Going about finding a babysitter - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 03:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We're in an odd situation where, for the first time in dd's 10 years, we need to have someone sit for dd occasionally.  This would be for things like p/t conferences, school meetings, days we both work, but dd is off school.  We rarely go out as a couple even for dinner, as we enjoy doing things with dd, but that could be a time when we need someone, too.  My mother passed earlier this month and she had lived with us most of dd's life, so dd has never had a sitter even once.

 

I honestly don't even know where to start looking for someone.  All of my friends and co-workers are either childless, don't ever use babysitters, or have large enough families that there are older siblings who do the babysitting (eta:  I asked about these older siblings sitting for dd, but the moms said that they have enough to do with just watching their siblings, so they don't do any outside babysitting).  We don't go to church and dh has said that he doesn't know anyone from work that could help out.  Dd's school is too far away to find someone older to sit for her from school.  Right now the only thing I can think of is to ask a friend of mine who is a school bus driver to see if she drives any high schoolers that are responsible and would be available to sit, but dd doesn't go to the local school, so her schedule off school is different than theirs.

 

Do you just put an ad in the newspaper?  That seems like it would attract a lot of weirdos plus we really need someone only occasionally with no regular hours.  I have an idea of questions I would ask, but I imagine I haven't thought of everything.  I'd appreciate any advice on that, as well.  TIA!

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#2 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 05:11 AM
 
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Perhaps you could ask the high school guidance counselor/English teacher/whatever if they knew any responsible students who might like to babysit.  One family I babysat for in high school did that - the teacher recommended me and because she knew me pretty well, the family and I ended up being a really good fit for each other.  I don't know if schools would do that anymore (this was 20 years ago), but that's my first thought.

 

Also, your dh is a professor, if I remember correctly?  Maybe you could post an ad at the university - do they have an early childhood/teaching program (thinking of people who naturally gravitate toward kids here) that has a bulletin board you could post on?

 

My bf put an ad in the paper - and while it did creep me out a little, she found a perfect SAHM who had a lot of days free and took her kids in without hesitation - and she's with her five years later, all of their kids are best friends, etc.

 

I have many of the same issues with babysitting - it took a really long time to find one - but the family we have now has two homeschooling daughters who are free during the day to babysit.  Homeschooling families - there's another idea for you.  Good luck!

 

 


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#3 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 06:50 AM
 
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My friend has found a couple of great babysitters on craigslist!

 

Also, do you have any local shops that have a bulletin board you could put a "babysitter wanted" ad up on?  It might be one way to get someone from the neighbourhood.

 

Word of mouth is great too.  I'd put the word out there even with people you wouldn't expect to know any babysitters.  Even your childless friends might have teenaged siblings/friends who use babysitters/retired mom who might be into some childcare/who knows!  You could try asking the parents of dd's school friends if you ever talk to them (if you're already friends with them, or during drop-off/pick-up, or whatever).

 

 


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#4 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 10:10 AM
 
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I knew of no one to ask so when I started having to look I started off with college students. We live in a college town so I went to the places where they hang up flyers, got some numbers and started calling. College students often love flexible arrangements like what you need. I'd ask for references, do an interview, and then if everything checked out and if I liked them, I would do a trial time where I was still around. That was a few years ago. I have since found wonderful sitters off of Craigslist, sitter city, and care.com. Care.com will do background checks on potential sitters if you request them, at least I think it is care and not sitter city. 


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#5 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 10:16 AM
 
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I liked Sittercity because we could contact people who were advertising, rather than the other way around (you can also post an ad). We saw pictures, resumes, and who has had a background check. We picked 4 and interviewed, ended up with a great gal who is a college student.

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#6 of 13 Old 01-25-2012, 03:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the ideas.  Yes, my dh is a professor, but he doesn't know anyone through his department that would babysit (or that lives close enough to babysit).  We could advertise, but we'd really like to first see if we can find someone for whom we can get a personal recommendation (that is, that someone we know already knows them and can vouch for them personally) and someone local.  If we do advertise, we'd probably just put it in our local paper, as his university is a ways away from where we live.  That's the same issue we have with trying to find someone through dd's school... it's almost an hour away and those that I know from the school live actually in the opposite direction, so the people they know would never travel 1 - 2 hours each way to babysit for a few hours.

 

I think at this point, I'll try to get the word out as much as possible, post on local bulletin boards (perhaps at my home library, which is not the public library where I work) and just tell everyone I know that I'm looking, including the homeschooling families (good idea).  Hopefully if word gets around, someone will have a suggestion.  My bus-driving friend may have suggestions.  Then if I can't find anyone that way, I might try Craigslist (hadn't though of that) and then use those online sources as a last resort.  Thanks again, everyone.  Some great ideas!

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#7 of 13 Old 01-25-2012, 04:28 AM
 
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I am very, very lucky to have lots of babysitting choices from family.   But we do have 2-3 sitters we use on a regular basis.  Our normal sitter goes to the local high school.  I would start there.  Find out who the "home ec" (or whatever they call it now) teacher is  and see if she/he has any students to recommend.  I say home ec because these are students who may have an interest in watching kids.

