Babysitting can be a sweet gig. Getting paid to entertain and watch over kids with only a few rules. Nothing too extreme. Sadly, that was not the case for these babysitters. These people share the weirdest rules they had to obey while babysitting.
Content has been edited for clarity.
"The mother asked me to stop by the house to meet her two-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, though he wasn'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 two-year-old son do anything he doesn't like to do, so they let him run around without pants on, which unfortunately means he went to the bathroom on the floor, since he won't wear a diaper and he wasn't potty-trained."
"I babysat for a woman who knew my mom. She had two kids, and both acted like feral animals. Both kicked and bit me very hard when I told them no. She had her TV behind a plexiglass thing because they kept on breaking TVs. She had locks on the outside of the bedroom door and had the crib set up that essentially locked the younger kid (three or four years old) 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. Then their grandma who lived next door would come over. Did she come over to help me out? No, she gave these kids cookies. Then trash-talked me for not being able to control them like it was my fault that her grandkids acted like animals and not the fact that their mother apparently treated them like animals. She would give them treats when they had temper tantrums instead of putting them in timeout like a normal person.
Their mom promised to be back by nine. This was important because I was still in high school and had school the next day. But she wasn't back until two am and that was after I started calling all the bars to find her.
I was planning to eat dinner afterward because I was starving. I called my mom and she ordered delivery for me. Of course, the grandmother became butthurt that my mom didn't order enough for the kids too and guilted me into sharing it. The mom finally came home, paid me ten bucks for ten hours of babysitting, even though we agreed on 20 bucks for five hours. She proceeded to trash talk me the next time she went out that I was lazy and a bad babysitter. And said I should have beaten their behinds and locked them in the bedroom when they started to act up.
My mom and I contacted CPS afterward a few times. unfortunately, nothing came of it. Where I live they give people 24 hour notice before inspecting a house, so I'm sure she was able to hide whatever, or they just gave her a warning. I never babysat there again.
"As far as TV went, it was the 90s era of awesome Nickelodeon cartoons, but these parents were not a fan. They specifically said, 'No Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs or any of those types of shows. If you want to put on something for them to watch put on Grease.' Mind you, their girls were ages four and six.
I mean sure it was songs and dancing, but the parents were all about shielding them from inappropriate stuff. I never was into Grease mainly because it was a musical. After watching it with those kids even more so, I question how it was in any way better than Animaniacs or Tiny Toons. At least there was some knowledge dropped in subtle forms while being clever in both of those shows. Grease to me was horrendously bad for young kids, especially young girls. Granted, they probably didn't pay attention to the plot, but there was a whole scene about a rubber breaking. Also, the general plotline was about the studious girl who couldn't get the 'cool' bad/tough guy, so she became the bad girl to get the 'cool' bad/tough guy, dropping all of who she may be just for a guy.
I still look back on this weird rule the parents asked and am still baffled."
"I was their everyday nanny. I got the kids off the bus at like two-thirty in the afternoon every day and then hung out with them until six (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 under any circumstances also. So I was only limited to the living room, kitchen, dining room, and a less formal living room.
With that said, guess how long it took the four boys (ranging from the age six to ten) to figure out I couldn't punish them or follow them upstairs?
Just two days. So about a month in, I was at my wit's end. I was on the verge of quitting because the kids were horrible, and the expectations were insane. How am I supposed to make a kid do his homework if he was hiding upstairs where I couldn't go?
One day, the eight-year-old sumo smashes one of the six-year-olds into the coffee table. So I 'punished' him by making him sit in a chair in the other room and taking away his iPad time.
I wasn't being a psycho. With any kids, I would have just made them go to their room, or taken away TV time.
Then the mom came home while her kid was sitting in the corner. It was awkward. But either way, she paid me before I left, with no intentions of ever coming back. She had the same thought, because she fired me over text an hour later."
"I used to be vegan when I was a teenager. When I babysat half the neighborhood’s kids. I wasn’t pushy about it. It only ever came up when people asked. Like when I went to restaurants with others, or when the nicer parents offered to order food (usually pizzas) for me and their kids while I babysat.
My usual responses were, 'That would be great! I won’t be eating any, though, so don’t worry about it or order a lot of food.' Or, 'No worries. I can cook for the kid(s) if you’d prefer'.
