Either your child has told you they hate the babysitter, or you’ve determined as much by his reaction when you announce the babysitter is coming over. Either way, you’ve discovered a mismatch and it needs to be remedied. We’ve collected some approaches that might help smooth over the situation.
Figure out the problem and work toward a solution.
Never ignore your child’s feelings about a caregiver. Your child is the one who spends the most time with the babysitter, so if there’s a problem, you owe it to him to get to the bottom of it. At a quiet time, have a sit-down with your child and really listen to his complaint. You may discover that it’s something simple, like she doesn’t slice bananas the same way you do or allow the closet light to stay on at bedtime. Sometimes “I hate the babysitter!” can be easily fixed by making few small adjustments. Consider printing out our helpful babysitter reporting form to get the sitter’s input after each job, which may give you clues about any problems happening while you’re away.
Determine if the problem is more significant.
Unfortunately, bigger problems also lurk when navigating the delicate relationships between children and babysitters. For example, there may be a fundamental difference in discipline style between you and the sitter, or a miscommunication between you and the sitter about your overall childcare philosophy. Kids pick up on these disparities and may feel uncomfortable with the sitter’s care giving approach. If you feel the problem may be bigger than a quick-fix issue, read our article on How To Have Difficult Conversations With Your Babysitter.
If you still feel uneasy, why not drop by your own house during the babysitter’s hours? Perhaps the temperature fell during your date night, and you need to run into the house to pick up your jacket between dinner and the movie. What you find may give you a closer peek at what goes on when you’re not around. Listen to how your babysitter and child interact, and try get a feel for why your child might say they hate the babysitter. Is it because the babysitter is texting the whole time and leaving your child to entertain himself? Is it because she’s putting him to bed earlier than normal? You shouldn’t feel uncomfortable about checking in– it’s your child’s best interests at stake. You can find more tips about monitoring and evaluating your babysitter here.
Involve the sitter.
If your child hates the babysitter, chances are the sitter has noticed the tension too. Ask her if she likes sitting for your family, and brainstorm ways to relieve any stress in the relationship between her and your child. Perhaps you can think of a special treat that’s only allowed when the babysitter comes over, like ice cream or staying up a half hour later, or maybe the babysitter has a pet she could bring with her next time as tension-diffuser. There are many ways to turn “I hate the babysitter!” into “When can the babysitter come again?” — you may just have to be creative, and two minds are usually better than one.
Hire a different sitter.
While child-caregiver relationships can be tenuous, it’s always best to stick with a sitter you trust as opposed to changing gears too quickly. Most kinks can be worked out, and consistency in childcare can lend peace and predictability to a household. That said, just as in the grown-up world, sometimes personalities just don’t meld, and change is due. If that time has come, head over to our resource center to do your research before jumping into a new caregiver situation too quickly.
By listening to your child’s complaints in earnest and doing your best to uncover the root of the problem, you’ll most likely be able to diffuse any stress between your child and caregiver before it gets too serious. If it’s time to make a change, UrbanSitter is here for you with fantastic sitters, reviews and in-depth resources.