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Parent Scolds Teenage Sitter For Sleeping Through Baby Crying While They Work Overnight Shift

Crying baby at night
gpointstudio/Getty Images

Raising children certainly isn’t easy, and being a parent who works overnight can add to the difficulty.

Finding the right person to care for your child while you’re away is both an important and daunting task, as we only want what’s best for our babies.

But should the demands placed on others caring for kids exceed what the parents themselves are expected to do?

A parent on Reddit became upset after the teenage babysitter hired to care for three children overnight slept through a baby crying, and he now wants her to set an alarm throughout the night so it doesn’t happen again.

The Redditor’s wife, however, is not on board with the idea, so they turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit to seek feedback from fellow Redditors.

Redditor One-Page5216 asked:

“AITA for asking our babysitter to set alarms when she sleeps?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My wife and I(34) have three children ages 7, 4 a 9 month old.”

“I work a demanding job (in the medical field) and work many many hours, my wife not so much but she does have night shifts often.”

“We just got a new babysitter a few months ago after our one we had for 2 years moved for college.”

“Our new babysitter is only 16, but she had been babysitting one of my coworkers children for awhile and I trust him.”

“A few nights ago my wife and I were both working nights and I saw on the camera that our babysitter was asleep on the couch and the baby had woken up was crying for almost 30 minutes while she slept.”

OP was upset and voiced a solution.

“That bothered me, so without talking to my wife when I got home in the morning I had told my babysitter maybe she should set alarms throughout the night to make sure she’s awake since the baby monitor didn’t wake her and that it was not okay for her to leave the baby crying like that.”

But not everyone was okay with this idea.

“I guess it hurt the kids feelings because she mentioned it to my wife and my wife is really upset with me because ‘she’s only 16’ and what I was asking is unreasonable and that this has never happened before so again I’m being unreasonable and that I should’ve talked to her first because this could’ve been a ‘learning experience.'”

“She also said I was completely out of line as well.”

“I’m really not worried about a learning experience but am worried about the fact if my children are cared for properly.”


Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided the OP was the a**hole.

“I am curious why anyone thought a 16-year-old would fit the bill of a night nanny?”

“It amazes me that people with money always cheap out when it comes to paying for their children’s sitters and nannies.”

“You and your wife are both the a**holes in this scenario. YTA” – Top-Ad-2676


“If you want someone awake all night, then you need to hire an adult!”

“This child you hired needs to sleep at night so she can go to school and learn during the day.”

“How can you, someone in the medical field, not understand how important sleep is to a growing body and brain?!” – MsFear


“You have a 16-year-old who I’m assuming is also a high school student watching 3 children overnight.”

“She fell asleep (which was to be expected), and the baby monitor didn’t wake her up.”

“The correct answer would be that you need a new baby monitor that will wake her up, not for her to set an alarm that goes off every so often all night.”

“If that’s not acceptable to you, then it’s time to hire an overnight nanny who is an adult instead of hiring a child to watch children.” – SnooBunnies7461

“YTA: Don’t hire a child and expect them to behave like a professional night nanny.”

“You get what you pay for.” – Impossible_Rain_4727


“You’re paying her the going rate for one child when you have 3.”

“It’s actually illegal for a minor to work those hours.”

“So, you’re cheap and unethical.” – Disastrous-Nail-640

“Is that 16-year-old aware that you were able to watch them???”

“Look, you either trust them or you don’t.”

“YTA” – SusanfromMA


“It is totally unreasonable to expect a 16-year-old who is also at school in her final years to act as a professional night nanny.”

“You are expecting that child to compromise her schooling and welfare.”

“If you want someone who will attend to the children fully overnight, you need to hire someone whose formal job it is to do that and pay them accordingly.”

“What you should have done is realized that it is not possible or appropriate for a 16-year-old to handle an overnight babysitting job on your terms.”

“While you could still have offered her more short-term jobs, like an evening or afternoon, you should have found someone else for a full night shift.”

