Finding a babysitter is hard. Finding the right babysitter is even tougher. I tell new parents, “You can never have too many sitters saved in your phone.” There have been a few rare occasions where I have actually contacted somewhere between seven to nine sitters, trying to find someone available for the date and time we need . . . but to no avail.
Now this might say something about our family, and maybe none of said babysitters wanted to make themselves available to care for my rowdy brood. But many times, your favorite sitter isn’t always available when needed, so it’s good to have a backup or two or three.
That being said, finding a sitter whom you trust with your littles is indeed challenging. I talked about our family’s search for a nanny to help me in the day-to-day care of our four children. My lengthy journey to find us our very own Mary Poppins has made me a bit of a self-appointed babysitter-finding aficionado.
I have not personally used every resource listed below, so please do your homework when searching for a sitter for your children. I usually ask for two-three personal or character references from every sitter. I especially appreciate finding sitters via word-of-mouth, because, of course, a friend’s recommendation is a huge selling point.
Facebook pages, specifically local groups, are a wealth of information about the town we live in, as well as a good resource for finding babysitters. There now seems to be a mom’s group for just about every major neighborhood in Fort Worth, so I recommend joining your neighborhood’s virtual communities and start tracking down good sitters this way.
Specifically, Fort Worth Moms & Babysitters is a local Facebook group that I joined. It’s a closely monitored group and appears to be an excellent way for moms and sitters to connect. Every sitter and every mom who joins this group has to provide references and their basic info (name, address, etc.).
There are a myriad of websites — care.com, sittercity.com, and carebooker.com to name a few — that help families find a babysitter, tutor, pet sitter, or nanny. Prior to personally using care.com, I was a little freaked out by the idea of finding a sitter for my sweet children on the Internet! It seemed creepy, but my experience with care.com proved me wrong. We have found a number of truly excellent babysitters this way. Care.com provides a full background check and sometimes even references.
Nanny placement agencies are probably more traditionally used to find a full-time nanny; however, could also be used for a finding a sitter on an as-needed basis. They work something like this:
- Parent meets with agency rep.
- Parent gives agency tons of info about their children and family life
- Parent pays fee.
- Agency does all the leg work of screening potential candidates
- Agency presents parent with one to three really great options
- Parent meets/interviews candidates
- And finally, parent/family is matched with the perfect nanny. Or some variation of this.
A babysitting co-0p is a great money-saving idea and there are even step-by-step guides to starting a babysitting co-op. The basic premise is that you swap babysitting with other moms/families that you know and trust; thus, providing you with the opportunity to have a date night and not have to tack on an extra $60 for a sitter. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure my family has missed this boat, because — really? — who would want to trade babysitting with me and find themselves with my four-under-four? No one wants a date night that badly.
How do you find a babysitter? Are there any local resources or agencies that have helped you out?