The babysitter is coming soon. You have a detailed plan for the evening. You have listed your emergency contact numbers. You have prepared snacks or even a meal for your child.
Did you think about whether or not to provide food for your babysitter?
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Should You Provide Food for Your Child’s Sitter?
It’s considered polite to provide snacks or even a meal if the babysitter works for many hours. Put simply, if you expect your child to eat, you should offer food of some type for the sitter. Make beverages readily available as well.
There is no clear right or wrong answer to providing food for your babysitter. Some parents view this as part of their working wage. Others believe the babysitter should supply their own meals and snacks if they want to eat. Most parents believe the former.
It’s a matter worth discussing whether you decide to offer food or not. A babysitter who’s used to snacking might need to bring their own supplies if you’re upfront about not offering food.
A babysitter who knows you’re going to provide might skip dinner so they can eat with your child. As long as the babysitter knows what to expect, you should be able to make the decision that leaves you feeling most comfortable.
10 Easy Food and Snack Options for a Babysitter and Child
Following are some easy options for supplying food for babysitters if you decide to do so. None of these are overly expensive or time-consuming.
1. Order Pizza
Pizza is a standby for a good reason. Almost everyone loves pizza. It’s a crowd-pleaser that can be customized to fit nearly every palate. Order the pizza in advance if the kids will be sharing or leave cash for the sitter so they can choose their own.
You could also go with the frozen pizza option, but I tend to shy away from that.
The reason being that providing frozen pizza would require the babysitter to have to deal with the oven, and I would much rather they didn’t.
Sure, pizza from Domino’s or Pizza Hut might have to be warmed in the microwave, but I would much rather they use a microwave than the oven for safety reasons.
2. Have a Sandwich Spread
When I babysat, I loved the parents who would leave behind supplies to build sandwiches. Hoagie rolls, a variety of meats and cheeses, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles, plus plenty of sauces were perfect for my young charges and me. Parents like this option because it’s low cost and so easy!
3. Deliver Dinner
Dinner delivery has never been easier. Like pizza, you can order in advance or have the sitter make their own choices. Leave a gift card from your chosen delivery service. Make sure there is enough on the card for your sitter and your children if they will be dining this way as well.
4. Serve Up Snacks
A full meal isn’t always on the menu. The last two babysitters I hired had no interest in eating big, filling meals. Instead, I left them with fun snacks they could have and share with the kids. Microwave popcorn, pretzels, sliced fruit, and chopped veggies are great, healthy choices.
5. Create a Taco Bar
One of the easiest and most satisfying dinners you can make for young people is tacos. Like a sandwich spread, you simply need to leave out the supplies and let the sitter and the kids build their own.
You will need to cook a filling (meat, tofu, or pork are good options). Include shredded cheese, lettuce, diced tomatoes, salsa, and sour cream. No taco shells? Use tortilla chips and make it a nacho bar!
6. Go Carnival Style
I asked my daughter what food everyone loves and she said, without hesitation, hot dogs. They aren’t the healthiest choice, but they are a good option for babysitters. You can cook the hotdogs in a crockpot where they will stay warm.
Offer up buns and sauces along with simple sides like mac and cheese or potato salad. Make sure the sitter knows to slice the hot dog in half to prevent choking if your children are very young and they’ll be eating with the sitter.
7. Easy Italian
This requires some advance planning, but it is well worthwhile. Plan to make a lasagna for your family meal one night of the week. When you do so, make a second one for the sitter. You can do this with any casserole, but lasagna is a true people pleaser.
8. Chili and Other Crock Pot Meals
Nothing is easier than cooking chili in a crockpot. This is a great meal for cool nights. Throw in beans, chili seasoning, tomato paste, and salt it to taste. Ground beef is standard, but make sure your babysitter is a meat-eater first.
My Favorite Tip
Add a can of refried beans to thicken the stew and improve the taste.
9. Re-heat Leftovers
There is no shame in offering leftovers to your babysitter. Cook a little extra the night before, place the leftovers in containers and show the babysitter what’s available.
They should have no problem enjoying dinner, and you don’t have to go out of your way to make sure they’re well-fed.
10. Have an Open Kitchen
You might decide to take an “our house is your house” approach to mealtime. Give your babysitter free range to browse through your kitchen and decide what they want.
It may not be the best approach, but it’s arguably better than telling the sitter to keep their hands off of your canned olives.
You Want Your Babysitter to Feel Welcomed
Offering food to your babysitter does not have to be a big investment in time or money. It’s simply a nice gesture that will be remembered.
Besides, friendly gestures like that are good ways to make sure a quality babysitter you’re using wants to come back and work for you again.
What kind of food have you offered your babysitter? Do you have a favorite tip or recipe to share? Leave it in the comments!