As a babysitting agency I can't tell you how many times I have parents call to tell me what they put up with so that they don't have to start with a new nanny. But ask yourself: is my nanny more important than my child and my family?
When a parent finally reaches out to me to help them find a caregiver; I can't believe the horror stories they tell me about the current babysitter. The things that parents put up with just because their children like their nanny/babysitter is astounding. Here are just a few of the things parents will tolerate (but shouldn't):
- Consistent tardiness; in some instances 20 minutes or more.
- Not showing up with no call or a last minute call.
- Taking children to the babysitter's home.
- Going shopping for personal reasons not for the kids.
- Drinking alcohol while on the job.
- Babysitters bringing other children to your home (with or without consent) this is a liability to you if this is happening.
- Wearing inappropriate clothing for taking care of children, very low cut shirts and very high cut shorts or skirts, preventing bending over modestly.
- Taking children to places without checking in with the parents, and getting approval.
- Boyfriends or girlfriends coming over while they babysit.
- Childcare provider using your computer.
I'm sure that there are more, and quite frankly I'm surprised at how much parents put up with. You are paying these people to take care of your children, and you need to set clear boundaries from the beginning.
It's good to be flexible but you need to remember that these caregivers are working for you and you, in turn, are their boss. When you have a job you're expected to be on time, be dependable, dress appropriately, do your job which includes the duties as set up by your boss or supervisor. In no other setting besides babysitter or nanny do I see so much flakiness that is passed over due to parents not wanting to disrupt their children. You must remember that you are paying your caregiver, and with that payment comes certain duties and responsibilities that you prescribe to the babysitter.
When you utilize an agency you should let the agency know what your expectations are, specifically, and have the owner or manager of the agency convey those expectations to your caregivers. You are not helpless. Remember that if you use a trusted agency you have a service in your corner that can assist you in conflict management, recruiting, and you can rely on getting babysitters that will do the job you expect and if they don't you can find another babysitter/nanny usually within a week or two and in the interim the agency will have a qualified babysitter there until the right person comes along. An agency can be a stop gap while you find a pre-school, a caregiver that you trust and fits in with your family and your expectations, AND actually help you find a permanent person for your family.