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Hold On To Your Babysitter

There's nothing more inconvenient than finding out another nanny or babysitter has quit on you — and you have to find a replacement pronto or you'll have to miss work or change important plans.

If this has happened to you more than twice in recent months, you need to consider that the cause of the problem may be your own behavior. What, then, do you need to do to hold on to a good child care worker? Sally Lee, editor of Parents magazine, visited The Early Show to offer some suggestions.

"It's a professional relationship, and people don't treat it like it's a professional relationship," she explained. "You're the employer. This is an employee. And there are certain expectations you both should have."

Basic communication and respect are the foundations of a successful parent-child care worker relationship, Lee said.

"Don't show up late," she warned. "A lot of people think just because their nanny is in their home, they don't have their own lives, their own doctor's appointments, schedules to keep, and they think they can come home late and not make a [warning] phone call."

Being inconsiderate about working hours "sends the message that basically you don't care about their time — and their time is not as important as your time. If you're going to show up late, pay them overtime and make that phone call" to let them know you're running late.

Another important suggestion: make sure what you're paying is the going rate, said Lee. "You have to pay the prevailing rate. It's easy to find that out. You ask amongst your friends, your neighbors — and every neighborhood is different. If you have a nanny in New York City, your costs will be so much higher than elsewhere in New York State."

Even more, "You need to keep incentivizing," said Lee, including offering praise, feedback — even paid vacations or personal days.

Finally, parents should not expect their child care givers to be like the TV "Supernanny."

"I know somebody who goes out on Friday nights and leaves a babysitter to wash her children's hair because the kids hate having their hair washed and she thinks she'll delegate the job to somebody else," Lee said. "You can't delegate every job to your nanny because it's tough! You can't delegate your nanny to potty train them in three weeks — they're not Mary Poppins!"