How to Find a Sitter?

When it comes to finding a babysitter, the options for recruiting candidates are endless. While mays may yield better leads than others, all methods have the potential to lead parents to a sitter who can meet their childcare needs.

Ask Around

Referrals from friends and family can lead parents to babysitters that others they know well and trust have used and been satisfied with. Asking friends, family members and other parents who they use for a babysitter can typically yield a few good potential sitters. Even with a solid referral, however, parents should do due diligence and determine on their own if they deem the babysitters qualified to provide care for their children.

Use Social Networking

It’s no surprise that most of those seeking babysitting jobs are online. In fact, chances are parents already have a few potential babysitters in their social media network. By letting those in their network know they are seeking a nanny, parents can reach potential sitters in an instant- and it doesn’t cost a dime. With a simple “Looking for sitter recommendation” parents will likely get a few good responses.

Contact a Babysitting or Nanny Agency

Parents who want direct access to qualified and prescreened babysitters without having to do the legwork to qualify and screen them themselves should consider using babysitting or nanny placement agency. For a fee, reputable agencies will refer prescreened caregivers to parents to fill their babysitting jobs. Depending on the lead time and if the parent requires one-time care or care on an ongoing basis, the parents may or may not have the opportunity to interview the sitter prior to when she’s needed for the job. Parents should, however, request proof of qualifications. Parents can visit the website of the International Nanny Association for a list of member agencies.

Post an Ad in the Classifieds

Parents can utilize both newspaper and online classifieds to recruit babysitters. Some websites like Craigslist are far-reaching but not exclusively for childcare advertisements, like Since parents are specifically targeting babysitting job seekers, they must be prepared to field the queries they receive. To deter unqualified candidates from applying, parents should clearly communicate what qualifications sitters should have in their advertisements.

Use Online Babysitter Websites

Online sites that recruit babysitters to create a profile provide parents with an opportunity to connect with a wide variety of sitters in their area. Sites like give parents the opportunity to browse provider profiles and only respond to those providers whom they are interested in connecting with. Most reputable sites also have online resources and tools parents can use to conduct background checks and further screen potential sitters. While it can be tempting to bypass the screening process, parents should gather as much information as they can about a candidate before making a final hiring decision.

Contact Vo-Tech High Schools

Some high schools offer training and education to those students who wish to pursue a career in early childhood education. Parents can connect with the director of the program and submit a job listing. Most programs will require students to have hands-on experience and those enrolled in the program likely enjoy working with children, so babysitters referred by the director may be viable candidates to provide childcare.

List With College Student Employment Offices

College students are always seeking part-time and occasional work and by the time they hit college, many students will have had some experience caring for children. Colleges that offer coursework in early childhood development are prime places to recruit babysitters. Parents can contact the student employment office of the local student employment office to learn how to recruit babysitters who are early childhood majors.

Hang Flyers in the Community

While hanging up paper flyers can seem a little old-fashioned, doing so can lead parents to the right sitters. By putting up signs in the local library, coffee shop, gym, or on community bulletin boards parents may catch the eye of a sitter looking to take on additional jobs.

Consider Neighborhood Kids

Depending on a parent’s childcare needs, the teenager up the block may be the perfect sitter to provide care while the parents head out to dinner after the kids are in bed. Years ago neighborhoods were the main resource for securing sitters, however, with more teens involved in more extracurricular activities and parents demanding more experienced sitters, the neighborhood has become a forgotten resource.

Use Family and Friends

Sometimes hiring a family member or trusted friend to babysit makes the most sense. While it can be tempting for parents to solely rely on those in their immediate circle to serve as babysitters, having a prescreened pool of candidates they can call on can help take the pressure on family and friends to provide care. Paying or otherwise meeting a need of the family member or friend providing care can help the caregiver not to feel taken advantage of and help to keep the relationship balanced and strong. Swapping childcare responsibilities with another mom or creating a babysitting coop with friends is another way parents can secure occasional childcare from trusted providers.

Think About Church Members

Parents who attend church can recruit sitters from those who attend church with them. For parents who wish to find a sitter who follows the same moral code as them, recruiting sitters from their church body can be a solid option. Older teenagers, youth group leaders, nursery volunteers, and even older adults who enjoy being around children may make suitable caregivers, depending on the family’s caregiving needs.

While there are many ways parents can recruit babysitters, it’s important that parents remember the ultimate hiring decision is theirs alone. Parents should always listen to their gut and pay attention to the feelings they have regarding a potential sitter. And while it’s tempting to take shortcuts, regardless of how parents learn about a sitter it is their responsibility to properly screen her prior to leaving her to care for their children. Parents should check references, verify education and credentials, run a thorough background check, and examine the sitters driving record. The more information parents gather about a potential sitter, the more educated and informed their decision to hire will be.

All About Babysitters FAQ

Babysitters are hired by parents to provide custodial care for the couple’s children. Babysitters may provide full-time, part-time, long-term, short-term, back-up, temporary, or regularly scheduled occasional childcare. While parents typically use babysitters so that they can fulfill their social or personal commitments, some parents use babysitters to meet their long-term childcare needs. Since the type of care a babysitter provides significantly differs from that of a qualified nanny, parents requiring long-term childcare should consider hiring a qualified nanny rather than a babysitter.

