One of my colleagues recently confided in me something she wished she could change about her sitter: During meals, the sitter would record the child’s feeding times … and nothing else. 12:13 p.m. 5:02 p.m. Technically, she was doing her job. But my colleague wanted to know more to feel more connected.
It’s not easy to express your dissatisfaction to your babysitter. As the founder and CEO of Sittercity.com, and author of Love at First Sit recently shared with our w2wlink team, there are a few tips to help those slightly uncomfortable conversations go more smoothly and effectively.
Soften Your Approach
- Point out something great your sitter’s done recently and use it to move into the conversation. “It’s so great that you take the time to tell me when my son ate! I love knowing what goes on, and it would be great if you could tell me more …”
- Use your kids as the entrance into the conversation. “Tommy mentioned he doesn’t really like it when he’s swung by the arms. I guess it’s just one of his quirks …”
- Use another babysitter from the past. “An old babysitter used to carry Tommy over her shoulder and he didn’t like it much, so I just wanted to tell you so that you don’t have to spend the rest of the afternoon calming a terrified toddler.”
- Stick to the key points. While there may indeed be 325 reasons why your sitter shouldn’t swing Tommy by his arms, don’t run through all of them. Keep the conversation focused.
- Make sure those key points are short and sweet. Long-winded explanations and minor details will lose your sitter’s interest and make her less open to these discussions in the future.
- Don’t assign blame. Keep your sitter and yourself on the same side—working together to ensure she has the appropriate information and tools to best do her job.
Make Time for Meetings
You don’t have to wait until there’s a problem to have discussions with your babysitter. In fact, you shouldn’t. To keep the lines of communication constantly open, schedule brief meetings with your sitter to catch up and allow both sides to voice concerns.
Of course, when you’re rushing out of the house, your sitter is trying to get settled in and your child is pulling her in five different directions, it’s not the ideal time to try to communicate anything beyond, “Be home at six, frozen dinners are in the fridge!” Since timing is everything, the best time to meet with your sitter is when you’re both relaxed and prepared. Setting aside an extra 10-15 minutes each week to talk will do wonders for your childcare relationship.
By Genevieve Thiers for w2wlink.com