[VIDEO] When is it Time to Fire the Babysitter or Find a New Day Care?

Three of my mommy friends just faced the dilemma of when to fire the babysitter and find a new daycare. I wanted to share what happened to them, so we could all learn from it.

I’ve shared my experience going online to find a part-time babysitter A.J. loves so I could have time to grow my work at home business. Thank goodness, we haven’t had any major issues with her. She arrives on time, follows the instructions I leave for her and A.J. never cries or looks sad when I leave him in her care.

But the moms who shared their stories with me have younger children who can’t speak up the way he does. All three decided to make a change about child care to better protect their children. In one case, the sheriff’s department got involved and the mom was left looking for a babysitter at the last-minute.

VIDEO: When is it Time to Fire the Babysitter or Find a New Day Care?

Child Care Lessons

  • Listen to your gut. If something doesn’t feel right or look right, don’t diminish it. Act and ask questions.
  • Have a child care backup plan. Whether it’s a friend, stay at home mom or a neighbor who you can call at the last minute. Ask a great sitter if she has friends who also watch children. Your child’s teacher or the nurse at the pediatrician may also be good candidates.
  • Do a background check on a sitter. You can pay a private investigator, private service or add it as an option for an online sitter service like Care.com. Sitters, nannies and caretakers from Sittersulove.com have already completed a background check.
  • The state inspects and visits registered child care centers. They’re public record that you can read online. In Georgia, the Bright from the Start program is your go-to-source but mother’s day out programs in churches are exempt.
  • Comment below: Share your favorite tip to find a reliable babysitter or child care you love.

Find a great babysitter or nanny at Care.com!

In-home child care vs. day care center

When you hire a nanny or babysitter to come to your house and care for your little ones, you have more control over the situation. Your child also gets to stay at home in familiar surroundings. Drop-off and pick-up aren’t an issues, especially with city traffic. The disadvantage is there’s only one person looking after your child and there are few opportunities for socializing with other kids. Expect to pay more for the one-on-one care.

At a day care center, there are tons of socializing opportunities. There’s more than one person watching your child, so in case there are any issues of neglect or abuse, there’s more than one set of eyes. Due to the group setting, the cost is lower than hiring a babysitter or nanny.

Find a babysitter or nanny online

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About Joyce Brewer

Creator & Host of Mommy Talk Show. Emmy award-winning TV journalist.Wife & Mommy; Mom Blogger; Social Media Coach; Long Island, New York transplant living in Atlanta, GA. Follow Joyce on Twitter @MommyTalkShow Author of Use What You Know: A Business Idea Guide for Moms featuring interviews with mompreneurs who created businesses using their skills & backgrounds.

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  1. Your first tip is the biggest for me – LISTEN TO YOUR GUT and your CHILD! Yes, little kids can make up some wild stories without even trying, but some things are just too obvious to ignore. If they start talking about things that they should have never even heard of – question where they heard it and ask the daycare about it. I once had my little girl start showing me “how boys pee” and, after asking her and the daycare, I found out that they had to leave the bathroom door open when the kids went in for safety reasons. That is definitely acceptable, but I asked that they please make sure to keep other kids away from the door and just leave it cracked because my girls don’t need to be seeing “boy parts” at 3 and 4 years old.

  2. I think that one of the hardest things about this decision is the emotional angst that goes with determining if you pick the right person and then having to go down the road to make sure and then hoping that it will work out well. I think that finding the right babysitter and firing the wrong one is sort of like a dating relationship. First you have to make sure you do your research that they are who they say they are. Then, you have to speak up the minute they do something that annoys you otherwise they will assume it is okay. And finally, if there has been an upset (and it’s not too major) there’s one time violation and then you break up and move on without another word!

    • It is very much like a relationship.
      I really like the new babysitter, but she’s back in school now and her schedule isn’t as flexible. I’m afraid to hire someone else. I’d rather keep a sure thing!

  3. For me, the number one sign that you might need to fire your babysitter is when you feel something isn’t right. If a parent is concerned about something, they should address it (if it’s not something that is putting the child in danger), and if there is no change or if something is still off, it’s time to change.

    I also always recommend parents have a list of 3-4 sitters they can call on when needed. I know it’s hard to find even one sitter but when you hear of or come across a good sitter, call and talk to her and ask if she would be willing to become a regular on-call sitter for your family. I recently got a call from someone who got my name from a friend of a friend. She had some things coming up and wanted to know if she could call me if she needed childcare help. Personal referrals from friends can be invaluable to parents.

  4. My kids actually went to the daycare I worked at when my son was an infant and the teacher in my daughter’s class was abusing the kids. My coworkers and I reported it and we wound up losing our jobs because they claimed when didn’t alert them sooner when in actuality we had warned them numerous times before. After seeing what goes on in two daycares that i worked at I knew having my kids there or at any daycare when I don’t work there. Not saying all daycares are like the two I worked at but I didn’t want to risk it.

  5. It is SO important for parents to trust their instincts – thanks for sharing this information!

  6. Your “listen to your gut” is where I always, always go. If I get any kind of warning from the gut, I always follow it because it NEVER fails.

