You’ve worked hard to find a great caregiver for your family, and the last thing you want to deal with is finding out a few months into the arrangement that it might not be the best fit. Unfortunately, that’s a reality some families will have to face.
You can do everything possible from the get-go to ensure the caregiver you’ve selected is the best match for your family (via background checks, reference screening, and the interview process). But after she’s spent a few months on the job you may feel differently.
If your caregiver exhibits any of the signs below, you should take some time to assess the situation and potentially reevaluate the employment agreement. Before you take that step, you may want to speak with your caregiver to make sure that nothing is going on in her life that may be affecting her work.
1) There is a communication breakdown
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — communication is key. If your caregiver isn’t communicating with you or is not receptive when you try to communicate with her, that’s a major issue.
Your caregiver should constantly be sharing information with you about your child and relaying any questions, comments, or concerns she has. You should also feel as though your caregiver is approachable. If you’re not comfortable communicating with your caregiver, or vice versa, you may have a problem.
2) Your caregiver disregards your instructions
Does it seem like what you say to your caregiver goes in one ear and out the other? That’s a red flag. You caregiver needs to be attentive and receptive to any instructions you leave as well as advice you give.
A lack of attention on behalf of your caregiver shows she’s distracted or not serious about her job, which ultimately can have a negative impact on how well she cares for your child.
3) Your children do not want to be left with the caregiver
If your child has a breakdown every time you leave them alone with the caregiver, you need to take a step back and reassess the situation. Sure, your kiddo could be just be going through a bout of separation anxiety, but if your child appears to be in serious distress whenever you leave them alone with the caregiver, it’s time to investigate the situation.
Take a look at how suddenly this came on, and monitor any other changes in your child’s behavior. If you have multiple caregivers, pay attention to how your child reacts to being left alone with each one.
If your kids are happy and content every time you leave them with a certain babysitter, but a wreck when you leave them with another, you need to take action.
4) Your caregiver frequently cancels or is late
Reliability is one of the most valued qualities in a caregiver. You want someone you know you can trust to be there when you need them. If your caregiver repeatedly cancels on you or is consistently late, you need to have a discussion with her.
Let her know that whenever she is late or cancels on you, she throws off your plans and makes it hard for you to do whatever it is you need to do (get to work, meet a friend, etc.). If you’ve talked with your caregiver about this and she still hasn’t changed her behavior, you might need to start looking for a more reliable sitter or nanny.
5) Your intuition is telling you that something is off
You need to trust your gut. Rarely is your intuition wrong. If your inner voice is telling you something is off, don’t ignore it. Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to act on them. You know your family better than anyone else, and if you feel like something is off, chances are you’re probably right.
What it comes down to is this: Your child’s health and happiness. If you see signs that your caregiver may be compromising either of those, you need to take a step back and evaluate whether or not you think this caregiver is a good fit for your family — and your child’s overall health and well-being.