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As a parent, there is no shortage to the scary stories of abusive babysitters. But that also doesn't mean you can never leave the house without your children. It's not a matter of never hiring a babysitter; it's a matter of finding the right one.
And part of finding the right babysitter is training the right babysitter. Any sitter you hire needs to know exactly what you expect when it comes to schedule, interaction, and, most importantly, discipline.
Your Discipline Decisions
All children act out at some point, and a big part of being a parent is deciding how you'll approach child discipline. Obviously, there are laws that will limit physical discipline of children, but beyond those, the options and approaches to child discipline vary widely and which option you choose is up to you.
One of the most important aspects to child care, including discipline, is consistency. Which is why parents should remain consistent in their discipline of children and why it's so important they convey their approach, clearly and concisely, to their babysitter.
The Sitter's Decisions
Make sure you and the babysitter are on the same page. Babysitters need to know:
You can have these written down (for both your children's sake or if you have a younger babysitter), or you can explain them plainly to the babysitter, but they need to be clear enough so that you, your children, and the baby sitter all have the same understanding.
Also make sure the babysitter knows there can be consequences for disregarding or disobeying these rules, beyond not getting hired again. There can be legal liability, both criminal and civil, for mistreating a child in his or her care as well.
State laws governing babysitting, though few, can vary. If you have more questions, you may want to consult with an experienced family law attorney.