How to Find [and Keep] a Great Babysitter
Thursday April 25, 2013see more by jen
This post is about how to find, and keep, a great babysitter.
A great babysitter is not a luxury, it’s a necessity for any mom. But how do you find a great babysitter? And more importantly, once you find one, how do you keep her happy?
One of our Sponsors, UrbanSitter, a high-tech innovative site to search for sitters your friends use and love wrote some expert advice on how to find a great babysitter. Then, I share my tips on the things I think are important to keep sitters happy (and coming back to help!)
Tips on How to Find a Great Babysitter
Are your Saturday nights met with an exhausted flop on the couch and a feeling of regret over not finding a babysitter (again)? Here are some ways you can find a sitter that is right for your family, and ways that UrbanSitter can help make the process easier for you.
1. Trust your friends for recommendations.
Now, we all know that good sitters are kept close to the heart. Your mom friends will most likely be reluctant to pass along names and numbers. UrbanSitter automatically connects you to hundreds of sitters through your friends and parenting associations (YMCA, child’s school, mother’s groups, etc.) so you get that element of trust along with the digital ease of scheduling jobs online.
2. Post a “Babysitter Wanted” on your local college’s job board.
Young people pursuing a degree are also often looking for part-time work. And you could strike gold by securing a sitter majoring in early childhood development. An even better and faster option would be to post a part-time job on UrbanSitter. It takes only minutes and you can then choose from the sitters who respond.
3. Find a babysitter who has experience with your kids’ age.
If you have an infant, but the neighborhood’s star sitter has never cared for a child under 3, you have a problem. Same with sitters who have zero history with second graders. Do your homework and find a sitter who’s qualified. UrbanSitter lets you filter by several categories: experience, hourly rate, location, response time, languages, and more. This way, you get exactly what you want.
4. Don’t break the bank.
If you are on a tight budget, but feeling a little spent (emotionally and physically), take solace in the fact that not all sitters are $20 an hour. Most babysitters base their hourly rate on their experience level. If you’re comfortable giving a “green”sitter your business, go for it! Trust your gut, of course, but sometimes a new-to-the-game sitter is very dedicated and determined to do a fantastic job. A sitter might also reduce her hourly rate if the children will be asleep the majority of the time. And one child is always cheaper. Perhaps consider taking the 5 year old, but leaving the baby? We all know caring for one child feels like a vacation. You have the option to search UrbanSitter for sitters who charge less and interview them. When you have hundreds of sitters to choose from, you’re sure to find one who has experience yet charges a reasonable rate. And you can negotiate!
How to Keep a Great Babysitter
I have been lucky to have have found two different fabulous long term babysitters over the last six years. Our babysitters have become like family members. When you find a great sitter, you want to keep them. Here are some simple things you can do to keep your sitter happy and hopefully in it for the long haul!
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
No one is a mind reader – be as direct as you can as far as what you expect from your sitter. For example ~ don’t want to return home to a mess? Tell her you would like her to have the kids help tidy up when they are done with something, so you don’t walk into a hurricane. The more you lay out your expectations, the more likely they are to help make things easier for you.
2. Round up $$$.
If you are close to the end time, but not quite there, pay for the entire hour. I think even a little extra goes a long way.
3. Don’t cancel last minute.
I know things come up, but if you book a time with a sitter, I recommend keeping your commitment when possible. They likely made their schedule around yours, and no one wants to feel like their time isn’t valued.
4. Compliment her!
Ever worked for a boss who had nothing nice to say? Not a very fun place to work, right? If you like something your sitter does, tell her! Compliment her! Encourage her! Everyone likes to work someplace where they feel appreciated.
5. Up your pay with increased responsibility.
If your situation changes and the sitter starts taking on more responsibilities, increase her pay accordingly. Even it if is not by much, the gesture alone will make her feel like you appreciate the work she does.
6. Keep your kids in check.
No one wants to be overworked or abused, right?! Sometimes when a sitter is at a kid’s beck and call, they can turn into demanding tyrants and will try to push boundaries to see what they can get away with. It’s natural, but NOT okay!
Set the expectations with your children ahead of time on how important it is to respect and listen to the babysitter. On the flip side, tell the babysitter what you expect of your kids so that she can appropriately remind them if needed. Sometimes I would overhear my kids forgetting their manners with my sitter, and I would quickly tell her that they need to say a “please” before responding to any request.
No one wants to be ordered around; make sure you let your sitter know you value how your children treat her.
Hope these tips help! Anyone else have tips to share on how to keep a great babysitter?
[Disclosure: UrbanSitter is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor]