It is acceptable for you to offer to watch a stranger’s child for payment, but inappropriate to offer to do so for free.

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Just offer to babysit and say that you don’t need *monetary* compensation. As long as you make it clear that other forms of “payment” are acceptable you should be fine. That should solve it.


Makes sense, though, doesn’t it? If you want payment, you are making clear that you see this as something you do as a job, and you want monetary compensation for time / effort / skill. If you refuse payment, and this isn’t family or close friends, people are going to wonder why you would do it. One explanation would be that the job alone gives you enough pleasure, and that’s more than a little worrying in this particular field of employment.


Because that’s a pope or priest job to do it


Maybe it is in your neighborhood…


There’s an economics explanation. Once you offer money for the work it introduces labor competition and the people who will offer to watch your kid will do so with their own, economic, interest in mind rather than your children (and some awful, personal, interest of their own). Taking good care of the kids guarantees their economic well being and thus, as though by magic, their interests are aligned with your own.