There are so many horror stories that go the rounds, and posted on You Tube about horrible babysitters. The images of a babysitter or nanny violently shaking a baby or brutally spanking a child are images that parents can't get out of their heads when they leave their children with a babysitter.
Yes, cameras help and everyone should assume that cameras are being used in a home that uses babysitters. But you shouldn't always rely on cameras, and if you don't have them how do you know you have a bad babysitter?
Here are a few indications that you have a babysitter that needs to be replaced soon if not immediately.
- The babysitter is easy to communicate with, and looks you in the eyes when speaking and being spoken to is a good sign they are a good babysitter. If babysitters aren't giving you eye contact they may not be listening, focusing, or will be nonchalant about the responsibilities that go with babysitting.
- Your children cry uncontrollably with one particular babysitter is a clear warning that the babysitter is not doing well with the kids or child. Now, some kids go through a phase where they cry inconsolably just because they don't want to be away from parents, and when that happens it's a bad sign if the babysitter doesn't engage with the child to try to calm them down even if the parent is holding them.
- When the babysitter arrives they should be excited to be there and see the kids. Greetings for the children should be quick to roll off the tongue even if they are a new babysitter. If the babysitter doesn't engage with the kids when they first arrive; chances are the engagement won't get any better.
- If the babysitter is on their phone, other than shutting it off or clocking in (my babysitters have to clock in and out on an app) you need to address the situation right away. It's disrespectful when anyone comes to your home and is on their phone, and giving an excuse that that's the way things are today isn't a good excuse and shouldn't be tolerated by a parent leaving their children especially. If they are on their phone in front of you they most certainly will be when you're gone.
- If you find that the kids are acting differently the next day you should ask them if they watched TV the night before and if so what shows. Television can be a very strong influence on children and their behavior. If they talk about watching shows or playing games that you aren't familiar with you need to find out what those shows are and communicate with the babysitter what is allowable and what isn't. Possibly make a list of games and shows that children are allowed to watch and make sure the babysitter is familiar with this list.
- If your children are getting hurt more frequently with a babysitter than any other time this could be a sign of neglect. We all know that things happen, and kids can do things in an instant while you are making dinner, or looking for batteries for a new toy etc. BUT if it is frequent and with one particular babysitter you should error on the side of caution and possibly replace them.
- This may be something that you haven't thought about but your babysitter should engage with you. Small talk with them will give you some information about their life but it will also give you an indication of their involvement with your family. Your babysitter should ask you questions too.
No matter what, listen to your intuition/gut. It's like anything if something doesn't feel right to you then it probably isn't right. You don't EVER want to take a risk with your children so if you feel funny about a babysitter don't leave your kids with them. Your kids are far more important than a babysitters feelings.