Babysitter Blues: How to Fix Bad Sitter Behavior

Does your babysitter show up late? Spoil your kids? Snoop around? How should you respond to a babysitter's bad behavior? It depends on the severity of the offense -- and whether you plan to use her in the future. Our guide will help you set her straight -- or decide whether to cut her loose.

The babysitter leaves dirty dishes in the sink and toys all over the floor.

What to do: Let it go or bring it up gently

Sure, it's nice to come home to a sparkling house, but a little extra cleanup is a small price to pay for an otherwise stellar sitter. "I don't like coming home to a messy kitchen," says Elisabeth Grant, a mom of two in Minneapolis. "But my sitter's job is to keep my kids safe and entertained, not be a housekeeper."

Putting toys away is a different story: This is something your children can -- and should -- do before they go to bed (with your sitter's help). Explain that cleanup time is an important part of their daily routine. Wendy Gummere, a mother of two in Pensacola, Florida, says, "I'll say something like, 'We're teaching the children to be responsible for their belongings. They're expected to pick up their toys and place their clothes in the hamper, so it would be great if you could help them with that.'"

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