Finding a babysitter just isn’t as easy (or inexpensive) as it used to be. The neighborhood girl has traded in her weekends being a babysitter for her Etsy business, and even your parents have an active social calendar that leads to little room for babysitting engagements.
In the interest of giving you a life and some stress relief in the babysitting department, babysitting has now gone as high-tech as the rest of the world. Numerous sites have emerged where parents can find caregivers and babysitters with a few clicks of a mouse. Numerous sitter search sites exist that give you access to reviews from parents that used the babysitter in the past. Some sites even conduct legal background checks before a sitter is accepted to their online roster.
While you must ultimately decide the right babysitter to care for your child, here are some sites to get you started:
Care.com launched in 2007 to help web surfers find babysitters, pet sitters, caregivers for the elderly, housekeepers, and even tutors. The site has since expanded in scope and services. You can create a free profile and search for babysitters in your area. You pay a subscription service that ranges from monthly to yearly, depending on your needs and available finances. Parents can either search for and contact caregivers, or they can post their needs and accept respondents for a babysitting position.
Care.com will schedule and record phone interviews with parents a caregiver has previously worked for so you can hear from the parent about his or her experience. An online childcare availability also ensures you are contacting a babysitter that has the right days available to care for your child.
The company runs several background checks of its caregivers, including LexisNexis screening services—the same service the U.S. Department of Homeland Security uses. While many sitters pay to have their background check on the site, you can also pay for the background check if your sitter does not have one. The site also features reviews from parents and caregivers to help you make the most informed decision. The subscription-based service offers different plans, with the cheapest being for a year’s subscription.
SitterCity.com has extremely detailed profiles for potential sitters, meaning you can have an easier time finding a sitter that’s fluent in German and also knows how to care for a child with juvenile diabetes.
The Dr. Phil Show endorses this service and uses the site to help parents find caregivers for their children. You can create a profile for your sitter needs and pay on a monthly or yearly basis (the yearly plan is significantly less expensive than the monthly option). While caregivers are not required to complete background checks, there is an online investigation service available on the site.
The service offers a free 7-day preview to help you determine if the site is right for you. Each babysitter also posts a typical hourly salary so you have a good idea if a desired babysitter is in your price range before you contact him or her.
Part babysitting search service, part social media site, you can use UrbanSitter.com to find babysitters in your area and see if your friends or fellow parents at your child’s school have used a particular sitter before. As its site title relays, the service is really centered on finding sitters for parents in big cities, such as New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle and Denver.
UrbanSitter has an easy-to-use app where you can quickly see available babysitters and receive fast notifications if a preferred sitter has accepted your job. You can pay your sitter online using the UrbanSitter site, which reduces the need for cash payments in case you forgot to make a trip to the ATM on your big night out.
Reviewed by Dr. Eva Benmeleh, September 2020
- Several babysitting sites make searching for the right sitter for your child easier.
- Most sites offer criminal background checks on sitters in advance to put you at ease during the hiring process.
- Some sites offer unique services, such as the ability to pay online, an app or sophisticated search functions.