The only economical babysitting options I’ve found are grandparents, newly married couples, and dogs. Let me save you some time and tell you that the dog option isn’t going to work, for two reasons:

1] Dogs don’t have thumbs so when you call home to see how the kids are, they won’t be able to pick up the phone. Also, they are frustratingly incapable of changing a diaper, making dinner, or brushing the kids’ teeth. In general, they’re useless for anything other than sitting around licking your kids’ faces or barking their heads off for no reason.

2] It’s unsafe for the dog. Use your dog as a babysitter and you’re going to go through a lot of dogs. The folks at the pound are going to get suspicious when you’re down there every week adopting more of them. I know it’s tempting because there is an endless supply of dogs, and babysitters are just so hard to come by, but it‘s better to pass up this option. Trust me, if you don’t, you’ll have the PETA people all over you.

Newly married couples are great prospects because they simply don’t know any better. Tell them sitting your kids is a great way to “get a feel for being parents” or to “experience the joys of parenthood without the commitment.” Nine times out of ten these chumps will willingly agree to sit your kids.

Two warnings though:

1] This is a one-bullet gun. After the couple sits for you one time, they’ll never do it again, so make sure you…

2] Don’t come back early. Stay out for hours, if possible, or days, if you think you can get away with it.

My wife and I fell for this once and wound up putting off becoming parents for several years afterward.

Your Best Babysitter Bet

The ideal babysitters are grandparents because:

1] It’s been so long since they’ve actually had to care-take children that they’ve forgotten how truly excruciating it can be. They often leap at the chance to babysit because they have some fairy-tale notion of romping through the playground with their angelic grandkids. Listen, their misconceptions aren’t your problem.

2] Grandparents are the only people on the planet that give teenagers a run for their money in the gullibility department. God bless ‘em. They will actually beg you (beg you, mind you) to let them take care of your darlings for a while. When you return home, they’ll look just as beat-up as you do after a day with the kids but—and here’s the beauty of the whole thing—a week later, they’ll be begging to keep the kids for you again.

What is it that causes this? Love? Insanity? I don’t know and I don’t care. When it comes to babysitting, it’s “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

But should you really leave your little ones in the care of your parents? What about the crummy job they did when they raised you? Look at how messed up you are. Do you really want your kids to wind up that way? Relax! You don’t need to worry about it.

In one of nature’s cruelest, most bizarre tricks, the same people that used to mercilessly torture you are now completely different people. They used to be jerks and now they’re wonderful people. It’s not fair, it doesn’t make sense, but there you go. It’s one of the last remaining mysteries on planet earth, and science is helpless to explain it.

Where your parents were once intolerant, short-tempered, control freaks, now they laugh at every inane thing your kid says and can’t wait for him to break something so they can giggle with delight. Where they would have once knocked you upside the head just for looking at them the wrong way, now they’re charmed when your kid detonates their house.

Yes, it’s weird, and there’s no explaining it. It’ll probably happen to us when we turn into grandparents (shudder) but for now this form of madness works in our favor.

Need a night out, or a weekend away, or a year in Tahiti? No problem, and better yet, no charge! The grandparents are standing by with an endless supply of time and patience. Drop the kids off and pick ‘em up whenever you get good and ready. And get this, the grandparents will thank you for it!

Exploit this wonderful resource and don’t feel guilty doing so. Just try not to smirk when you’re dropping of the kids. The grandparents might get suspicious.

© 2021 Charles Marshall. Charles Marshall is a nationally known humorous motivational speaker and author. Visit his Web site or contact him via e-mail at