How to Spy on Your Babysitter


close-up of toddler

Photo by yadayada

I have the greatest babysitter in the world, someone I trust completely. But I still get nervous leaving my kids with anyone who isn't me. I'll bet I'm not alone in that.

Genvieve Thiers, founder of, which helps you find great care providers in your area, has a simple three-step screening process for me and other rightfully cautious moms. This guide will help ensure that the babysitter we pick is the right fit for our family, so we can function at work or spend a night out without worry.



Pay attention to the sitter's relationship with your children. Here are a few signs that she might not be the best match:

  • Sitter has a different view on discipline than you do and is reluctant to change
  • Child doesn't seem very interested in the sitter when she arrives
  • Sitter lacks energy or enthusiasm
  • Sitter develops a patronizing attitude towards you or your parenting preferences

Some warning signs can indicate something much more serious than a simple mismatch (do NOT keep this sitter!):

  • Sitter blames the child for problems he didn't cause
  • Sitter unreasonably demands perfect behavior
  • Child's behavior changes drastically (becomes excessively clingy or aggressive)
  • Child cries, screams and begs you not to leave
  • Child develops unexplained bruises, cuts or burns
  • Child loses his appetite or has recurrent nightmares


 At the end of each sitting job, take five minutes or so to run through some quick questions about the day's events. Here are a few examples: 

  • How did the day go? What did you all do?
  • How did my child behave today?
  • Were there any problems?

Another thing you should do is set aside 15 minutes each month to call your sitter and discuss how everything's been going from her perspective. Consider general questions, such as: 

  • Do you find yourself running into any obstacles on the job?
  • How has my child's behavior been in general?
  • Do you have any concerns about my child or about the job itself?


  • Ask a neighbor to keep an open eye and ear. If the sitter takes your child outside, for example, your neighbor can peek over to make sure things are going well. 
  • Come home unannounced, perhaps for lunch. An unexpected drop-in will put you smack-dab in the middle of the sitter-child relationship and will help keep your sitter on her toes. 
  • Install a nanny cam. The most diligent parents we've seen use a nanny cam to confirm their suspicions or alleviate their fears. Many nanny cam services have live feeds that you can watch on your computer or cell phone while you work, such as the one available at

++How do you monitor your baby-sitter? Have you ever used a nanny cam?

child care, discipline, safety


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jayce... jaycee1124

I have full trust in my daughter's babysitter or she wouldn't be there! But its still good to "be sure." When I get off work early I just go pick her up, I don't call and let her know I'm coming early. She has nothing to hide and isn't doing anything she shouldn't be so it is never an issue. I encourage ALL parents with children in daycare or who use a babysitter to pick them up early sometimes without notice. If you are held off from coming in or things are not as they should be you know something is wrong.

AnnieC1 AnnieC1

I would never install a nanny cam. Personally I think its a violation of privacy. If you find a babysitter your confident in then it's up to you to put your trust in them talk with the sitter, talk with your children, and pay attention to any signs that things may not be going well. Don't nit pick. I was a babysitter for MANY years, I always took good care of the children and if someone had been watching over me it would have changed my natural responses and interrupted me. If I would have been being watched with out knowing I would have been very offended. Those cameras can make anything out as a harmful thing and when your constatly watching someone else care for your children you wont necessarily agree with everything such as the way they hold a bottle or clean dishes and then your making your own problems.

laura... laura7485

My mom is my sitter. I COMPLETELY trust her.

skutt... skuttle06

My sitter has a daughter 2 months younger than mine.  The only thing I don't like about her is that her 19 month old is still on the bottle not only ALL day but also still gets a bedtime bottle.  She also still has to be held in bed until she falls asleep and she still wakes up in the middle of the night everynight.  She also in my mind doesn't displine enough.  She does do an amazing job with my daughter though and my daughter loves her and her daughter.  I trust her comepletely.

slcmum slcmum

"I would never install a nanny cam. Personally I think its a violation of privacy."

It is not a violation of privacy if it;s in YOUR OWN home. if you have it in your own home then its called being a good parent to make sure your kid is safe!

layla... laylas_momma

my dd sitter is perfect layla asks for her on the weekend and loves going

ozark... ozarkgirl3

I would definitly use a nanny-cam! I had a close friend of the family who we trusted to watch our son. She is the same age as my mother-in -law and had even watched my husband when he was little. But, we discovered that she would frequently take off during the day and leave her teenager watching both of my boys (both under 2), my nephew (also under 2) and a 4 year old! While my sons were loved by her, she didn't like my nephew and would lock him in rooms and let her son hit him. The point being, we knew her, thought we could trust her; but she was irresponsible and mean to the other kids. Although my sons enjoyed going over there (and therefore showed no signs of neglect/abuse) we couldn't leave them in her care. We only discovered these things after my sister-in-law showed up early and walked in without ringing the doorbell. I say, when it comes to your children, you are allowed to do whatever is necessary to keep them safe. People can fool even the most diligent of parents. I'd rather buy a nanny-cam and potentially insult a babysitter then ever risk putting my child in harms way again!

nonmember avatar Lauren

I think if you are leaving your children with someone else even family or close friends, you should use a nanny cam if it makes you feel more secure in leaving them. other wise you will never enjoy your time away from your children. There are bad people in the world and if you are a care provider you have gone into baby sitting with the knowledge of the world today and these days should expect nothing less than over protective parents. if anything else being someone who interacts with children and a variety of families would think babysitters would be the most perinoid of all!

kamenard kamenard

I started working for BabysitEase, a babysitter placement service, a couple years ago.  We match parents & wonderful sitters for part-time & occasional
jobs.  We can also help out with nanny placements if needed.  Parents love the service because they can get excellent women without having spent months or even years developing a network of babysitters.  With one phone call we can help out with work week childcare, date nights, and even sick care if parents need day care backup.

Just this week we received this feedback:
We've been using your service a lot since we've moved to Lexington in August and I am happy to say that we've been thrilled with the quality of sitters that have been provided. Thank you for having such a great group of sitters available for our children!

You can see our website at

Nanny... NannyMiranda

I am a nanny and all I have to say is that this topic is total crap.  If you do not trust someone then don't let them around your children.  I do not work in homes where I am not trusted 100%.  It is your job as a parent to follow your intuition and do what is right for your children.  So why would you ignore your true feelings and potentially let something bad happen to your children?  Trust your gut and if you can't find someone you trust then you shouldn't have anyone in your home!

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