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Nannies / Babysitting

How to Find [and Keep] a Great Babysitter

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

by UrbanSitter 

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

by Jen 

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]

Find OC Babysitters with UrbanSitter

UrbanSitter is a new cutting edge online resource for OC parents to search and find occasional, part-time or full-time babysitters quickly and efficiently.

By creating a platform powered by your social media networksUrbanSitter searches for Orange County babysitters the friends and people in your circles use and love.

That means you can see the babysitters that have been personally recommended (used and reviewed) by your friends, local parents in your MOMS club, sports team, child’s school, etc.

Tiny Oranges is giving away a $100 UrbanSitter gift certificate compliments of UrbanSitter to one lucky reader to use towards babysitting so get ready to line up a date night or some much-needed mommy time!

We are also offering a $20 off code for the first 50 readers who sign up for UrbanSitter. Details below!

How UrbanSitter Works

Once you log in via Facebook (yes, you do have to have a Facebook account because that is how the magic happens) you can search for sitters by a specific date and time or for a recurring booking.  Once you have your date(s) and time set, you can sort the results using filters like background check, hourly rate, experience, reviews, etc.

Once you narrow down your list of sitters, the badges on the sitter’s profile show all sorts of things like whether they have completed a background check, if they accept credit cards, their average response time, how many families have repeatedly booked them and other important information.

If the babysitter has a connection to someone in your social network, there will be a section titled, “You both know.”  I think this is absolutely brilliant.

Sitters also keep their schedules online so you are able to book jobs and interviews for a specific date/time with the click of a button based on their availabiliy.

I love how efficient this makes the process – no going back and forth to find a time that works!

You can also use the site to stay organized with handy email reminders and access to your babysitter bookings.

Tech-loving parents will love their free UrbanSitter iPhone app allows you
to access your account and book sitters on-the-go!

But perhaps the most convenient service UrbanSitter offers is the option to pay online via credit card.

The first online transaction is free, others will incur a service fee of $7.50 per transaction.

For now, UrbanSitter is FREE for parents to use and register. I hope you take advantage!

So say good-bye to the days where you had to miss out on things because you couldn’t find a sitter.

Tiny Oranges Exclusive UrbanSitter Discount Code!

The nice folks at UrbanSitter are offering the first 50 readers who sign up for UrbanSitter a $20 credit (Woo hoo! Book your date night for this weekend mamas!) with code 73LPJC8C*. 

* Enter code on the Credits page under My Account. Use your credit by 12/31/13 to pay any sitter listed as accepting credit cards. 

Hooray! It’s a Tiny Oranges Giveaway!

Enter our Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win $100 towards babysitting services ~ good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Plan for Summer Now with SeekingSitters OC

Summer sneaks up on you fast, doesn’t it? And now that I have a grade schooler, I didn’t realize it, but you really have to start planning your summer activities and camp schedule like now!

This post is not to stress you out, but to let you know you can plan for summer with the help of SeekingSitters OC if you anticipate needing assistance when the kids are out of school.

I know a lot of moms work out of the house part time, so when summer rolls around  it can be problematic!  With SeekingSitters OC, you can set up a regular babysitting schedule and know you dedicated, uninterrupted time to work while your kids are having a blast playing with their sitter.

Maybe you don’t have a part time job but prefer not go crazy this summer? Come on, I am not the ONLY one that feels like that, am I?!

With SeekingSitters, you can plan a weekly (or more!) block of time where you can be assured you get at least 4 hours to yourself to run errands, make appointments, take care of yourself, and keep your sanity. Tell your hubby this alone is priceless!

The sitters are all independent contractors, so just as if you were booking a sitter one on one, if you feel comfortable, the sitters are able to take your kids to camp and drive them places if that is what you need help with over the summer months.

Their sitters are AMAZING.  

I wrote about my personal experience using SeekingSitters here. Completely stress-free, no hassle, and our sitter was like a modern day Mary Poppins. She arrived with her own bag of activities geared to my girls’ ages and they were in heaven.

All the sitters are committed to keeping your kids entertained (and off of video games and TV) for the duration of the job. I LOVE this aspect, because I know I am not going to have a babysitter sitting on the couch texting while my kids just watch TV.

A few main points on what makes their service so incredible for families:

* They do all the work for you! No interviews, no calls back and forth, no reference checks, they do all the legwork so you simply put in your dates / requests and they book a sitter for you.

* Safety! All their sitters are prescreened, background checked and have CPR and First Aid training.

* Easy Payments! Payments are made via credit card online so you never have to stress about having cash or going to the bank.

* Personalized Service! Kim Kane, the OC owner will work with you to make sure you get the very best sitter for your individual needs.

* Quality of sitters! Kim does all of the hiring herself, and as a mom of two young boys, knows exactly how high the standards are for a fabulous sitter.  Her sitters are professional, engaging, entertaining and show up on time ready to play with your kids. And when they leave, your house will be picked up in the same if not better condition then it was when they arrived. Important!

Kim recommends working with them now to plan for your summer so she can get you on their schedule.  Many sitters book up due to demand, so the farther she knows in advance, the better.  This is not to say that they can’t accept last minute requests! It is just easier for everyone to plan now if applicable.

I can’t more highly recommend this service.

For more information visit, www.SeekingSitters.com.  You can also visit SeekingSittersOC on Facebook and follow @OCSitters on Twitter.

Kim Kane, Owner, SeekingSitters OC Coastal, Central & South
949.294.1003
kimkane @ seekingsitters.com

[Disclosure: SeekingSitters OC is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor.]

My Personal Experience Using SeekingSitters OC

A couple weeks ago I did a post on SeekingSitters OC which is a babysitting referral service that will find you a great, reliable, background-checked sitter when you need one. In doing my research for that post,  I spoke with Kim Kane, the local Orange County owner, for almost an hour about her company and the service they provide.

At the time, my husband and I were planning on having to cancel on friends for an upcoming fun dinner event because we didn’t have a sitter available. Because I have never left my kids with someone I hadn’t previously met, it didn’t occur to me to use a service like this. In fact, the thought of it before would have made me nervous.

But after talking to her I felt so comfortable with her and her company that I went ahead and asked her if I could give SeekingSitters OC a try so we could go to our dinner. Which we did this past weekend, and I am thrilled to share my personal experience today!

Bottom Line: I LOVED IT. My entire experience from start to finish was stress-free and completely delightful.

Read More >>

SeekingSitters OC

I don’t have a sitter.“ How many of us have missed out on fun (adult only!) event because of that statement? Personally, my husband and I almost had to cancel on friends for a fun couples’ dinner coming up this month because my parents and other babysitting options were not available. That is until I got acquainted with SeekingSitters, an on demand OC babysitting referral service that does all the work to find you a great, trustworthy babysitter when you need one.

After talking to the local OC owner Kim Kane, I felt completely comfortable booking a sitter through their service because there were so many things that gave me peace of mind. I will share my personal experience using one of their sitters next month, stay tuned!

Let me share a little of what I learned about SeekingSitters and how their service works.

Read More >>