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Staff Babysitting


Jenni B
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Hi

 

I work in a children centre where one of the parents approached our outreach worker about a member of creche staff babysitting for her (this particular staff member has been trained in a medical procedure which her child requires).

 

We havent approached the creche staff member yet as we dont have a policy in place? If the staff member says yes, it might put other staff members (such as the outreach worker) in an awkward position as it would be inappropriate for some members of staff to do this?

 

Does anyone have a policy in place for this type of thing or any advice for me?

 

Thanks you

jx

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hi

do not have a policy in place but would be interested to see replies i have a problem with staff babysitting for and socialising with parents outside of work which is starting to affect professional relationships.

 

Hi

 

I work in a children centre where one of the parents approached our outreach worker about a member of creche staff babysitting for her (this particular staff member has been trained in a medical procedure which her child requires).

 

We havent approached the creche staff member yet as we dont have a policy in place? If the staff member says yes, it might put other staff members (such as the outreach worker) in an awkward position as it would be inappropriate for some members of staff to do this?

 

Does anyone have a policy in place for this type of thing or any advice for me?

 

Thanks you

jx

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Hi there,

 

I was just thinking about this very subject yesterday. In our setting quite a few of the younger members of staff babysit for parents. There is currently no policy on this, but as you say belle 06, I have noticed some changes in professional attitude - which could lead to compromising confidentiality. I think this might have to be discussed and a policy drawn up..... yet another one! At least it would make things a little clearer for all concerned.

 

Lesley :o

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This is quite interesting as we have had this in my setting, we had a member of staff who built up a relationship with the parents and the child then sarted socialising outside the pre-school, i found this very hard situation to handle as she was also that childs keyworker...

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As ever there are 2 sides to each and every story!

 

I became quite friendly with a Mum whose daughter was in our setting, but who was expecting a baby who was known to have a heart defect.

 

When her daughter left us, the support she had received in our setting had been so gratefully received that she wanted to remain in contact.

 

Another Mum (this ladies very good friend) who also had a daughter with us at the same time, lost a baby at one month old and again I think she likes to keep links with us because she found more than a professional person at the door each day.

We all went to the funeral for this baby and cried together.

 

I think what I am trying to say is that sometimes the bonds you build are too strong to then release and not see the person again and just because you care for someones child does not mean you cannot be friends outside of the work place.

 

It just means being careful about what you say!!

 

It is tricky don't get me wrong, and I do see the down side, but I suppose it will depend on the individuals involved and I don't feel a "carte blanche" decision could or should be made about such things!

 

I am grown up (!!) Way grown up actually............ and I think I am wise enough to know the pitfalls and to work around them!!

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We dont have a policy but I advise the parents and staff against it, it can lead to major problems, if there is a child protection issue etc then you are obliged to report it. We used to have staff who socialised with parents but I found that one parent in particular used the chance to get info out of the staff about the setting!! Staff no longer here but parent is and she is a royal pain in the **se!!

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I have always found this hard .

 

In our setting the parents often were friends with staff members.. not just parents... they got to know us very well, in and out of the setting.. meeting up in the nightclubs and local area quite frequently... think is is something to do with our location and having parents send 4 children to us so over 6 or 7 years sometimes more ( I had one parent with a child with us all the time I worked there, and others return after 5+ year break) they were constantly in and out of the setting.. you cannot help but build a relationship with someone you meet for so long.

 

we felt that babysitting was outside of the setting and really a private matter between staff and parents, but just reminded staff of confidentiality..

 

but funnily enough we did not have many requests, only an occasional one and I know staff actually offered for children with additional needs knowing parents could not get out without a babysitter who understood the child well.

 

Think the lack of requests was because staff were out socialising with the parents!

 

Inge

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This is a very hard situation and most of my staff do not want to take on more work than they normally do. We now have a staff code of conduct that states that staff can nt babysit and have contct with the parents outside of the setting. this is hard when you do build up a realtionship with the parents but it does make it easier for the staff to say no to baby siting. This code ofconduct is reviewed with the staff team yearly and this has had a big inpact on the working of our team.

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Well, I for one would be extremely unhappy to have this sort of thing imposed upon me. Surely what a person does outside of work is their own private business? This is what you have a confidentiality policy for! I would also make it clear to both parents and staff that if they do do any babysitting, this would be a private arrangement and nothing to do with the work place.

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This is a very hard situation and most of my staff do not want to take on more work than they normally do. We now have a staff code of conduct that states that staff can nt babysit and have contct with the parents outside of the setting. this is hard when you do build up a realtionship with the parents but it does make it easier for the staff to say no to baby siting. This code ofconduct is reviewed with the staff team yearly and this has had a big inpact on the working of our team.

 

Where do you work.. Bootcamp? :o (only joking)

 

We have a couple of young girls who often babysit for parents and there has never been a problem. I don't think we should be telling them what they can and can't do to earn some extra pennies in their own time! The only thing that we should be enforcing upon them is our strict confidentiality policy.

