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Aunt On TikTok Sparks Debate About Whether Relatives Should Babysit For Free

“Are other people’s families out here charging them to watch their kids for a few hours? That’s absolutely absurd if they are.”

Do you pay your relatives to babysit your child? Should you? Should they ask to be paid? An aunt on TikTok recently went viral after saying she couldn’t imagine anyone paying their relative to babysit their child, and it’s sparked an interesting debate about boundaries and familial expectations.

Back in February, Kaitlyn Wilson, who goes by @kaitlynnnwils on TikTok, opened up about a babysitting arrangement she has with her sister. “I was telling somebody the other day that I watch my nephew for my sister, once a week roughly or just whenever she needs, and they were so shocked that I did it for free,” she said in the viral video that’s been viewed over 336,000 times. “Like, are other people’s families out here charging them to watch their kids for a few hours? That’s absolutely absurd if they are.”

Wilson went on to explain why she babysits her nephew for free. “I get the opportunity to create a relationship with my nephew by babysitting him and being around him. The fact that other people feel like they would need to be paid to hang out with their nieces, nephews, grandkids is so messed up.”

She also made the assumption that people who expect to be paid to babysit are “those same adults at family parties being like, ‘Oh my god, why doesn’t so-and-so want to hug me or talk to me?’ They don’t f*ckng know you, dude. I feel like it’s not that hard to show up for and support people in your family, especially if you live near them.”

Many people on TikTok agreed with Wilson. “I watch my grandkids for free multiple times a week. I pick them up from school no charge. I’m so lucky I get to spend so much time with them,” one wrote.

“My mom, sisters and mother-in-law would throw themselves into oncoming traffic before accepting payment for watching my son,” another commented.

Some, however, noted that boundaries are important. “If it’s consistent, I’m not doing a full time job without pay. If it’s a date night, free. But Monday through Friday? That’s a job,” wrote one person.

Another viewer wanted to make sure she was paying her sister for her time as well. “My sister never wants me to pay her but I always do. She’s a poor 19 year old. I’m happy to pay her.”

Generally speaking, most felt that watching your relatives’ kids for free for a few hours here and there was fine, but once it gets into full-time territory, that’s a problem. Realistically, being able to offer free babysitting is a luxury many people cannot afford. Even if it’s a part-time commitment. It’s certainly fine if a relative freely volunteers to babysit, but a parent asking their relative to give up their time free of charge is another story altogether. As for grandparents, many people are still working into their 70s and might not have time to give up employment to provide free childcare. And if they are retired, is this how they want to spend their retirement? Indeed, there are a lot of factors to consider.

Childcare does remain a serious concern for most American families, after all, with people trying to figure out babysitting co-ops in their neighborhood. It’s a difficult issue, and any time family can help out by taking on some of the childcare is really just amazing for all involved.