I’m going to let you know right off the bat, this is not an advice column. I don’t have tips or tricks for finding amazing babysitters. I mean, right now we do have an awesome babysitter and we’ve been lucky to have him around because he has been chill, attentive, and the kids love him. But our go-to child sitter is moving in the next 3-4 months… and we’ll be on the look out again.
Finding a babysitter can be hard for anyone, but when you add in the word autism all of a sudden a stressful and daunting task becomes almost impossible.
Many people hear the word autism and they run away. But if I’m going to be honest, when we are at home mr. L is the easiest kid. Ask any babysitter who has taken on the challenge of tending our children. Everyone of them has been shocked and told me afterwards how easy mr. L was and they were surprised to see that mr. C was the over energetic one and little miss A was the busy body.
When at home mr. L’s expectations are understood, his routine is predictable, and we have taught him how to get 85% of his physical needs met. Mr. L can do the following:
- Find food he likes, prepare it, and put his dishes away.
- Entertain himself with drawing, books, toys, etc.
- He’s toilet trained and can dress himself.
- He has a bedtime routine that most nights he sticks to regardless of other people’s plans.
As far as babysitting goes, he is pretty easy. I mean yeah, it hasn’t always been this way. For example, we once had a respite caregiver watching mr. L and it was before we got permission to have a lock installed at the top of our front door. I had to tell mr. L’s respite that if something crazy happened and mr. L disappeared that I wanted her to call 911 before even calling me, because I wanted back up on their way to help find my son. But that situation was rare and that caregiver had autism training. Mr. L used to be terrible about trying to run off and find adventure without supervision. In his paperwork it said he was quick to elope.
But mr. L has come a long way and I don’t ask teens or untrained adults to watch my kids if I think it’s risky. I make sure things like extra locks are installed, addresses and phone numbers are easy to read, and I don’t ask people to watch my daughter when she’s in respiratory distress- that’s my job 😉
As the mom I have my worries though; will the babysitter be nice, will they actually watch my kids, will my kids escape out the door, can the babysitter keep them safe, can I trust them not to abuse children, and will they not feel overwhelmed or stressed out by my kid’s energy?
I want it to be a good experience for everyone. But the mom in me still runs through the memories of my kids choking on food, being hospitalized, or bleeding… and I have to step back and remind myself, it’s only for 2-3 hours 😉
For those lovely readers wondering, if I worry so much about finding the right babysitter, why don’t I just get respite care and stick with that? I’m gonna tell ya, it’s not easy to get, and it’s not helpful for date night with 3 kids.
For those of you who don’t know what respite is, it’s for families and caregivers who need a break from physically caring for a member of their family who has disabilities.
Respite is used many different ways, from someone coming in the home and helping adults who need help with self care, like bathing, eating, etc. They can also take someone who qualifies out into the community to do activities like go to the library or movies. The hours can be combined, and a family can get a weekend break from caring for the needs of their loved one and have the disabled family member enjoy a weekend at hotel with a pool with their respite caregiver. Respite really is a wonderful thing.
Our family even qualifies for respite care. In fact we qualify for more hours then we could use. But we don’t want mr. L to go away for a weekend, we would miss him too much! We also feel like school and ABA therapy already steals too many of his childhood hours away from us, and we are lucky enough to not need help with his physical cares.
What we need is a babysitter, once every 1-2 weeks who will watch all 3 of our kids and respite will only watch mr. L. Also, we can’t find anyone in our area to fill any of our respite hours anyways 🤷♀️
Thankfully we have been pretty lucky with babysitters and have only had a few dry spells over the years of not being able to find good people willing to watch our kids.
Do you trust anyone to watch your kiddos? Can you find respite help in your area? Do you have any tips or tricks to finding good help?
Feel free to like, follow and share 😎