Thomas Schwartz, owner of Tri-State Nannies, a referral agency in Norwalk, CT, says the overly controlling parent is one of the most common complaints he hears. "If you're going to make your sitter get your approval for every little thing, why would you hire her in the first place?" asks Schwartz. A better tactic: Set a guideline -- for instance, you'd like your son to spend the afternoon outside -- but then have her choose among the backyard, the park, or the school playground.
It's tempting for moms and dads who work all day and want to feel involved in their kids' activities, but if you micromanage your caregiver's day -- telling her whom your child should play with, where he should go, and exactly what he should eat -- you'll almost certainly alienate her.