Calm/Assertive Parenting Procedure (CAPP): How to Get Your Kid to Use Positive Behaviors with the Babysitter



Calm/Assertive Procedures like this one give kids two choices and two choices only. Kids can either:


  1. Be cooperative




  1. Suffer the consequences of not being cooperative


Either way, we can be calm and empathetic because we do not allow this third option to exist:


  1. Do whatever you want, develop bad behaviors, and become a person people don’t want to be around


The possibility of allowing choice C is what makes us angry, excitable, and sometimes irate because we love our kids and we know where kids who get to use choice C often end up.

Calm/Assertive Parenting Procedures like this one take into account all possible ways that kids will try to get to choice C. We stop those channels to C and reroute back to either choice A or B. We do this all without ever trying to control that which we cannot control.


Here We Go…


It can take a lot out of parents when they know that their kids are going to terrorize the babysitter whenever the parent or parents try to take a night off. If can be embarrassing if babysitters refuse to return for a second babysitting job because of a kid’s behaviors. This dynamic can be prevalent even when the kid is well-behaved with parents and teachers. Sometimes the babysitters do not have great management skills, and this often cannot be helped. This CAPP will show you how to encourage positive behaviors even when you can’t be there (because you are out enjoying yourself!).


What Not to Do

Do not yell at your kid.

Do not bribe your kid.

Do not repeatedly warn your kid about what will happen if they are mean to the babysitter.

Do not get frustrated with the babysitter.

Do not try to train your babysitter to use the exact behavior management strategies that you use.


What to Do: Setting the Limit

Apologize to your kid for any and all anger or threats that you have used in the past as it relates to past attempts at trying to get her to be kind and cooperative with the babysitter.

Let her know that from now on, you will be happy to pay for a babysitter for every hour that she can be pleasant. Also let her know that she will paying for the babysitter for every hour that she is being unpleasant. An Unpleasant Hour is an hour when the kid has spent one or more seconds being unpleasant. A Pleasant Hour is an hour when the kid has spent exactly 0 seconds being unpleasant.

You can let your kid know that the babysitter will no longer warn her about her behavior, and at the end of each hour he or she will let your kid know if it was an Unpleasant Hour or a Pleasant Hour. For younger kids (3-5), it may be helpful to have some of the child’s money available for the babysitter to take each hour if/when necessary. This can help the smaller ones to be able to understand what is happening. This will make kids angry, and that is fine.

Make sure to wish your kid luck with the babysitter and that you love her no matter how things go!

Explain this to your babysitter and show him or her this CAPP. Emphasize that he or she will be executing the interventions and for younger kids, the consequences.

What to Do: Intervention #1

As the parent or parents leave, the babysitter can say the following: “Our first hour begins right now. You can decide with your actions whether this will be a Pleasant Hour paid for by your parent(s), or an Unpleasant Hour, paid for by you. I won’t tell you whether you are being unpleasant, but I will tell you at the end of each hour what kind of hour it was. Good luck!

What to Do: Intervention #2

There should be absolutely NO WARNINGS Given. NONE. The babysitter cannot say “Do you want me to take away your money?” or anything remotely like that.

The babysitter can only ask one question to gently guide the kid to make a pleasant choice if it appears that they are approaching making an unpleasant choice: “What should you do now?” This can be said only once per behavior. If the kid continues with an unpleasant choice after this question is asked, the babysitter should only say the following:

“Oh, dear.”

What to Do: The Consequence

If an unpleasant hour occurs, the babysitter should note that the kid has decided, with her actions, that the current hour is an unpleasant one. At the end of the hour, the aforementioned actions should be taken. For 3-to-5-year-olds, the money can be taken. For older kids, it should be mentioned that their money will be taken. At that point, the babysitter should tell the kid that it is a new hour, and that she or he wishes your kid luck. The babysitter must fight the urge to say anything more.

This may cause your kid to act out. That’s fine. If you are reading this, they may be acting out with the babysitter already. The difference is that now you have serious consequences within these procedures that will make your kid less likely to keep using these negative behaviors.

When you return home, the babysitter can give you a report on how the evening went. Fight the urge to revert back to anger, lectures, warnings, or threats. If the night went poorly, just express sadness and let your child know she will have another opportunity with the babysitter next time.



Remind the babysitter that the goal of this CAPP is not to get the kid to be pleasant immediately or make them happy immediately. Review “Reminder…

Kids should be getting an allowance that is not related to doing chores every week. They should get their age in dollars. This should begin at age 3. Every week a three-year-old should get three dollars; every week a seventeen-year-old should get seventeen dollars. While this seems like a lot of money for the older child, it isn’t, because parents should no longer pay for anything besides the clothes and food that the parents want to buy. In addition, presents can be purchased for religious holidays and birthdays. One activity per season can be purchased by the parent if that fits into the value structure of the parent.

Allowances can be held in trust until babysitting services have been rendered, in case the kid might have to pay for her babysitter.

If a kid has no money, future allowances can be given to the parent to repay the parent. In addition, the kid should pay interest on that loan. The percentage of interest can be determined by the parent.


The parent can sell the kid’s toys to a pawn shop to get money immediately.

The amount paid by the kid should be the same amount that would have been paid by the adult.

If there is more than one kid involved, and only one kid is unpleasant, she should pay for the Unpleasant Hours. If more than one is unpleasant, they should share in the Unpleasant Hours.


Each unpleasant kid should pay for each Unpleasant Hour. This is due to the babysitter having to deal with so much unpleasantness. The extra money can go a long way to help the babysitter to deal with the added stress of added obnoxious kids!