Babysitters Reveal The Weirdest Rules Parents Have Asked Them To Follow
Parenting is one of the hardest jobs out there. There’s a lot you need to take into consideration to keep your babies safe—including who you select to babysit them when you’re unable to.
There are a handful of rules that are standard for most babysitters: Put the children to bed at a certain time. No junk food. Limited TV-time. However, every family is different and, with that, there are often some unique rules that are established.
As a babysitter, it is your responsibility to look after the child’s best interest; but it is also imperative that you abide by the parents’ instructions. That isn’t always easy, especially when their rules are so bizarre. Take it from these babysitters, who recently shared some of the weirdest rules parents have ever asked them to follow.
Don’t forget to check the comment section below the article for more interesting stories!
#1 No-Sugar Diet
I was told that the only thing her children weren’t allowed to eat was a bowl of sugar. Specifically a bowl of sugar.
#2 Poor Potty Training
I had to change the kid’s cloth diaper every two hours on the dot. The kid was six years old. 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 encouraging him to use the bathroom if he had to go. I never went back.
#3 Bed-Time Brainwashing
I had to put the kids to sleep with the CD player running. That wasn’t the weird part.
It was a recording of their parents basically saying, “Molly, you are wonderful. You are a star. You’re going to shine brightly.” That isn’t super weird… But it was, like, several hours long, and apparently, they put it on every night.
#4 Captivating TV
My mom told me a story of when she used to babysit during her teenage years. She did it for a religious family whose church did not believe in television. 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.
#5 Driving To Doze Off
They asked me to drive their three-year-old twins around in my personal vehicle for two and a half hours because that was the only way they could fall asleep.
No. I simply put the kids in their beds, closed the door, and they were asleep in 15 minutes.
#6 Nutty Behavior
The first time I went to their house, they told me about their daughter’s very serious peanut allergy. They walked me through the epi-pen, prevention, phone numbers of their neighbors who were doctors—it was 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 heck out and I was a hundred times less comfortable.
#7 Free Spirits And Bathtub Births
They were a hippy family. The two-year-old had no bedtime or rules to follow. “She can eat what she wants, go to bed when she wants, and if she falls asleep, leave her wherever she crashes.” The parents came home at 2:30 a.m. to a toddler eating chocolate cake on the couch with her preferred “American Pickers” on TV. That was fine, apparently.
Six months later, the mom who was very pregnant asks if I could wrangle the toddler while the mom gave birth in a bathtub at home. The two-year-old was to be in the room, watching, and I was tasked to explain what was happening.
I left that evening when the parents came home, politely declining their request to babysit that night. As a 20-year-old, I wasn’t prepared to see the mess of someone else’s home birth!
#8 Worried About The Wafers
I used to babysit for this family when I was in high school and they had no books or reading material of any kind. There would usually be like two sections of the WSJ and a running magazine lying around… But no books.
Anyway, I went over there once and the mom told me, BEGGED ME, not to eat the box of vanilla wafers that was in the cupboard because she needed them for a recipe the next day. BEGGED. I was like, “Okay, got it.”
She kept mentioning it, and it was the first thing she asked me about when they got home.
#9 Bound To The Bottle
I was instructed to give him warm milk in a baby bottle right after every dinner. He was a fully functional 10-year-old boy.
He was fine with it, and his parents were otherwise normal. The kid himself was great and his teeth seemed fine from what I can remember.
#10 Hanging Out
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.
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 four years old, I think. They were weirdly well-behaved and didn’t complain about what we were doing.
It was a total of five hours just standing in the driveway watching them sit inside their car. 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.
#11 Sweet Little Lies
They told me their three-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, 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 “Land Before Time” instead. But it was always on the note left for me. It would read as follows: “Pager number, pediatrician, chicken soup for dinner is in the fridge and WATCH FLEETWOOD MAC at 6:30 before bed.”
Obviously, the family eventually found out I wasn’t making her watch it, as I had no reason to believe it was a secret. They were clearly upset by this and they stopped calling me to babysit.
#12 What A Good Boy
“If Brady stands by the doo, 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.
#13 What A Waste
One time, the parents had me feed their one-year-old ONLY from freshly opened baby food containers. If she only ate two or three spoonfuls from one container, I was to throw it away and if she wanted more within the next 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 they said it was okay 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.
#14 No Pants Party
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 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, and she got upset with me. They said they don’t like to make their two-year-old son do anything he doesn’t like to do.
#15 Safe Slugger
A single mom once told me to use the bat by the door in the event that the kids’ father comes by and tries to take them. That was pretty weird and uncomfortable.
#16 All Zipped Up
I used to regularly babysit one of my younger cousins. At nap time, I had to put her in a zip-up onesie. I then had to duct tape the zipper down and duct tape the wrists in a way that wasn’t restricting but would prevent 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. My aunt got tired of cleaning walls covered in her #2.
#17 Tough Love
“Don’t break up fights until one of them gets hurt. We’re hoping some lasting pain might get them to stop.”
