Babysitters — the good ones, at least — are lifesavers. But finding them — the good ones, at least — can be an arduous process. Here, some creative and productive ways to find quality help.
There are bunch of local listservs targeted at moms, ranging from ones that are citywide (the uber popular PennsyMoms) to ones more neighborhood-focused (Queen Village Kids, The Kids South of Washington, Fairmount Parents). Post what you are looking for and a caretaker or fellow parent might hook you up. I’ve found great sitters and even an awesome nanny this way. Find the listservs on Google or Yahoo Groups. Note: You’ll need to put in a request and be “accepted”, which might take some time.
Similar to listservs, there are some hyperlocal closed Facebook groups you can turn to, like Queen Village Kids and Philly Babysitters Needed and Fairmount Parents. Do a search for ones in your neighborhood.
The National Websites
People have mixed feelings about national sites like Care.com, SitterCity and UrbanSitter, but I’ve had great luck on Care.com. (It’s where I found my two best sitters, actually.) You have to pay a membership fee, but it can be worth the cost: Put in your request and you’ll get a flood of interested candidates. You can choose ones that only provide background checks, if that puts you at ease.
Our Favorite Local Agencies
MBR Nanny Network is a trusted local resource. Owner Marissa Rosen helps connect families with full- and part-time nannies, temporary help and babysitters. Sitter Select is another Wee Wander favorite. Run by a local mom-and daughter duo, they provide on-demand babysitting and doula services. You pay a yearly membership fee (although your first three sitting jobs don’t require the annual fee), submit a request, and they will find a sitter in their trusted network to take the job. It couldn’t be simpler, although it’s not cheap: Sitters are $18 an hour with a three-hour minimum. Psst — Doulas do more than just help you with your birth. They can be hired after the baby is born for helping around the house, helping with your older child, and of course, tending to baby and mom.
College and Graduate Students
Uloop.com is a giant digital billboard for college students. You can post jobs for $125, but that reaches an enormous network of students at the area’s top schools like Penn, Temple, Drexel, Jefferson Nursing, and more. There is a specific page for babysitting jobs. For Penn Nursing Students, you can email a request to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will share with their student body.
Many daycares and preschools have policies that don’t allow teachers to sit for enrolled families, but everyone does it. After all, you know the teachers and they know your kids. Just ask them privately!
Poaching at Playgrounds
Keep your eyes open. Christy has met several sitters this way. When you see sitters or nannies taking care of other kids, you can chat them up and ask if they are accepting new families. The best part is that you get to see them in action.
Asking Friends and Neighbors
This was can be a little taboo, but if you approach it correctly (and are sensitive to the signals) it doesn’t have to be awkward. We think transparency is best, so ask your friends and neighbors have anyone they can share … that sort of takes the pressure off, because they can just say “yes” or “no”. If they say no, just leave it at that!