This question comes up over and over again in conversations that I have with other moms. Many of my friends have begged me NOT to share my skinny on finding good babysitters. But I feel compelled to share this with all of my fellow CSP readers!
So how do you find a good babysitter? First, you ask all of your family members who don’t have children since this would be your most cost-effective method. For me this was a short list, or basically a non-existent list, so I had to find other resources. One great pool of prospective sitters that people seem to overlook are your preschool/daycare teachers. Many teachers do this for a living because they truly love children so babysitting might be something they would enjoy. Teachers would be a perfect resource to investigate for weekend/overnight trips. Another place to look is through your church nursery. Many times this is a volunteer effort so again, these ladies really enjoy interacting with children. One more option is in your neighborhood. Our homeowner’s association publishes a directory that has lists of babysitters, animal-sitters, house-sitters, lawncare providers, etc. Make sure you ask about their experience, especially if you have a large family like myself. While I probably wouldn’t hire a 14-year-old since I have a huge posse, you might get away with hiring this person especially if you put your baby to bed before you go out. Warning! Do not get into the habit of putting your baby to bed every time you go out though. Your baby must learn to successfully put himself to bed. Or you will be a prisoner in your own home! This does not apply to you if you have a lot of family in town because your children will be comfortable with these regular role models in their lives. But I have no family here, so I am truly in survival mode when I go out! My children learned early on that they need to fall asleep on their own. I read them books, sing them lullabies and rock them. But I have always made sure that I put them in their cribs/beds while they are still awake.
OK, back to the babysitter ideas. Another great resource is your local YMCA. The ladies in Child Watch enjoy being around children and are often times looking for side work. So you might want to either post an ad in the Y locker rooms or ask around at Child Watch. My last resource to give is the Queens University of Charlotte Referral List. They publish a list of prospective part-time workers each semester (Fall, Spring & Summer) for $20. Each semester the list of students may change due to school schedules so it’s a good idea to buy a new one every so often.
These are the main resources that I have found to be successful. Remember the golden rule of moms and babysitters – never steal a good sitter from your friend or neighbor. You will lose in the end!
Do you have any other ideas to share?
Somebody posted this question and I thought it was so good, I brought it into the main section:
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post “How to Find a Good Babysitter”:
While we’re on the topic of babysitters, how much do you pay them? obviously age and number of children are factors, but I’d love to see what formula people are using.
How did I forget to address this very important aspect of hiring a sitter?! Here is my experience and I think this will vary depending on where you live:
1-2 children w/high school sitter – $8/hour
2-4 children w/college or older sitter – $10/hour, maybe a little less if kids are already asleep
Day sitter hourly rate (doesn’t matter the # of children) – $12-$15/hour