How Do I Find a Babysitter?

Updated on May 28, 2011
K.S. asks from Bel Air, MD
11 answers

Hi, all,
I just moved to my new area about 6 months ago and have made a couple of new friends, but not many - and only one that I feel close enough to ask to babysit for me. I think it would be very inconsiderate of me to ask her to do so often or regularly - especially since she has a toddler of her own and is expecting a baby this summer, and I've tried to talk about paying her but have gotten refusals even though I know they could use the money. The thing is, I would like to go on dates with my husband, and we actually need to take some childbirth prep classes for baby #2, so we're going to need some regular babysitting before too much longer. I don't even know how to go about searching. There is a university sort of in the area (20 minute drive or so) that we could post on the bulletin board at, but I'm not sure how comfortable I am with randomly soliciting strangers to care for my toddler (craigslist gives me the same sorts of concerns - I'm not sure how reasonable these concerns truly are since I will probably be handing him over to a fairly random stranger to watch regardless of how I find her, and I'm sure I would interview before entrusting her with my child). We do live in a fairly family friendly neighborhood, and there seem to be lots of teenage boys, but hardly any teenage girls. There doesn't seem to be a community bulletin board or anything within our little neighborhood and we don't know any of the neighbors very well to spread the word. We tend to meet in passing when somebody needs to go somewhere.

So I guess to make a long story short: we need to find a babysitter. What are some good websites to look on? What are some good community resources to check out? How did you find your babysitter and what questions did you ask during interviews?

What can I do next?

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answers from Los Angeles on

babysitting service c/o general internet search. May be a bit pricier than a local teen etc but are screened by agency.

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answers from Honolulu on

I am military so we move all the time. I find new sitters in my church. I usually look for a collage age kid that has volunteered in the nursery. If you are military you can get a free SitterCity account (the military pays for it, you just have to provide the service member ID number, Name, Rank and Branch, it then checks with the military and once your information is confirmed it open up the account in full).



answers from Kansas City on

I actually used our local university. They actually have an employee/employer spot on their website, and you can post jobs on there. All the kids that have access to look for jobs on the site are already pre interviewed and "checked out" if you know what I mean. But I still conducted my own interview and asked for referrals and phone #'s and called them myself. That made me feel better. If you attend a church in the area, you can also ask the youth pastor about babysitting. Or you could ask the nursery director at the church. I have done all of that, and it worked out very nice for me and my husband. If you have a student from the college for an interview, make sure you have a whole bunch of questions to ask them written down in advance, so you won't forget anything you want to ask. Good luck, I know what a pain it is to start.



answers from Kansas City on

Are you a member of a church? Talk to the youth group leader, they can point you to the direction of the reliable teen babysitters. That's what we did.


answers from Kansas City on

Craigslist is just a tool to find people that are interested. From there, you still have to use your own intuition. It takes time to check people out. I see a lot of people that make appointments to do so. But then they change their mind last minute. Sometimes people check one person out even though they set several appointments. But they like the first one and never take the time to call or go to the others. Not only is that rude towards those caregivers, but it's a little silly to make a choice without any comparison, unless you choose the best first by advance criteria such as....

If it were me choosing for my grandson who is almost two.... I would want someone in the business for many years. 10-15 is awesome because they are likely still young enough to get around, see and hear safely, and they haven't yet forgotten what it's like to have a toddler in the house. They are old enough to have experience and that experience should be relevant, being paid to care for strangers children, not just family. If they have been in business for 10 years or more then you can at least know they haven't had a terrible accident while in their care. BUT, that's not certain. So you should google their name and ask for any and all alias's. I would google the court system documents and find out what in the area is public.

Beyond this, it is your right to ask what they like to do in their off time, do they drink? Do they own a gun? I could make a rather long list of questions if needed and if anyone wants my questions as a long time caregiver, just email me :)

I wouldn't do it in your home. I would do it in theirs. They should have a home that is set up for children and it should be obvious that they put a lot of effort into it. It's by seeing their home and what they do for the children that you'll know how important it is to them.

Licensing is not a guarantee that someone is fit to be doing daycare. You need to do your own due diligence. But it's a place to start. If someone is not licenses, ask them to explain why. If they have legitimate reasons for not being so and it's not required in your state for them to be, then they won't hem and haw around about answering the question.

Keep in mind that it is not tax deductible for you to pay someone to care for your child when you go out. But they should claim their income. Ask them if they do because you need to know they are honest. I wouldn't want someone dishonest caring for my child. and are okay. But anymore there's a lot of scam artists getting onto those sites. I just had to deal with one yesterday and they were kicked off one of them. I forget which one.



answers from Los Angeles on
that's where i found our first nanny for my daughter. check it out...good luck!



answers from Spokane on

What about the teenage boys? I know several that are more willing and better equipped to babysit than some of the girls their same age. You just have to approach them, ask if they're interested and meet their parents. You never just might find the best sitter for your child - *especially* if you HAVE a boy!



answers from Omaha on

I use teachers from my daughter's daycare. If you have a neighbor with a child in daycare, they may have some names.



answers from Chicago on

check with your church if you attend. also local daycare centers may have the teachers looking for a few extra hours for $$.


answers from Dallas on

Ask neighbors with children (toddlers and up)
If school is still in session, check out the bus stop, that's how we found our first few teen sitters..
Network with co-worker's and if you are SAHM, have hubby network with co-workers
daycare centers, local schools, check out the high schools.....
Guidance counselors know the good kids who are in the PALS programs and programs geared toward community service and ready for jobs
Call the Park and Rec for your city. They usually offer babysitting courses and may have leads.

When we met a new prospective sitter, she would come to our house with a parent to meet the dogs and our daughter. That is when we told who our routines, what we expect, etc. She stayed about 1/2 hr, I also got to know mom or dad. I paid her $10 for her time to come over and meet for that 1/2 hr.

My 16 yr old babysits and gets an average of $12-$15 per hour. Now this solely depends on your area. She does not set rates, it is just the going rate around me. She loves it of course!!



answers from New York on

I don't know if this is much help...

Ask arround...
A colleague asked last week to a few of us in the lunchroom if we had ever left our kids with a babysitter. I would have recommended my daughter, but we live 25 miles apart. Someone said check with xxxx, and within an hour she had a reilable babysitter for that weekend.

If you know of anyone who is connected with girl scouts, they may be able to recommend someone as many of the older girls have had babysitter and first aid training.

Good luck

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