One of the best ways to find a babysitter is by asking your friends for recommendations. Ask your neighbors, moms at your kids’ preschool or church groups, and even your coworkers if they have any excellent sitters they can recommend to you.
Some uses local and social proximity to connect parents with nearby neighborhood sitters who have been vetted and verified by parents in their community. This saves you a lot of time in your search!
Look at the Fees
When comparing different babysitting jobs or services, looking at the rates they charge is essential. This will help you figure out which one best fits your budget. Consider any extra charges that might apply. For example, some sitters may charge more if they’re watching children with special needs or disabilities. This is because they’ll likely need to provide more hands-on care for these children.
Other extras that apply include preparing meals or cleaning the house. Some sitters will offer these services at an additional cost, while others might include them in their standard rate. It’s also important to consider travel costs and expenses when comparing rates. If a sitter has to travel a long distance to get to the family’s home, they might need to charge more to make it worthwhile.
Similarly, some babysitters will charge more during peak times like Friday and Saturday nights. This is because these are the times when most families need a babysitter, and there are usually fewer to choose from. Other factors affecting a sitter’s rate are their qualifications, certifications, and education. For example, if a sitter has a degree in social work or other programs that teach them how to deal with children’s emotional or behavioral issues, this could be an excellent selling point that should be reflected in their rate.
Know Your Needs
A quality babysitter needs to be able to handle the basics, which include supervising kids in the house and out of it, making meals, helping children keep good hygiene, changing diapers (especially infants), ensuring safe sleep and playtime, providing age-appropriate activities and games and encouraging healthy habits like brushing teeth. If you’re looking for a sitter with additional training and experience, look for one who’s taken a babysitting course or completed a childcare certification program.
During your interview, share essential details about your child or children. For example, give your sitter an overview of your child’s health history, food allergies and restrictions, bedtime routines, rules for screen time, and other household policies, like whether visitors are allowed.
Also, give your sitter essential phone numbers, such as 911, the local fire and police departments, the pediatrician, medical insurance numbers, and the name of the nearest hospital. The sitter may need these numbers in an emergency or if communication with the parents is lost.
Consider a high-school-aged sitter if you’re looking for someone to help with your child’s schoolwork or offer a more structured environment. Teens are often more familiar with the children they care for, and many kids warm up to them quickly. Plus, they can often provide extra hands when the parents need it.
Positive recommendations from satisfied customers can significantly influence the decisions of prospective consumers, particularly in susceptible and competitive business sectors such as babysitting services. Testimonials addressing common concerns and considerations that parents face when choosing a babysitter or childcare service, such as safety measures, emergency preparedness, punctuality, professionalism, trustworthiness, and ability to engage children in meaningful and educational activities, can help build confidence in the quality of services, offered by the babysitting business. Testimonials should be genuine and specific to provide authenticity and credibility, which can be difficult to achieve with fabricated or generic content. Babysitting services should also actively participate in local online community forums and groups to gather valuable reviews from satisfied customers.
Visual content, such as photos and videos of the babysitters engaging with children during storytime, outdoor play, or creative art projects, can add value to testimonials and boost credibility.
Schedule a Trial
Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few candidates, the best way to determine whether they’re a good fit is by having a trial run. This lets you see how they interact with your children, enabling the candidate to understand your family’s routine and schedule. A trial can also help you determine if there are any concerns, like how a new babysitter handles picky eaters or administering medication.
You can choose to be home during the trial, but it’s typically better to leave your potential sitter alone and observe how they handle the situation. Try to keep the trial as close to your day-to-day routine as possible. “If you ask them to do something outside of their normal experience, it’s going to be hard for both of you to assess how they do it,” says Charlupski.
Ask your candidate questions during the trial, but don’t hover or act overly concerned. It’s unfair to make a new babysitter nervous, and you may distract them from evaluating their performance.