The two boys would get physical constantly. I get where they were coming from, but it was still super weird.
#18 Oh, Deer
When I was a kid, I got paid $75 a week to watch two boys over the summer. It was amazing money, but the dad was a big bowhunter, and he made loads of deer chili. He insisted that his 10-year-old and two-year-old eat tons of it.
They loved it, but the two-year-old would often take these massive awful, horrible, nasty chili #2’s constantly. The dad explained all this to me, and my instructions were to just put him in the shower and hose him down. I was offered plenty of chili, but never ate any.
#19 Arbitrary Art Day
When I was a kid, there was a mom who would only allow her kids to do art on Tuesdays. I never learned why, but she totally flipped out whenever we did it on a wrong day.
#20 No Nonbeliever Friends
“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.
I kid you not, this little five-year-old looks me in the eyes and says, “We can’t. They are not of God.” So creepy. I wasn’t asked back after I accidentally said “Oh my gosh” one time. Apparently, “gosh” is too close to “God.”
#21 Got Beef
Mother: “Our children are vegetarian; please respect that!”
Father, once the mother has gone upstairs: “Sorry, but they are my kids, too! If they want meat, it’s because they probably need it. There is a fridge in my workshop…”
#22 Crate Training
The neighbor I babysat for had four rambunctious boys. The youngest (who was probably two or three) 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. 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.
#23 Fearful To A Fault
They were a family with four children.
They were only allowed to eat pureed foods because their mother feared they would choke on solids. Their dentist insisted they had to start using their teeth, so we started introducing solid foods for the first time in their lives. That was an absolute nightmare. Lots of throwing up at mealtimes because they couldn’t handle the sensation of swallowing solids. Lots of tears were shed.
The twins were not allowed to walk up or down any inclines without having their handheld. Same for the stairs. Absolutely no running ever.
They were not allowed to play on anything with wheels: bikes, scooters, skates, etc.
They were not allowed to climb anything.
The parents were very fearful people.
#24 No Competition
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.
#25 Bed-Time Snack
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. She stopped at the fridge. She explained to me that when it came time to send her son to bed, I was to give him one 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 seven years ago and I seriously haven’t stopped thinking about it.
#26 Questionable Advertisements
This was way back in the mid-’90s.
Remember before we had DVR and all that jazz, and the only way to see what was currently on each channel was to whip our your TV Guide? In the mid-’90s, advertisers figured out that the TV Guide channel was a great advertising medium and they would show ads on the top right of the screen while compressing the scrolling “shows playing now” section.
The parents wouldn’t allow me to turn on that channel because of the “questionable content” of the ads. The kids were eight and eleven and were allowed to watch a VERY select subset of shows that were usually geared toward kids five years younger than them. Nickelodeon was banned in that house, as were the words “shucks,” “hate” and “darn.”
#27 Not Okay With Napping
I was a nanny several years ago for a couple with two girls. The toddler didn’t care for nap time. She would play with her toys or play dress up, so her folks took all her toys and clothes out of her room. But she just sat and talked to herself during nap time. Eventually, they discovered that she was terrified of being locked in her room and that if she ever was, she would scream and cry until she tired herself out. So that was what I was supposed to do for nap time. I didn’t do it.
Eventually, they found out and fired me. 15/10 would refuse to lock a toddler in a bedroom.
#28 Not Suited For Bath Time
I watched two girls and the parents asked if I would give them a bath. I thought, no problem… until they told me that I must get in the bath with the two girls for safety reasons. I said I didn’t have my bathing suit and they both looked at me like I had three heads The girls got a bath without me in the tub and I searched the bathroom for a hidden camera. I didn’t find one, but I still never went back.
#29 Makeshift Flamethrowers
No flamethrowers allowed. One of the kids was a pyromaniac, and he was very sneaky about it. One night, I caught him trying to make a flamethrower out of an AXE spray bottle. I then gathered all the kids (three of them) and showed them YouTube videos and Googled pics on what happens when a can of combustible materials explodes.
Needless to say, I was fired for showing graphic videos and images to them but I stopped their flamethrower problem.
#30 Intimate Drooling
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.
#21 A Magical Performance
I was asked to read Harry Potter to them, but only if I could do the voices the dad did, which he then proceeded to act out for me. You better believe I acted them out to perfection.
#32 Bothered By Manners
I once had a mom tell me not to do the whole “please and thank you” thing with her four-year-old… It was “torturing” him, apparently. Her exact words.
#33 Parent Pampering
I interviewed for a nanny position once and was asked how I felt about giving mom and dad massages.
#34 Keeping Close Watch
I once babysat for a couple who had a “smart house.” They wouldn’t teach me how to use the fireplace or the TV. If I wanted to change the channel, then I would send them a text and they’d do it for me. They also said I was not to go into the baby’s room unless they messaged me (I started after the baby had fallen asleep already).
So they went out to a party for the night and sat watching me and the baby on their phones. I sat upright on the couch the whole time—couldn’t figure out where the cameras were either.
