Etiquette on Handling Children that are Not Your Own


Have you ever let someone else watch your kids, and when you got them back, they had a new (vulgar) vocabulary, or asked to watch a particular t.v. show that made you say, “What? You shouldn’t be watching that!” There are so many things we as adults need to take into consideration when watching other people’s kids. Not all parents think the same or raise their children the same way as you. With that being said, I have made a list (with the input of some other moms I know) on the etiquette of handling children that are not yours, to prevent any awkard or tough situations.



  1. Giving another child sugar is a no-no because you don’t know what the other parents allow. An example of why this could be a bad idea is if you have a mother who has a specific nap schedule for her tot and you give that tot some candy before their nap time ;that child will most likely not sleep.
  2. Be mindful of your vocabulary because children absorb everything around them and bad words and tones should not be something they learn from role models like moms.  An example of why minding your language is important is because, you wouldn’t want to be the source of any dirty/bad words that they learn.
  3. Be sensitive to the force you exert when playing with someone else’s kid because you may accidentally harm the child. An example of why it’s important to not play rough with other people’s kids, regardless of age, is because you don’t know what their stress/pain tolerance is and what they might feel is happening to them and wouldn’t want to intimidate them into feeling it’s okay to be treated roughly especially if their own parents do not demonstrate such rigor.
  4. Do not discipline someone else’ child past telling them they are wrong and giving them the reason unless you have permission to discipline past the above recommendation.  A reason why you should not  discipline another person’s child is because you may dissolve your friendship with their parents if they feel like they’ve been wronged by you harming their child mentally and/or physically.  The State of Texas will favor a child’s claim of abuse and a legal battle may ensue due to poor judgement of how to “get after” someone’s child, or even your own. Follow this link to read of a mother’s example of being charged as a felon for “disciplining” her son for not cleaning his room.
  5. Try not to consolidate a child you are taking care of to only watching television the entire time they are under your care.  There are a slew of reasons why keeping a child glued to the television is a not-so-good idea which I’m sure you’ve heard or read about at some point.  As an additional note, if/when they are watching television,  always make sure you have ultimate discretion of what they are watching, whether it be on t.v. or on a computer.
  6. Do not smother another person’s child with what might be interpreted as inappropriate touching when all you think you’re doing is being loving.  Watch kid’s cues for discomfort. For example, don’t make them hug you if they don’t want to.  Think of some of the things you do to your kids that you consider okay and adorable, (such as kissing all over or grabbing their tush) that you would not be comfortable with just anyone doing to them.
  7. If the child you are watching is of a different religion, do not attempt to influence that child’s religious beliefs.  This can be disrespectful to the child’s parents and again, can dissolve your relationship with them.


What are some of things you think are a big deal when watching others’ kids, or when someone else is watching your kids?


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