One mother I babysat for did not like those responses. She would order two pizzas every time I babysat. She had two kids under ten, no way could they plow through that much pizza. She was well aware and even began requesting I pay her back for the 'waste of food' I caused her.
She then told all the other families I babysat for that I had 'forced' her kids to eat vegan food (sorry I gave them vegetables? Like once?), and I had been 'pushing my agenda' on them. I had apparently been telling them meat was bad or something. She even went as far as claiming I showed her kids pictures of maimed animals to try and 'convert' them.
She made rules according to those accusations and asked me not to do all these crazy shenanigans I hadn’t been doing in the first place. She also requested I stop being vegan, as it was 'harming her children.' But she kept requesting that I watch her kids. It didn't make sense.
I hopped outta that gig real fast."
"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, tv, food, bedtime, and so on. Just as the parents were taking off for the night, the mom came back in.
She 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 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 live goat. As soon as the goat saw me, he started bleating loudly. It scared the bejeebers 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."
"I babysat for this family who was super weird. My mom kind of knew their mom, but they weren’t friends or anything. They had seven kids, and the youngest one was kind of rambunctious.
They told me that when it came time to put him down for his nap, I needed to lock him in his room for three hours and not let him out until the time was up. I did lock him in there at first, even though I felt weird about it, but I figured it was just in case he decided to wander out/ I figured that he wouldn’t mind it and would sleep or play, but that was not the case. He started throwing his entire body against the door, banging his head against the wall, and screaming bloody murder. It was like blood-curdling banshee screams. I got so freaked out that I let him out as soon as he started doing it, because I didn’t want him to hurt himself, and he was obviously extremely distressed. I just played with him and read him stories after that and he was fine.
When the mom got home I told her about it and she rolled her eyes and seemed aggravated that I let him out. She said he always does that and I just had to ignore it. Then she paid me 40 bucks for eight hours of babysitting. My rate was ten bucks an hour. I never babysat for them again."
"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. That meant 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."
"They asked that I do not use the word 'no' with the kids. It was a situation where the mother was in the home while I watched the kids. One time the four-year-old was trying to spill his orange juice on the table.
I said, 'No, Wesley! Don't do that!'
I was reprimanded by the mom. Instead of saying, 'No Wesley, you don't do that' she asked me to say, 'Wesley, you're not allowed to pour orange juice on the table. It makes a mess for me to clean up.'
And I understood the logic of explaining why I said the word 'no', but I actually did not understand for the life of me why the word 'no' could not be used.
Additionally, they would allow bad behavior if the child understood what the consequence of that behavior was. One time, Wesley wanted to pee off the balcony.
I went with the rule and said, 'Wesley, if you pee off the balcony, you won't get any books read to you tonight.'
He thought it out and decided he would rather pee off the side of the balcony into the yard than have his books. And the rule was for what? He didn't listen. So I had to deal with going down and cleaning his privates because he felt he could go without the books. I thought it was some rubbish."
"One woman I found through Care.com was just generally pretty weird. Some of the weirder rules were:
Both times I babysat 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, 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 five bucks.
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."
'Also if he doesn't want to brush his teeth just hold him down and do it for him even if he is screaming'
'The boy might want to throw softballs at me, just try to catch them to avoid getting hit'
'Only let the kids have three spoonfuls of peanut butter each'"
"When I was about 15, I was asked by a family in my church to babysit for them. I didn't know them all that well. Like, I had never babysat anyone before and had no idea why they asked me. This family had a daughter about a year younger than me, so I figured she wasn't going to be home. I found out not only that she was going to be home, but I was primarily there to watch her. Not for her two younger sisters, but for her. I guess she had nightmares, and if she woke up, I was supposed to 'hug and kiss' her. This was quite a shocker to me, and I was really uncomfortable with it, but I stayed anyway. Luckily, she didn't wake up."
"The mother of the kids whom I babysat for asked me to wash her industrial-sized windows on my 'lunch break', or in other words, when the kids had a nap. But she didn’t pay me extra for it. They were filthy windows, because she lived on a high floor of an apartment building, and it was during cyclone season, so there were lots of dust and rain stains mixed together. Whenever I’d clean the windows, she’d be in the house on her laptop at the dining table, watching me and pointing out areas I’d missed. I was 18 and very intimidated by her, so I did it a few times.