Another time, this woman wanted me to keep “dream feeding” her baby at certain times throughout the night. This was the fattest baby I’d ever seen too, and I was terrified she’d choke.
#35 Leaving It To Rest
“My husband doesn’t think we should pay you for when the girls are sleeping…” They were four months and two years old. I was a junior in high school and responded, “Okay, so should I duck out once I tuck them in?” I wouldn’t have done that but I think at that point she realized how ridiculous she was being.
#36 Dad’s Man Cave
Don’t go in the basement. Not because there was a goat, but because Dad was hiding out down there. He couldn’t handle taking care of his own children but he didn’t want to leave the house so they hired me and he hid in the basement.
It took about five nights of babysitting before he scared the life out of me sneaking into the kitchen for a snack. He looked at me, mumbled something and snuck back into the basement.
#37 Locked Into The Job
I babysat at a neighbor’s house. The parents locked us in. I called my dad because I was worried about what to do if there was an emergency. He gave me permission to throw a chair through the window. I asked the young girls I was watching if they wanted to play a game. They said yes, they wanted to play a murder mystery. Nope.
I said something else. They suggested master and slave. We ended up watching the oldest girl practice the piano for three hours. Afterward, I told my dad and he said I was not allowed to babysit for them anymore. I was fine with that.
We were locked in the house. No way to open the doors from the inside and the windows were all like picture windows that could not be opened.
#38 Unlimited Ice
The mom told me the kids could have one snack after school and “unlimited ice!” She said this as if it was equivalent to offering the kids “a new car!”
They always asked for it too. And they always used the word “unlimited.”
#39 Inappropriate Night Cap
“If he won’t sleep, give him a sip of whiskey.”
He was five. I’ve seen them actually do it, too. I wound up eventually calling CPS because I showed up to walk him to school one day and he was bruised like heck.
#40 No Naps For The Newborn
My wife used to do in-home daycare. The parents of a new baby, about six months old, asked her not to let the baby nap between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. because he wasn’t sleeping enough at night. Needless to say, she didn’t follow those instructions.
#41 Dangerous Disconnect
In high school, I used to babysit for a slightly weird family. One time, my cell phone ran out of batteries and I needed to call my parents to let them know I would be later than expected. No big deal, I went to use the landline in the house.
Well, turns out, they were straight up disconnecting the phone every time I was babysitting because they were afraid I’d run up the bill talking to boys or something. I’m just glad there was never an emergency where I really needed to use the phone. Like, why risk your kid having an emergency and me not being able to call 9-1-1 due to antiquated stereotypes about teen babysitters?
#42 Body Control
I was babysitting for my family friends. They had two kids. They were going to dinner and a show or something with another couple that had a four-year-old. They asked if I could watch the four-year-old as well. Sure enough!
So it was me with the family friends’ kids, aged three and six, and this four-year-old that I didn’t know. I made a snack for the kids and we were all eating. Suddenly, the four-year-old said, “I went pee, can you change me?” Uh… okay.
So, I was half-expecting a puddle of #1, but nope. This kid is was wearing pull-ups. I was a little surprised by this, thinking it should have been mentioned during the parent instructions. So, I casually say to her, “Hey, maybe you should tell me before you go #1 next time, and you can do it in the toilet!”
A couple of hours later, she tells me has to go #1, and she does it! High fives and praise. She does this another time while I’m there. When the parents come back it was pretty late and everyone was sleeping. The little girl woke up and was excited to share her news of using the toilet. The mom got emotional about it and was almost offended, and the dad didn’t seem to care. Later, our family friends said that they weren’t forcing her to use the toilet and wanted her to be in control of her body, I damaged that idea.
#43 Purposeful Pajamas
I had to have the children take a bath, put on “dinner pajamas” and then clean them down again after dinner and change them into their pajama pajamas. Just, why?
#44 Uncomfortable With Comforting
The worst was a woman who gave me very clear instructions NOT to comfort her baby (approximately 18 months old) if she woke up crying. The idea was that she would fall back asleep on her own.
I didn’t feel good about this policy but I followed her directions. One night she woke up and was screaming bloody murder. I could hear that she was very distressed and this went on for several minutes before I couldn’t take it and didn’t think it was even a safe thing to be doing.
So I went upstairs and held her and comforted her. The mother came home while I was still holding her baby in the bedroom. She took the baby from me and sent me downstairs. She then came down, asked me to sit on the stairs, and accused me of abusing her child.
I never sat for them again. That woman was crazy.
#45 Red-Headed Rage
I have three siblings. The babysitters always got the same instructions. Something along the lines of:
“If the boys start fighting, lose their tempers or get mouthy, hit ’em with something—a broom handle or a shovel—and they should settle down. If ‘the girl loses her temper, run to the nearest neighbor and call the police.”
Obviously, this was my father’s idea of humor.
No babysitter ever ended up calling the police. We did, however, get hit by a few broom handles.