal,” the babysitter explained that some parents are unwilling to listen to professional advice, no matter how good it might be.

#10

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow Asked me to drive their three year old twins around in my personal vehicle for 2.5 hours because “that’s the only way they can nap”.

No. I simply put the kids in their beds, closed the door, and they were asleep in 15 minutes.

reddit , Annie Spratt Report

Legen ( wait for it ) dary
Community Member
5 days ago

Don't forget that many parents are learning to deal with some things for the first time in their lives and many feel ashamed to ask for help. Maybe they try this and it worked, and that's why they keep doing it. You have more experience and found a better way, now speak with parents as teach them.

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#11

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow 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.

chickaboomba , Bermix Studio Report

Random person
Community Member
5 days ago

That's EVIL lol

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#12

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow Wasn't a rule, but on my first day they sent over an adult male friend of theirs who asked to come in. I said no, and was then told I was being tested and I had passed.

onionsl*t , g_u Report

yeciye
Community Member
5 days ago

If you're already a f*ucked up employer like this, why announce it was a test? The guy might have just reported the results to the employer and the employee would never know.

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“That’s the same reason I believe they often don’t want to offer adequate compensation: it’s personal. They’re (most likely, in my experience) paying you under the table, they’re trying to get a good deal, and they love their child. They don’t think that looking after their ‘precious angel’ is a job; it’s a treat. They would love to be home with their child all day, so I think they feel like it’s not a real job. It’s something you get to do, and they’re mad they have to pay someone to do it.”

#13

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow “Don’t let the children play with the nonbelievers.” They were a super Christian family that I babysat for a few times. One time the children were looking out the window at the neighbors playing and I asked if they wanted to go outside and play, and I s**t you not, this little 5 year old looks me in the eyes and says “We can’t. They are not of God.” So f**king creepy. I wasn’t asked back after I accidentally said “oh my gosh” one time. Apparently gosh is too close to god lmao

reddit , James Report

Vorknkx
Community Member
5 days ago

Don't take Gosh's name in vain, or he'll darn you to Heck.

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#14

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow My mom told me a story of when she you to babysit during her teenage years. She did it for this religious family whose church did not believe in television or their members watching it. She would bring a portable tv with her to watch once the kids were asleep. The parents came home and they were captivated by it. They would invite her over just so they could watch television.

el_monstruo Report

malenchki
Community Member
5 days ago

But did they pay her to get to watch it???

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#15

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow 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

MrsPooPooPants , Alexis Lamster Report

KJ
Community Member
5 days ago

Poor kid, just glad she could say she was done instead of forcing herself to finish the food.

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Redditor Nannyponyo said that parents love their children and would be willing to do anything for them. “There’s a connection there that someone else could never have, and they can’t imagine not having that connection, so they treat it like it’s not a job, it’s a privilege. The ‘you’re so lucky you get to stay home with my baby while I have to go to work’ mindset, when in reality we leave our families to take care of yours; we don’t want to leave our families in the morning for work any more than you do, but it’s our job.”

#16

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow 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.

berniemac85 Report

Al Cook
Community Member
5 days ago

That's actually f****d up. If she's that concerned about them being kidnapped she either shouldn't be leaving them, or the cops should be involved. She certainly shouldn't be relying on a babysitter to assault someone. Looking at it from another perspective, she could also have been a bit of a psycho who had lost them in court and was hiding.

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#17

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow Oh god this is my time to shine. I babysat for this family for the first time ever and the mother was walking me around the house, giving me instructions and showing me around and then stopped at the fridge. She explained to me that when I sent her son to bed, I was to give him 1 hotdog out of the fridge. No heating it, no bun, just a cold soggy hotdog for her son to munch on in bed. Apparently he ate one every night. This was like 7 years ago and I seriously haven’t stopped thinking about it.

groceryenthusiast , Charles Deluvio Report

yeciye
Community Member
5 days ago

Umm... and then he would brush his teeth right? Right??

