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How to survive awkward conversations with your babysitter

Oct. 19, 2011 at 10:39 AM ET

When it comes to the people we trust to watch our children, some conversations have a way of getting .... awkward. Fast.

Say your babysitter isn't getting your kid to eat his veggies like you want him to. How do you communicate with her without coming off as a micro-managing momster?

What if your nanny shows up late a lot -- but she's otherwise so great, you don't want to upset her by complaining about her tardiness?

Or, what do you do when a friend asks for your baby-sitter's phone number -- but you're afraid if you give it to her, your babysitter will end up being her babysitter, and you'll be out of luck.

The truth is, the relationship you have with your child's caregiver is unlike any other employer-employee relationship. An episode of 30 Rock last season brilliantly spoofed the dynamic when executive Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin), who considers himself a master negotiator, finds himself totally at the mercy of his child's nanny. Most (good) bosses want their employees to be happy -- but when you're dealing with someone who takes care of your child, you really, really want them to be happy.

Debra Shigley, author of the "Go-Getter Girl's Guide," and Chandra Turner, executive editor of Parents magazine, joined TODAY this morning to talk about how to navigate your way through these tricky conversations with nannies and babysitters.

In general, honesty is the best policy. If you talk openly and honestly with your child's caregiver, you can work out most issues. Setting out expectations up front goes a long way. Of course, sometimes a little subterfuge is OK -- like when you think your friend wants to poach your best babsitter. Try stalling, "forgetting" about her request, or giving her the number of your backup, Debra Shigley told TODAY in an earlier interview: "Keep your friends close -- and your babysitter closer! It's every woman for herself when it comes to reliable childcare, and all is fair in love and daycare!"

What do you think? What sticky situations have you encountered with your child care provider, and how did you handle them?

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