What are the Qualifications of a babysitter?

Babysitter is a broad-reaching term that is used to define childcare providers of all skill and experience levels. From the preteen who nervously babysits for the first time for her next-door neighbor to the nanny school graduate who picks up additional hours working for a second family every Saturday night, most anyone and everyone who provides childcare in a private home is labeled a babysitter by most people.

While there are no minimum qualifications for babysitters, parents can certainly set their own standards when it comes to who they hire to care for their children. A mom who needs a caregiver to watch her newborn may require potential caregivers to have previous experience caring for newborns while a mom who needs a caregiver to watch her six-year-old may not.

In addition to loving children, and being trustworthy and responsible, at minimum, a babysitter should have current CPR and first aid certification. Regardless of a babysitter’s age, childcare knowledge, and caregiving skills, all babysitters must be able to keep the children safe and handle an emergency, should one arise. While parents may deem running a background check on the neighborhood teen they’ve watched grow up, running a background check on a potential caregiver is always wise.

If a child has any special needs or health considerations, it’s essential that the caregiver is qualified to provide care for that child and meet that child’s needs. For example, if a child has diabetes, the caregiver should have the necessary knowledge, experience, and skills required to care for a diabetic child.

How do Babsitters Acquire Training?

While most babysitters get their training hands-on or glean their caregiving skills from their mothers, some formal babysitter training programs do exist. The American Red Cross and 4-H are two of the most well-known associations that offer babysitter training programs, although the non-profit organization Safe Sitter is devoted solely to training babysitters. Many local hospitals and YMCAs also offer babysitter training to members of the community. While many babysitting certifications and courses are available on the Internet, it’s important to verify the educator’s credentials and evaluate the course requirements prior to determining its credibility.

What is the Role of a Babysitter?

Babysitters typically provide custodial childcare. Custodial childcare is care that is focused on meeting the children’s immediate needs. Unlike nannies who are concerned with the children’s ongoing physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development and partner with the parents to meet them, babysitters are concerned with meeting the children’s needs in the here and now.

Babysitters also serve as role models to the children in their care. They should use appropriate language and good manners while with the children. Babysitters should also create a safe and nurturing environment for the children that encourages their health and well-being.

Parents who opt to utilize a babysitter for full-time childcare may expect their babysitter to fulfill the role of a nanny, however, if the caregiver does not have the necessary childcare experience, knowledge, and skill set, the quality of care that the child receives will suffer.

Standard Responsibilities of a Babysitter?

Babysitters are primarily concerned with keeping the children safe and well-cared for their parents who are away from the home. Babysitters may play with the children, get the children off of the school bus, supervise them doing homework and prepare meals or snacks for the children.

Since parents depend on babysitters to provide childcare so that they can tend to their personal or social obligations, it’s essential that babysitters show up for their jobs on time.

Babysitters must focus on the children and be attentive to the children’s needs at all times. They should strive to actively engage the children while in their care. It is imperative that the children be their main focus, so babysitters should avoid talking on the phone, texting, and using their personal electronic devices when responsible for the children.

Babysitters must also be able to discipline the children in their care by offering guidance and redirection when appropriate. Babysitters should check with the parents regarding the family’s discipline style and discuss how they wish her to handle inappropriate behavior.

Since babysitters typically provide short-term and occasional childcare for many families, they are usually provided with a list of job-specific responsibilities. These responsibilities may include heating up a prepared dinner, putting the children to bed, and doing the children’s laundry. The babysitter’s responsibilities will always vary based on the family’s childcare needs and the sitter must be able to follow the parent’s instructions and ask follow-up questions if an instruction is unclear.

Reasonable Compensation for a Babysitter?

When it comes to paying a babysitter, parents and sitters typically negotiate the hourly rate and several things can affect what determines a fair rate. Geographical location, the caregiver’s experience, education, skill set, the number of children, and the babysitter’s duties and responsibilities will impact the babysitter’s hourly rate. The more experience and education a babysitter has, the more she’ll be paid.

Some babysitters may be happy to work for minimum wage, while others will expect to be paid $18 or more per hour. A teenage neighbor who is new to babysitting will earn less than a seasoned nanny who picks up babysitting gigs on the side.

Typically since babysitters are occasional workers, they don’t receive employment benefits, however, some parents who hire full-time babysitters may provide some benefits including paid vacation days or paid holidays.

Parents who pay a babysitter more than the annual wage threshold have tax responsibilities. These responsibilities include paying their portion of Social Security and Medicare and paying federal and state unemployment insurance and disability if required by state law. Babysitters are responsible for federal and state income taxes and employee disability or unemployment taxes, if required by state law. Parents are also mandated to withhold the sitter’s portion of Social Security and Medicare. Since babysitters are not independent contractors they must be provided with a W-2 at the end of each year.