 

Just out of interest wellerkaren how has this ban on babysitting had an impact on the working of your team??

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the team decieded it between themselves that this is what they wanted as they felt bad saying no to the parents about baby sitting. they like to know that they can now blame the nursery though the policy. thismakes it easier for them. I hope this make sense.

 

the team works well together and beacuse the staff review the code of conduct yearly this means that if we feel it doe not work for us now then we can change it

 

Boot camp- Yep that is where I work. lol

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We are discussing this ourselves at the moment! Lots of my staff babysit, so I'm writing it in our code of conduct to reinforce the confidentiality policy. Also, I have noticed parents ringing up during work time to make arrangements, which I do not like so the staff have to inform the parents that they can call them on their mobiles and they will contact them back during their break. That's as far as we've gone at the mo'.

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I forgot about this today so don't have an actual copy of policy, but the main points are this:

 

I am not against babysitting, especially as our nursery is on a military establishment, so a vast amount of parents do not have any family nearby, so this may be the only opportunity they have to go out, however, i do stipulate that staff and parents must inform me if they have babysitting arranged and what date(s).

 

My two main reasons for this are, it is my opportunity to inform parents about the particular member of staff, it could be reminding them that as an unqualified member of staff they would not be working unsupervised within the nursery, so it is their responsibility to decide if the staff member is suitable for their requirements, a bit of a disclaimer really.

 

Also a few years ago a staff member agreed to babysit a child on a friday night starting at 7pm, the parent failed to return home until 5pm on sunday!! I didnt know anything about this and only found out on the monday morning at work, i was appalled, especially as the staff member was only 18 and unqualified - what a responsibility to have sole charge of a one year old for nearly two days!

Unfortunately, i couldn't do anything as it happened out of work.

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Lucy P, why should you have been told about it before Monday morning, or any other morning ?? This was a private arrangement. Also, whether the 18 year old was qualified or not shouldn't come into it. That's between the parent and the girl to discuss. I would think 90% of mums don't specifically want qualified babysitters, just someone they can trust and who are mature and capable. I applaud you for your concerns towards this girl but she is an adult.

Also, there is no way ,if I was one of your parents, that I would discuss when I was going out. It just isn't right. I know you have the best intentions, but it's prying into their business.

I don't mean to sound harsh Lucy, but really don't think you have any right to draw up such a policy.

Sorry!

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This whole issue was discussed at Child Protection training. I remember thinking at the time how difficult this would be for us - we are in a very small village - paths cross all the time - completely impossible and also I feel undesirable to not socialise with parents - I just 'wear my professional head' at work - if that makes sense.

 

sunnyday

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Also a few years ago a staff member agreed to babysit a child on a friday night starting at 7pm, the parent failed to return home until 5pm on sunday!!

 

Was this the plan? Or did the parents just not come home?

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HI

 

Thank you for all the replies and comments.

 

I have found a couple of policies on the net and have merged them together (one example was a no to babysiting and the other was for it!) So basically I have put a paragraph in the policy which gives the staff a reasonable get out clause if they dont wish to do it but if they do, then some guidlines.

 

I think its unfair to tell staff what they can and cant do in their own time but do feel there is a need to have a policy in place to make sure that there are boundaries on both sides.

 

jx

OUT_OF__HOURS__BABY.docx

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Guest MaryEMac

I would find it very difficult to impose a policy onto my staff. We live in a small village, so everyone knows everyone else. Also some of the staff were friends with the parents before they worked at playgroup and have always had family days out together. I do not have any young staff so I know that everyone is really aware of confidentiality. It is also not my business what they do or who they spend time with when they are not at work.

 

Mary

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Well, I for one would be extremely unhappy to have this sort of thing imposed upon me. Surely what a person does outside of work is their own private business? This is what you have a confidentiality policy for! I would also make it clear to both parents and staff that if they do do any babysitting, this would be a private arrangement and nothing to do with the work place.

 

 

hi i agree with you beau i have look after parents children from my setting , and have remain great friends with them and in both case the parents ended up working at where i work now. Most recently i was asked look after child , if it had not been i was doing somethink else that weekend i would of done , i feel privleged that parent felt they could ask me . Why should ur work employer dictate to you who and what you should do out side your working hours.Does any other jobs do this ? After all the minute you leave work you should be leaving it at the door , have no need discuss work with anyone not even staff that should all be done in the work placement .

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Was this the plan? Or did the parents just not come home?

 

The parent said she would be home no later than 11pm. She made no contact with my staff member that night, all saturday and sunday, until she returned home at 5pm!

 

 

Lucy P, why should you have been told about it before Monday morning, or any other morning ?? This was a private arrangement. Also, whether the 18 year old was qualified or not shouldn't come into it. That's between the parent and the girl to discuss. I would think 90% of mums don't specifically want qualified babysitters, just someone they can trust and who are mature and capable. I applaud you for your concerns towards this girl but she is an adult.

