What to Do When Your Babysitter Isn't Meeting Your Expectations

By Alicia Geigel on November 5, 2023

When you are experiencing issues with your babysitter not meeting your expectations, it can be difficult to raise your concerns with them. Addressing these problems may feel uncomfortable, but there are a few ways to go about it that can make the situation more calm and stress-free. If your babysitter is falling short of their duties and your expectations, here’s how to address them.

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1. Document the Issues: As you prepare to talk to your babysitter, be sure to document the potential issues that they have caused so you can list these when you are ready to have the talk. While keeping tabs on people’s mistakes and wrongdoings is not the greatest thing to do all the time, if your babysitter isn’t meeting your expectations, then it is more than justified to do so. Documenting your issues also legitimizes what you dealt with and can give you that feeling of security when you present them to your babysitter.

2. Address the Problem ASAP: Confrontation is uncomfortable no matter who it is with or what it is about. Though it may feel better to let the issues go, this will only create more frustration and resentment on both sides, which can lead to harsh words and verbal arguments between you and your babysitter. When you are ready, invite your babysitter to a public place to sit down or your home if you’re comfortable. Express that you want to discuss matters of the future with them and then start to talk about why and how they aren’t meeting your expectations. Depending if the situation is a positive or negative one, your babysitter may be neutral or may give you some kind of backlash, or be understanding of your concerns and offer their side of the situation. Just be compassionate but also firm during the process.

3. Be Honest: It doesn’t help to sugar-coat the ways your babysitter isn’t meeting your expectations. For one, they may view the issue as insignificant and not worth changing. Additionally, if you’re not completely honest, it doesn’t give them an opportunity to improve on their weaknesses and try to make the situation right. Ways that your babysitter may not be meeting your expectations can include: disrespecting you or the house rules, constant tardiness, lack of communication, excessive discipline toward your children, etc. Some of these examples are more severe than others, so as you work to identify what it is that is pushing you to address your babysitter, evaluate whether or not the issue could be resolved through communication or by simply firing them.

4. Inquire About Their Life Outside the Job: Your babysitter may not be meeting your expectations for a number of different reasons. External factors in people’s personal lives, like familial or relationship problems, financial strain, medical problems, etc. are all factors that can affect someone’s mental and physical health, which in turn, affects their ability to perform their job to the best of their ability. If you feel that your babysitter is falling short of your expectations, ask questions about their life outside the job to try and gain an understanding of any problems they may be experiencing. Most people aren’t comfortable or willing to discuss personal issues with their employer, but if you establish a non-judgemental and trustful tone in the conversation, your babysitter may feel comfortable talking. If they are dealing with problems, be empathetic and compassionate, and above all else, try to work with them on a solution.

5. Collaborate on a Solution: It isn’t easy to deal with a babysitter who isn’t meeting your expectations, but chances are, they will be willing to work with you when you bring up your concerns or issues in a civil, respectful conversation. Ask them for their input on how to solve the problem, and listen to their ideas. Engage with one another by identifying the issue and compromise on how it can be solved. If they aren’t good with enforcing screen time rules, see if you can put limits on your children’s devices to make their lives easier. If they arrive late because of another obligation or transportation issues, see if you can adjust your family’s schedule to work with them. If you truly like your babysitter and want them around, this will be a healthy exercise for the both of you.

6. Conduct Routine Check-Ins: After the conversation with your babysitter takes place, conduct routine “check-ins” with your children and the babysitter to see how well the sitter has taken to the proposed solutions. Ask your babysitter if they are still struggling and ask your children how the sitter has been with them during the day. This can help you see if any progress has been made and whether or not they need to be fired if the situation has not improved.

7. If All Else Fails, Part Ways: It is never easy to have to fire someone. It can be a stressful and uncomfortable event, but if your babysitter cannot or will not meet your expectations, you are well within your right to fire them. List all the reasons why they are not working out, give fair notice, and remember to be respectful above all else. If you need to then find a replacement sitter who is a vetted, reliable, and nearby college student, try searching on Wyndy.

When your babysitter isn’t meeting your expectations, remember that it pays to be quick about addressing the issue with them honestly and respectfully. When you do this, there is a fair chance that your relationship with them, and their work, will get better!

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