Is there a problem with using a non-Jewish babysitter? My friends seem to think my husband & I are horrible people because we do, but it’s really necessary. The alternative of sending him to a playgroup is too expensive, and ends too early. Is there a problem with using a non-Jew to watch my children? Name Redacted - Cedarhurst
Is there a problem? Well that depends on what you want your child exposed to. When my wife and I had our first child, we agreed to only have Jewish babysitters watch our children. Although we were lucky enough to have many awesome experiences, there were some pretty scary ones as well. B”H we caught them on our nanny cam and resolved the matters quickly.
Crazy experiences can happen with anyone, Jewish or not, and that’s why parents need to be extremely vigilant. Nonetheless, I feel that a Jewish babysitter is a far better option. At a young age, a child is so impressionable. The way this person interacts, speaks, and even plays with your children, can have long-lasting effects.
Let’s face it, raising children isn’t cheap. Actually, it’s quite expensive. In a few weeks, I’m going to share a very interesting question about children and costs. Suffice it to say, you need to separate expenses into at least two main categories - necessities and luxuries. I’m not going to go into detail, but having a Jewish babysitter seems to me to be a necessity.
I don’t believe your friends think you’re horrible people because of your decision, rather, they disagree with you. There have been many stories circulating about babysitters feeding kids non-kosher food, letting them watch inappropriate material, and more. Leaving your child with a non-Jewish babysitter should not be your first option.
If it’s any consolation, I know many people that have had non-Jewish babysitters and their children have turned out wonderfully. Additionally, I do understand that there are times or situations where one doesn’t have a choice but to use a non- Jewish babysitter. I’m just not a gambling man.
The below suggestions are not only for non-Jewish babysitters, but for Jewish as well. Anytime anyone is near your children, including a housekeeper, contractor, plumber, gardener and so on, you must be vigilant.
Last year, we discussed some Seder hints. This year, we'll try building on it.
Wishing you and your family a wonderful and meaningful Pesach. This year in Yerushalayim!
Rabbi Yitzie Ross is a Rebbe and has been working with parents and kids for many years. You can read more about him in the "about" section.