Stressed over Trying to Find Reliable Sitter

Updated on August 15, 2011
L.R. asks from Grayslake, IL
11 answers

Hi All,
I guess I am looking for some advice and just a chance to vent a little. I am very fortunate that my husband's job is allowing him to start flexing his hours come this fall. This allows us to discontinue after school daycare, while a wonderful place, it is expensive. The only problem is that my husband has to go on call for after hour problems every 6 weeks, so there maybe times that we would need a sitter. So, I have been on a the hunt for a sitter to work for us on an as need basis. I joined Care.com and am just frustrated. We thought we had 2 reliable people, but then one decided to take another job without even letting us know, I called to set up a job and then she told me. The other thought that this was a weekly job, after I cleared up the confusion she said she still wanted to work for us, but now she won't respond to my messages. So, now I have interviews with 2 more girls, hoping for the best. I am just worried about how reliable they will be. It just seems that a lot of people these days have no consideration or sense of responsibility and come off as unprofessional and these aren't all college students I am talking about. Does anyone advice or tips on finding a good sitter. I have tried recommendations from others, but it seems nobody has any.

Thanks to all who respond,
L.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for the responses. I will looking into some of your suggestions. Just to clarify some things....I am not mad at these sitters for finding a more steady job, I just wish that they were more considerate and tell me ahead of time and not when I am calling for a job. And I don't expect them to jump at my every whim, that is why I was looking a few sitters and not just one. And yes it is quite a dilemma when your husband's on call schedule is based on the weather which is quite unpredictable and most of these after school places close at 6p while I work until 7.

More Answers

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C.T.

answers from Chicago on

I understand your frustration about the expense of Childcare and not being able to find a reliable replacement since your circumstances are allowing you the opportunity to not have to have your kids in Childcare regularly is great.
However, finding a sitter to be at your whim is a big request! There's not much reliability on the babysitter's end and if they find another job with more stability, can you blame them for pursuing?
My advice would be to find out if your current Childcare will allow your kids to drop in on days you need care. If not, find one who will. Usually the cost is a little more but not always. Or work out a deal for their care 6 weeks on & 6 weeks off. You'll still be paying only half of what you used to pay.
If you want to continue to pursue a babysitting option, consider a service who takes calls and can fill your order as needed versus using a free website. I don't know how many of these places exist, but I would imagine Brightstar could help you. That's where I would start.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful
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J.Y.

answers from Chicago on

Have you considered loking into a small home daycare in your area? They may be more likely to have an opening for a school-age child for occassional care than someone coming to your home. Most babysitters will take the first more permanent job available to them in order to ensure a more consistant, reliable income.

1 mom found this helpful
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M.O.

answers from Chicago on

Part time childcare is really difficult to find. These women you talk to say yes to you, until they find something else with more hours, more money, more consistency. My sister in law is a sitter on one of those sites and she does this to people all the time. Its WRONG, but from her point of view, she does what is best for her and her family. I really have no suggestions. I am looking for care 2 days a week for a 2 year old and I haven't found anything reasonable yet either. Its very frustrating!! Good luck...

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S.S.

answers from Chicago on

So to clarify your dilemma is that you need a sitter every six weeks for a day or a couple days? Most afterschool care is done by the hour / or by the day. Just set it up with the school that every 6 weeks for so you will need a sitter. Not sure why this is a dilemma.

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J.W.

answers from Chicago on

This was tough for us too. It still is. I have found reliable sitters/nannies in 3 places. First I'd check with the teacher of the school your child was enrolled at. Someone there may be available, or they may know someone. ANother option is to join a local moms group and see if anyone there takes on sitting jobs on the side. A bonus of this one is that they may bring their kids to play with yours. A third option is to place an ad at a local university that has an early childhood education program. See if a faculty member can make a recommendation. In any case if you can give a regular schedule you will get a more reliable sitter. They need regular pay in order to keep you on their schedule, which is fair if you think about it.
Good luck!

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J.R.

answers from Chicago on

Do you have any friends that would switch off with you? You watch theirs, they watch yours? Of maybe putting fliers around your neighborhood and see if any stay at home moms would want the extra cash. I know I would do if you were close by.

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C.K.

answers from Chicago on

It isn't easy finding a reliable occasional sitter. You can't blame them if they find a more frequent job, instead of waiting for a call from you about every six weeks. It is disappointing when you have recommendations from others and it did not work out - is this because they couldn't sit for you when you might need them, or you tried them out and you didn't gel with them as a sitter? I also think it is a growing trend in todays society (not only with sitters) with regards to lack of reliability, no accountability and no common courtesy to call if plans change. Yes - I'm speaking from experience! I have had sitters lined up and then 30 minutes before they should be here - they call and say they are sick? What??? Now I make sure they know to call ASAP should they not be able to sit as planned so I can make alternate arrangements - so far so good. I usually email them a day or so before to jog their memory that they should be sitting for me in a day. Anyway, how about neighbours, or friends since it is so occasional? I don't know much about Care.com, but I use Sittercity. So far so good, but since you only need occasional sitters I suggest you have a bank of 5 or 6 sitters you can call. There seem to be numerous sitters in Grayslake so it's just a matter of finding the ones that work for you. I think you have to be darn lucky to find a great and reliable sitter who is available when you need them, first pop. Else would resorting to the after school child care every six weeks be an alternative? Good luck in your search.

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K.K.

answers from Chicago on

I was a professional nanny for twenty years and can understand this, I was in charge of finding a sitter for the weekend for my bosses. I stopped using the neighbor kids(high school or college) and this was before care.com, and I just started calling a nanny agency. They do temp nannies that come you need to pay a small fee to the agency and then you pay the nannies cash/check. The nannies have a background check and references, just like you would if you were hiring a full-time nanny. You can book several weeks in advance too. You can interview with them too to help you feel more comfortable. North Shore Nannies is a great agency if you would like to give them a call. Also if you attend a MOPS by you they usually have college students or mothers who need to make extra money and they have background checks on them to. Good luck!

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K.M.

answers from Chicago on

I would check with stay-at-home neighbors and with other moms at school- a stay-at-home mom might be interested in making a few extra bucks once in awhile. Anyone who does it "for a living" might feel they were not earning enough from an on-call type situation to make it worth their while.

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S.E.

answers from Chicago on

One of the places you can contact is your local child care resource and referral agency. The resource and referral agency can provide your with a listing of providers in your area of choice. There are licensed child care providers who do "drop-in" or "temporary/emergency" care. Care on a as needed bases. To contact your local child care resource referral in Lake County
Serving Lake county
YWCA Child Care Resource & Referral
YWCA of Lake County
2133 Belvidere Road
Waukegan, IL 60085
[email protected]____.com
Phone Numbers
Referral ###-###-####
800-244-5376
Providers ###-###-####
Subsidy ###-###-####

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J.W.

answers from Chicago on

We have had a similar problem, and during the interview with babysitters we have brought up this particular problem that has happened in the past, and asked them to please let us know as soon as possible if they were not available and that we would reconfirm in writing dates prior to them coming as well. This has worked so far, but you are right about your post. Good luck :)

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