Also, she would always come home and say, 'Do you mind if I pay you next time, for this shift and the next one altogether?'
And then when the next shift arrived, she’d say that she thought she already paid me for the previous one. I kept track of the payments and dates on my phone to prove her wrong. I disliked confronting her, but I was a poor university student, so I definitely stood my ground with that.
Oh yeah, the kids were in diapers until they were three. And I was required to change their diapers, even though I lightly suggested they should be going through potty training. A three-year-old's poop is really disgusting compared to baby poop.
So glad those days are over."
"I have a multitude of hellish babysitting stories, and a good number of them are from one family I babysat for when I was around 12-13. I know I was young, but it was the 90’s, and my friends and I actually made a 'babysitters club.' Some families were desperate enough to hire other children to watch their children.
I babysat, along with my best friend and fellow club member, for this truly bizarre and awful family for about a year and a half. They had three boys, all weird in their own special way. The parents were bizarre as well, so they didn’t come by it strangely. Some highlights:
Weird Thing One: The 'Creeper' family had a son who was also 12 and went to school one grade below me. I was specifically told I was 'not in charge of him'. He locked himself in his room when we were there. If he needed to come out, he would sneak around and try not to be seen, which made it that much creepier. I don’t remember ever speaking to him, and I barely caught more than a glimpse of him the entire year and a half I babysat there. I tried talking to him in school once, but he just stared at me, turned, and walked back the way he came. He was fairly typical at school and had friends, so I was mystified. I have a funny feeling his parents told him to lock himself in and not speak or interact with me, and he took it a bit far.
Weird Thing Two: The mother almost always paid me in loose change. I got two bucks and fifteen cents per hour. Yes, it was still rubbish money then, and yes it was that specific. I remember because she gave me a pay raise when I turned 13 to two bucks and twenty-five cents. She also would clock exactly when she left and when she returned, and pay me in 15-minute increments. Once, I babysat for her all day on a Saturday and got paid entirely in nickels. I asked her for a sandwich baggie to put them in, and she refused. So I had to stuff about 22 bucks worth of nickels in every available pocket. This was a comfortably middle-class family with two working parents. What the heck?!
Weird Thing Three: The middle boy was a monster of a child. She would be screaming, fighting, and was often violent towards me and my friend when she would babysit. She actually called me in a panic once to come to help her. They were playing in the backyard, and Monster Boy had recently gotten a drum kit. He was beating his younger brother and her with the drum sticks, and when she tried to take them away, he bit her so hard that he broke the skin. Between the two of us, we wrestled him to the ground and pried the drumsticks away. He then proceeded to chase us around, trying to get them back. Eventually, I ran out onto the street and just stood in the middle and told him he wasn’t allowed in the street (true), and if he came out, the neighbors would see and back up my story to his mom (probably not true). I had to stand there for a good 30 minutes before he gave up giving me the laser death ray stare from the curb. Surprisingly, my friend did not get rabies from her bite wound.
The youngest was actually pretty sweet and fun to be around, but he would have random moments where he would just lose his mind and do something off the wall nuts. A prime example of this was when he stabbed my friend with a fork, with a smile on his face, for not being allowed to eat his TV dinner in front of the TV, which was the Prime Directive from Mom. It was first on her very long list of rules.
There is so much more I could say but the final straw was the diarrhea episode. The mom called me last minute to babysit that night. When I got there, the youngest was the only one around, and he was extremely sick (she had not mentioned this at all). The mom made double sure I remembered the rule about never eating ANY of their food. Then she told me I was to make him scrambled eggs and a bagel for dinner, and if he didn’t finish it, she generously informed me I could finish what was left (after having been picked over by this EXTREMELY sick kid). I hadn’t eaten since I was about to have dinner when she called. I was super hungry, but I was not about to eat leftover plague eggs. I had to call my mom to bring me food from home. The kid was violently and messily ill. I’m talking at both-ends explosion every 20 minutes or so. I felt bad for him, but it was revolting. She and her husband had taken the other two kids to stay somewhere else because he was so sick, and then they didn’t tell me what they did, just so they could escape. Grade A prick move.
My idiot 13-year-old probably would’ve gone back again, but after that episode, my mother forbade me from ever going back there."