Say, my wife has to run some errands in the morning, and I have to announce at my work that I will be missing for some time.

Are both correct?

  1. I have to babysit in the morning.
  2. I have to watch my kids in the morning.

It looks like Oxford Learner's Dictionary states that only 2 fits for the case. But a colleague of mine said that he often hears the first variant as well. Maybe because at work we have lots of people from all over the world, and it's a common mistake for non native English speakers?

  • 3
    It is probably grammatically okay, but there is a whole lot else wrong with it which may be defined as cultural. – Spagirl Jan 21 at 10:31

It is often used but it is wrong. It shows that these people think the children belong to the Mother and the Father is doing her a favour, helping out "the little woman" doing a job that isn't theirs.

You babysit helpless things (babies, pets, houses) that are not your responsibility.

Are these children yours or the neighbours?



Look after a child or children while the parents are out.

‘I babysit for my neighbour sometimes’ with object ‘she was babysitting Sophie’

oxford dictionaries

So option 2 is the only correct answer

Dads agreeing with me


The verb to babysit is now extending its original meaning ("to take  charge of a child while the parents are temporarily away") and is often used in the wide sense of 'to take care of anybody: any (including one's own) children, aged and disabled people, pets'.

The following sentence from Collin's Dictionary (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/babysit?s=t):

''Even more annoying, have you heard of a guy say he has to " babysit "  his children  when  his wife  has something to do?'' shows it's OK to say: 'I have to babysit my kids'.

According to Collin's Dictionary (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/babysit?s=t) the meaning of the verb 'to babysit' is very wide:

to take watchful responsibility for; tend

: It will be necessary  for someone to baby-sit the machine  until it is running  properly.

  • It seems like the normal use of irony to me, to talk about "babysitting the cat" or "...the new central heating system". – WS2 Jan 21 at 10:15
  • I don't see the phrase "I have to babysit my kids" anywhere on that website. What I do see is a quote from "Why I choose to be child free" of "Even more annoying, have you heard of a guy say he has to " babysit " his children when his wife has something to do?". Though that has the sense you're talking about, the language sounds so awful to my ears ("heard of a guy say") that I'm not sure I'd use it as a demonstration of what a native would say. – AndyT Jan 21 at 12:27

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