“Also, adult parents sleep through their children crying when exhausted.”

“It’s not neglectful; it’s called being human.” – msfinch87


“When you’re home overnight do YOU stay awake all night/set alarms every 15 minutes to wake up and check on the kids?”

“I’m assuming no…just ask her to turn up the volume of the monitor?” – kornbobroxiee

“Seems like YTA.”

“You’re unreasonably to have someone set alarms to check throughout the night.”

“So many things to consider here.”

“How much are you paying the teenager? Does her shift start at night and she is expected to stay up? Was that part of the agreement?”

“Seems like the first time it happened.”

“Get a better system for her to hear the baby.”

“This seems like a job for a professional caregiver, not a minor.” – Y-wood-U-dew-sap


“You are exploiting this underage child.”

“You have an underage 16-year-old child you are exploiting working babysitting overnights for three children, including an infant.”

“If you want someone to be awake all night with an infant, you need to be paying a professional night nanny who is an ADULT and compensated appropriately.”

“This child needs to rest properly so she can be in school the following day, and as a medical professional, you should understand that.” – dragonsandvamps

“YTA hire an adult to watch your kids cheapskate.”

“You’re putting your kids at risk by leaving them in the care of a literal child overnight.” – thenexttimebandit

“YTA for demanding that an underpaid child stay awake all night.”

“Hire an adult and pay a proper wage.”

“The listed average in Memphis is $20.43 an hour for a single infant.”

“You’d need to add $17 an hour for the other two minimum to be paying competitively.” – Jenos00

“A child watching an infant overnight nice, no matter what YTA.”  – AdBroad

“YTA – buy a better baby monitor or just discuss it.”

“Constantly waking up isn’t the solution.” – jrm1102

“Maybe don’t have a child who needs their sleep at night to watch your kids, YTA” – Thesexyone-698

“Yta, the 16yo also has to live her life during the day.”

“If you want a night nanny, then hire one and be prepared to pay for it.” – No-Locksmith-8590

“If you were really worried about your kids being taken care of properly, you wouldn’t leave them with a 16-year-old. You’re properly underpaying and having her work overnight.”

“YTA” – agirlsknowsthings


“Set an alarm to wake her up? Like how often? Every 15 minutes?”

“That was the best idea you had for how to remedy the situation?”

“For crying out loud, she’s 16!!”

“When I was a teen, bombs wouldn’t wake me up.”

“Turning up the baby monitor or buying one that’s louder should’ve been your first thought.”

“And I hope you forewarned her when she was hired that you would be monitoring the baby monitor and her too.”

“Also, btw $20/hr for 3 kids, one an infant overnight is really cheap.”

“You’ve been defending yourself in all the comments you’ve responded to, so I have to wonder why you bothered coming here in the first place if you weren’t prepared to take instruction.”

“Here you go: either lower your expectations of a 16 yo babysitter or hire an adult overnight nanny (as others have suggested) and pay their going rate and get your peace of mind with a slightly emptier wallet.” – Global_Look2821


“You leave your three children – 1 of whom is an infant – with a 16-year-old overnight?!”

“You’re skimping on childcare.”

“You’re really rolling those dice, eh?” – feetflatontheground


“Setting an alarm isn’t going to ensure she wakes up the second your infant wakes up.”

“You are expecting the impossible.”

“The baby cried. Babies cry.”

“What do you do when you or your wife don’t wake up the second the baby wakes up?”

“It sounds like you need a nanny (who still might not wake up the second your baby wakes up), or you need to ensure one of you is home at night.” – sheramom4

According to other Redditors, the OP seems to have more pressing matters to consider than just the sitter sleeping through a crying baby.

Either the OP needs to pay for someone willing to meet those demands, or the OP needs to realize that everyone will eventually sleep through the noise.

Written by AB Keith

AB Keith is an educator turned roadtripper who is currently teaching virtually while touring the USA. Her dream is to visit all the national parks and create a series of nonfiction children's books about NP adventures through the eyes of her dog, Backpack Benny.