 

My other sitters are girls on my street.  I don't know if your dd goes to school or not, but maybe there are some older siblings of classmates or neighbors who might be interested.

 

I wouldn't put an add up anywhere but, again, that's just me and I have never been faced with having to do so.  Not really being a Craig's List user, it sort of scares me a little bit. hide.gif


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#8 of 13 Old 01-25-2012, 08:36 AM
 
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We used Sittercity, and at the interview we asked a bunch of questions from Gavin DeBecker:

 

https://www.gavindebecker.com/resources/child_safety/questions_to_ask_potential_nannies/


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#9 of 13 Old 01-25-2012, 11:49 AM
 
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I am so sorry to hear about your mom, Velochic.

 

I had to work pretty hard to find a couple reliable sitters. I have not had success with high school students. They're too busy or don't want to, at least where I live. Mine have been college or recent graduates. I literally mentioned to every one I saw regularly what I was looking for. My first lead came through DD's ballet teacher. One of the receptionists at the ballet school wanted to make some extra money, and now she's our favorite sitter! Is there a Parks and Rec in your town, and do you know anyone there? Ours has a lot of 20-somethings who work there, and some of my friends have been successful using them as sitters.

 

My kids are younger (8 and 5), but I always do an hour or so where I'm home or close by before I will hire a new sitter for the whole evening. Best of luck. It's a pain to work out, but then SO nice when you have a couple you can just text when you need them.

-e


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#10 of 13 Old 01-25-2012, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuckyMommaToo View Post

I am so sorry to hear about your mom, Velochic.

 

I had to work pretty hard to find a couple reliable sitters. I have not had success with high school students. They're too busy or don't want to, at least where I live. Mine have been college or recent graduates. I literally mentioned to every one I saw regularly what I was looking for. My first lead came through DD's ballet teacher. One of the receptionists at the ballet school wanted to make some extra money, and now she's our favorite sitter! Is there a Parks and Rec in your town, and do you know anyone there? Ours has a lot of 20-somethings who work there, and some of my friends have been successful using them as sitters.

 

My kids are younger (8 and 5), but I always do an hour or so where I'm home or close by before I will hire a new sitter for the whole evening. Best of luck. It's a pain to work out, but then SO nice when you have a couple you can just text when you need them.

-e


Thank you.  For the condolences and the tips.  I was wondering that about high school students.  Your idea about ballet made me realize that there might be someone at dd's stables where she rides and takes lessons that would be willing to babysit.  I hadn't thought of that.  She's very active with horse riding so we know quite a few people (just in passing, but still...) through that avenue.  Thanks for that idea!

 

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#11 of 13 Old 01-25-2012, 04:31 PM
 
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I'm very sorry about your Mom's passing, velochic. We used care.com. I haven't used sittercity, but I'm guessing it's similar. We have found 2 great sitters over the past year on care.com. One nice feature is they pre-screen the people on the site with a basic background check. You can also request a more extensive background check through their site as well. We ended up placing an ad and it was nice to be able to communicate anonymously through their website initially without having to give out any personal info. We also setup interviews at local coffee shops so we didn't have to invite them to our house unless we felt comfortable after meeting them.

 

Good luck and take care!

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#12 of 13 Old 01-25-2012, 04:38 PM
 
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My son is 11 and is able to stay home by himself.  Is that something you are working toward, the staying home alone?  Even at 10, last year I didn't use an evening/night time sitter, just a regular one during the day when I was working.  I found her on craigslist and was using her for several years.

 

You may not need a traditional sitter but more of a 'friend' where your DD can go and hang out while you are at work or out.  Setting up playdates with friends from the stables could work over summer vacation (even if you pay the mom) type of thing.  As for the school schedule, most schools have the same federal holidays off- I guess you would too working for a library.

 

There are lots of homeschoolers around here who babysit, both the moms and the older kids.  Plus lots of kids go to non-traditional schools (charter schools, out of district school etc) and it seems no one has the same schedule.

 

You also might have an easier time finding a sitter if you are willing to take your DD to the other persons home.  Just something to think about.

 

As others have said- I didn't know about your mom, I'm sorry to hear- as I know you are a close family.


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#13 of 13 Old 01-27-2012, 04:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you again for the condolences.  It has been a hard time of adjusting.

 

Dd does not yet want to be left alone, and I can imagine that right now would not be the time to experiment with that as the wounds of losing my mom are still quite raw.  It would be hard to be alone in the house without my mom, who was such a presence here these past several years.  Also, dd is just now 10, so still quite young and although she is mature and responsible for her age, I'll let her take the lead on this.  No neighbor kids, either.

 

I did get names from my friend who is a bus driver.  They are 3 teen girls, all of whom she says are very responsible and well-behaved on the bus, and whom she would recommend.  They're good students and are involved in school, so this might be a good lead, as well.  I haven't yet called them, but will do so this weekend.  I doubt we'd need them more than a couple times a month, so this may work out well.  The only issue would be two different school calendars to deal with (for example their spring break is a week after dd's.)

 

But, I seem to be muddling through this issue.  Thanks again to all - it's all great advice and I appreciate it!

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