Also, there is no way ,if I was one of your parents, that I would discuss when I was going out. It just isn't right. I know you have the best intentions, but it's prying into their business.

I don't mean to sound harsh Lucy, but really don't think you have any right to draw up such a policy.

Sorry!

 

I felt that i should have been aware of this to offer support to the staff member. I felt it was a child protection issue, and should have been dealt with in exactly the same way as an uncollected child. The parent didn't leave a contact number, so i could have accessed her details, given her a call to find out what had happened.

 

As an employer i feel that i have an equal responsibility to my staff members as well as children and their families. The staff member was terrified that something had happened to the parent and turned to her own parents for help. This resulted in me getting a complaint from the staffs mother - she thought i should have taken over the responsibility of the situation, had i been made aware, i would have done exactly that. However the staff member was worried about contacting me over the weekend.

 

Due to the parent and staff meeting each other in my setting and arranging this, it didn't really feel like a private arrangement to me at the time.

 

Unfortunatley due to this incident, i do feel that i should 'oversee' any babysitting arrangements, to ensure that this never happens again. This will literally consist of the staff member informing me that they are babysitting for xxx on friday, and i will make them aware that they can call me with any concerns.

 

I can assure you that i am certainly not prying into anyones business, just ensuring that all children and staff are ok.

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well if your staff memeber followed the safe guarding children policy she herself could of contacted social services if she had any concerns about the childs mother being injured then police would be first port of call . , what goes on out of work with your staff should not concern you . If i remember rightly from my recent safe guarding children course they is no set age that child maybe left and i,m sure mother in question knew child would be safe , yes mother did do wrong for not contacting the sitter . I still dont think this gives you right to tell your staff what they can do , why parents should tell you when they ve using ur staff for sitting its out of working hours so does not effect her employers .

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Lucy, I'm not saying that you shouldn't be responsible for your staff but surely your responsibility should only be in the workplace. I don't understand why you want to expose yourself in this way. What if something, God forbid, did go wrong, would you be held responsible? What about insurance??

 

You say your staff member was terrified and turned to her own parents for help. Surely, that's who she should be turning to. For those parents to hold you responsible for what happened is way out of order. Immediately following on from that I would have put it in writing that any babysitting arrangements made would be totally independent of the playschool and no liability what-so-ever would fall upon the playschool.

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L. Immediately following on from that I would have put it in writing that any babysitting arrangements made would be totally independent of the playschool and no liability what-so-ever would fall upon the playschool.

 

 

Thinking about it this is probably a a good way of making parents and staff aware that it is a private arrangement.... think this is the sort of policy I would adopt...

 

and anything including pre-school in arrangements could end up as you being liable for incidents

 

Inge

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what an interesting topic, lucy can see your point of view sometimes it can cause problems when staff get in these situations if they are not professional enough to keep work and babysitting separate i suppose we just have to hope that they maintain professionalism and if they do not then we have to look at our disciplinary process. Rather than having a policy on babysitting i just nicely remind staff about professionalism and confidentiality when I have the monthly supervision with them and then trust them to act accordingly and if they don't address that as it arises.

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Hi

I have been thinking about this topic quite a bit on the forum and just wanted to add my thoughts on the posts that have appeared. To Lucy i would just like to say that I commend your dedication to your staff team and your concern for their welfare in and out of work and although some of us may not practice in the same way we need to respect that we all have different ways of dealing with incidences and different practices. I always say to my staff team as well as each child been unique each staff team is also unique so what may be right for one may not be right for another.

 

Sorry I had to post just felt that some of the posts had come across very harsh and maybe I am sensitive but these could have upset a sensitive person

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Sorry I had to post just felt that some of the posts had come across very harsh and maybe I am sensitive but these could have upset a sensitive person

It is often difficult to gauge the intention behind a post and sometimes things 'read' differently than if the words had been spoken, but you've given us a timely reminder of how important it is to think about what we write, belle06!

 

This thread is a really thought provoking one and has made me think about our own practice. I think there are some families who lack local family support and in these cases, finding a reliable babysitter that they trust can be difficult. So it is perhaps natural that parents might turn to their child's pre-school to see if anyone would be available to help out when necessary. And perhaps it is also natural for pre-school practitioners who don't earn very much to earn a bit extra by babysitting for families they already know well.

 

I think there are huge implications for both professional and personal liability if the setting gets involved in making the arrangements, and I'm not sure I would want to go down that route.

 

Maz

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Not sure if you're referring to my posts or not Maz and belle06, but if you are, my intentions were not to offend anyone.... and am left feeling upset and disappointed to think they could have.

I do have an opinion on this subject and I told it as I saw it, and after having read and re-read other posts too I can't see anything in them either that should cause any upset to anyone.

Anyway sorry everyone, I think I'll go back to being a reader only member.

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