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How To Find a GREAT Babysitter or Nanny!

1053253_kite_.jpg Finding a reliable, energetic babysitter or nanny can be quite a challenge these days. When I was in high school, I remember competing to be “THE sitter” with many other high school girls. I babysat all the time and made quite a bit of cash. Now that I am a mom, it seems like there just aren’t as many eager young teens and college age gals looking for babysitting gigs.

I posted last week about creating a babysitter handbook, but that’s just not very valuable if you don’t have a babysitter! Here’s some ideas on where to find a great babysitter.

  • Church – check with your college/young singles pastor or youth group leader at church for names of people who may be interested in babysitting!
  • Local colleges – Most colleges have job banks where outsiders can post job opportunities for the students. This is how I found one of our regular babysitters!
  • Tell EVERYONE you know! – You never know when your child’s soccer coach has a next door neighbor who is looking for a great babysitting gig!
  • Homeschooling groups – Check your local homeschool group for reliable high schoolers who want to sit for families. The great thing about hiring a homeschooler is they are sometimes more flexible in their schedules. If you need a Friday morning sitter, you may be able to find a trusty 17 year old who is free on Friday mornings this way!
  • Your local gym/day care center/karate class/music class/etc.. – Check with people who are already in the caregiving business, and even better, check with people who are already caring for YOUR children! The child care worker at the gym or your child’s day care teacher may be looking for some extra cash on the weekends or evenings. Scoop them up!
  • Nanny or Babysitting websites-I don’t have any experience with this route, but you can join a website similar to this site or this site and have access to babysitters and nannies in your area, their contact information, their resumes, and their availability.

When you’ve found a couple candidates, there’s a few things you can do to make sure they are a good fit before inviting them into your home.

  • Have a phone interview. If you need specific, regular times for the babysitter to work, make sure they are available when you need them. Also, confirm pay over the phone and if they have transportation.
  • Meet them face to face. My mother-in-law met with our potential nanny at Starbucks and bought her a drink and discussed in more detail why she was wanting a nanny position and what made her qualified to care for children. My mother-in-law is super laid back, so it really was perfect to have her there. Other MIL’s may not be a great person to take on this interview. If you want to have someone else there if you’re husband is not available, ask a close friend. It’s always good to get someone else’s input on something like this.
  • After the first meeting, I invited our potential nanny over to meet the children and see how she interacted with them. Prior to this, I offered her the job contingent on how she and the kids interacted and on her background check results. All went GREAT and we found ourselves a great nanny!

The most important part of finding a great babysitter is not letting them go when you find them! Pay them competitive rates and make sure you are not micromanaging them. Make them feel very appreciated and never take advantage of them! Happy hunting!

Where have you found your awesome sitter or nanny? What makes your relationship work so well? Any other advice?

6 Responses to How To Find a GREAT Babysitter or Nanny!

  • Comment by Sharon M
    August 5, 2008 @ 1:16 am

    How about adding “neighborhood kids” to the list? We have several in our community, responsible older teens that have no problem with making an extra 20 bucks on a Friday or Saturday night. And my kids love them. I know many people in the US don’t know their neighbors too well, so this might not work for a lot of people.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Heidi
    August 6, 2008 @ 12:32 pm

    Thanks for the article McKenna. I will have to use this in my search for a babysitter.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Julie
    August 6, 2008 @ 1:48 pm

    Good information! When my Hubby and I were new to the area we live in, we found a local service called Sitter Connection. It’s run by a college student who loves to babysit and has friends who love to babysit and earn extra money. Well, this girl compiled a list of all the girls she knew who babysit, made sure they were all cpr-certified and had background checks, and started charging a fee for the list. It was expensive but it got us through until we made friends that could babysit. I always felt very confident in the girls that watched my daughter.

  • Gravatar August 18, 2008 @ 6:03 am

    [...] recently wrote an excellent post about finding a great nanny.  Right around the same time, my friend Jaimee mentioned she recently [...]

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Heidi R.
    November 22, 2008 @ 12:01 pm

    I used to struggle with finding a babysitter when I needed one, even though I had a great list of neighborhood girls. I think as moms we’ve all had the frustrating experience of calling around to find babysitter and not hearing back right away, or getting multiple responses of “Sorry, I can’t babysit that day.”

    After playing one too many rounds of phone tag with my sitters, I knew there must be a better way, but I couldn’t find one.

    That’s when I decided to create SitterScout.com, an online service that contacts your sitters for you via text or e-mail and lets you know who’s available. We’ll also help you meet more great sitters through a network of friends and neighbors.

    Visit http://www.sitterscout.com to join our free Beta.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Holly
    August 3, 2009 @ 6:15 pm

    I am a Babysitter in Breckenridge Colorado and mostly work with parents who are visiting town on vacation. Usually they don’t have any contacts in town but would like a night out. I try to make parents feel as comfortable as possible about leaving their children with a new person. On my website I list a childcare resume, references from past clients, a blog to help showcase my personality and a background check. I think the hard work I put into my service before even meeting the kids lets the parents know I’m a childcare professional. If you can find a babysitter who tries this hard in your area I would definitely go for her!

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