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#18

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow The mom had me put her kids in their car seats and sit in the driveway with all the car doors open while she just hung out inside the house. 5 hours of me standing in the driveway watching them sit inside their car. Never returned.

Edit: I meant I never returned to babysit for her again, not that the mother mysteriously disappeared.

As for people asking why I didn’t take them somewhere, 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. The kids were twins who were 4 years old, I think. 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 am just as confused as you.

heckinghell , A n v e s h Report

Cheryl Zandt
Community Member
4 days ago

That's sad. Maybe this isn't what was happening with them, but it's a pretty normal response in severely emotionally neglected kids not to cry or complain

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#19

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow I was to keep my skin entirely covered because they were concerned that the newborn drooling on me was too intimate. I had to drape a fresh baby blanket over my entire body every time I was to hold him.

reddit , Inga Munsinger Cotton Report

Monday
Community Member
5 days ago

That's...a little concerning.

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#20

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow 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.

abeilledumiel , Allen Taylor Report

Al Cook
Community Member
5 days ago

I can see reasons for the three rules if there's a bit more context. The coming home in the middle of the night wasted thing is a bit unfair though.

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#21

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow 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.

mbridge24 , Juhan Sonin Report

Jonathan
Community Member
5 days ago

Some people should never have kids.

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#22

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow Mom was a-okay with girls aged 7 and 9 watching Grease every day, leading the girls to ask over lunch one day what a hooker was. Mom was NOT okay with them watching Disney's Hercules, as it centered around gods other than the One True.

KickAstley , Erik Mclean Report

yeciye
Community Member
5 days ago

That's fine. Later, when they're teenagers, they will still watch Hercules; their fascination with Old Gods will fuel their teenage angst; they will rebel beautifully.

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#23

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow One had me feed her 1 year old ONLY from a freshly opened baby food container. If she only ate two or three spoonfulls, I was to throw it away and 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 5 or 6 jars in a 2 hour sitting. They cost more than I usually made for sitting.

GooberMcNutly , Phong Duong Report

~hUmMuS vIbEs~
Community Member
5 days ago

That's so wasteful, why??

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#24

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow I was told that the only thing she specifically wasn't allowed to do was eat a bowl of sugar

naomi_is_watching , Marco Verch Report

Al Cook
Community Member
5 days ago

I get this, my eldest daughter will steal anything she can get her hands on from the pantry, including bags of sugar. Anything sweet is now kept in a locker!

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#25

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow I interviewed for a nanny position once and was asked how I felt about giving mom and dad massages.

Foraring , Toa Heftiba Report

KJ
Community Member
5 days ago

Run away very fast.

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#26

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow 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**king reason to believe it was a secret. They were clearly upset by this and I was never called back to babysit.

reddit , Gabriel Petry Report

MellonCollie
Community Member
5 days ago

That's an odd kind of indoctrination?!

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#27

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow 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.

ZweitenMal , Mark Ordonez Report

Marcellus II
Community Member
5 days ago

I had a colleague once jumping in to a conversation we were having about reading, to proudly state they owned a book. One book. Not a collector's item, special edition, whatever. In the same way you'd say you owned a computer in the very early eighties, expecting positive noises.

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#28

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow No hot sauce after 9pm.

Edit: 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.

JohnMclain112 , Sticker Mule Report

Andy Acceber
Community Member
5 days ago

That seems like common sense and definitely an appropriate rule. 9pm is bedtime or even past bedtime for most kids in the U.S. who are young enough to need babysitters. No hot sauce in bed makes sense.

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#29

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow 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

reddit , Jaye Haych Report

Catie Marie
Community Member
4 days ago

So we're not going to talk about infantilizing a 10yr old?

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#30

30 Babysitters Spill The Tea About The Weirdest Rules They Had To Follow I had to use a rock to trace the ABCs on the kids back so he could fall asleep.

RIPCheeper , Rebecca Partington Report

Jonathan
Community Member
5 days ago

Those are some creepy looking palms.

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