  7. We’re lucky to have extended family so we haven’t needed a sitter but I would definitely want someone we had a relationship with!

  8. Thanks for the post! I only have two sitters I trust! It’s so hard to trust anyone with your babies!

  9. Mama instinct is strong…I always have to go with that and you have to be the biggest advocate for your small child.

    And, finding a sitter is hard, too! I’ve had some issues with that following directions stuff.

  10. You absolutely NAILED it with trusting your gut! I’ve been quite blessed with having family available, and not yet having to hire (pay for) a sitter. Using family, of course, is not without its own issues, of course. (“Grandma let you have HOW many cookies as a snack?!?”)

    As one who has worked in childcare for quite a while, in various settings (babysitter, preschool teacher, nursery worker at my childhood church, and child care provider for a mother’s group), I”ve seen it all: the good and the bad. In a child care setting, I always cringed seeing other workers just …sitting around. I was always either on my feet interacting with the kids, while also keeping my eyes and ears open to what else was going on around me; or I was positioned in a manner where I could greet kids (keeping an eye on open doors), helping to engage them, while also reassure reluctant parents of the care their child would receive.

    One strategy/test you mentioned in the video was to make unannounced/unscheduled pickups. This is a great way to come in unannounced to observe. You don’t have to be seen, but you can really see quite a bit this way. I will always recall one mom’s story (she was actually the childcare co-coordinator with me at the time) of her son’s experience in a day care-type setting. She came to pick him up, but instead of coming in right away, observed through the window for a few minutes. Her son was simply walking in a circle, quietly sobbing for the duration of the observation. When she inquired about how he did, the workers simply said “oh, he did great!” They had no idea what she had just witnessed.

    Preschool settings can also apply for SACS accreditation, which is a little different from NACY/Bright From the Start standards. SACS looks more at academic settings, since it functions for preschool through college, while NACEY focuses more on day care-type settings. Don’t ask me to go more specific than that — details are escaping me at the moment.

    The bottom line, of course, is to really do your own research and trust your gut.

  11. I can’t agree with you more about trusting your gut. I never ignore it and it has never failed me. I was super picky about babysitters for my kids because like you said, they can’t talk and tell you what’s going on when they’re really little. That always made me so nervous.

  12. We’ve only used family as sitters for our children, but we were just talking about we’d like to find a dependable sitter that ISN’T family, so this post is great timing. It would be nice to have someone we could call, someone who loves to play with the kids.

  13. Yikes, how scary. I’m so crazy when it comes to people watching my kids because I don’t trust anyone. We stick with family for care and I chose to be a SAHM because of trust issues. I was a daycare provider myself, very good tips. You can never be too cautious.

  14. I was so nervous about leaving my daughter with anyone else, I took the financial bite of staying home. I now work from home, which was a lifesaver when my husband & I split.

  15. There is something sooo true about a Mother’s Instinct. Most definitely listen to your gut first and foremost! Great advice all around!

  16. I was a single mom when my oldest four were growing up. We’ve lived through some really bad sitters & day cares. Thank goodness with these last two I’ve been able to stay home with them for the most part. Now the older children have kids though, and they are very careful about choosing a daycare/sitter. Just for the record, Grandma’s and Nana’s are usually pretty dependable – if they are available! LOL!

  17. What great tips. I think listening to your gut is so important.

  18. I have been burned sooo many times by babysitters in the past. I have come to decide that I will only use a babysitter a few nights a month. I have learned to handle my kids, house duties, and working from home without a babysitter. It can be tough, but it’s better than getting burned.

  19. We’ve never used a sitter that wasn’t family. I’m just too worried about our kids being mistreated or worse, sexually abused.

  20. When my girls were little, I never trusted anyone to watch them. It not only left me stressed, but also prevented them from learning to be away from me. It wasn’t until we signed up for a Y membership that had childwatch on site that I finally let someone else help. What a huge difference it made. Great advice for moms trying to figure out what to do that is best for their children!

  21. I know that I was very lucky to have found a babysitter who cared for all three of my girls up until last year. She was a blessing and my colleagues were not in the same boat. It made me so comfortable to be at work knowing that my children were being well cared for.

  22. My kids have only ever stayed with family members. There are just too many crazy people out there!

  23. These are some really good tips. Finding a good daycare provider is never an easy task. Momma instinct is definitely a strong thing. I love those services you mentioned in this blog post too.

  24. We are going through this RIGHT NOW….we really should find someone new!

  25. We have the BEST babysitter! She worked at a daycare we used years ago and has been babysitting our boys since they were almost 2 and almost 1!

  26. i’ve had to leave a daycare after a situation and while it wasn’t the most convenient decision it was the best one i had to make.

  27. Our kids have limited experience in staying with others outside of school. They generally stay with family or the college girl down the street will watch them but she isn’t home much any more. I need to work on the find a new sitter situation soon! Thanks for the tips!

  28. Thanks for the tips! My son has only been watched by my in-laws {&my mom one time} because they’re pretty much always available, but I’ve been thinking about hiring someone to watch him a few days a week so I can work from home with less distraction. I’ll definitely be keeping these tips in mind!