Confessions of a babysitter
Written by: Jenny Rowland
Chicago-based artist and teacher Angela Oliver has over seven years of experience babysitting kids. Since joining UrbanSitter, an online babysitter-finding service, she’s sat for more than 35 families and has over 20 glowing reviews. Here, Angela answers the most common questions parents have when it comes to hiring a babysitter.
What’s the most helpful information a parent can share in advance?
First-aid and medical/emergency info and contacts, being made aware of any food allergies or ongoing healthcare needs are the most important bits of information. For infants, an overview of the baby’s daily routine is always helpful to know in advance—naptime routine and self-soothing, feedings, or special instructions for diapering.
What do you usually eat on the job? When parents say “help yourself,” do you really help yourself?
I usually make or order a sandwich—I like to keep meals simple whenever I babysit so I can be more readily available to respond to the child if they need me. I think “help yourself” means help yourself, but not to everything!
How much do you charge per hour for overnights?
I’ve yet to work an overnight shift, but typical overnight Chicago flat rates run from $75 to $100 from 10pm to 6am.
What do you do when the kids are asleep?
I tidy up the house and prep for the child’s next meal if needed. If the child is still down for a nap or sleeping for the night, I may watch a movie if it’s been okayed by the child’s parents, or read and catch up on lesson planning.
Do most parents tip you on top of your babysitting fees?
Sometimes, but not often. I’m OK with that, though.
Do most parents offer you transportation home?
Most parents will offer me an Uber ride home whenever the job ends after 10pm.
If you could share any piece of advice to parents, what would it be?
Make sure sitters that are new to your family know how to unfold your stroller, strap up your baby carrier, adjust your high-chair, and properly use any other child safety product or feature in your home. For instance, that magnetic child-proof lock that keeps your cleaning supplies out of your toddler’s reach—your sitter might need to help tidy up after the kids later. Doing a quick how-to demo before you leave might save you a lot of back-and-forth texting with your new sitter later.
You can find Angela—and more great babysitters like her—by signing up for a free account at UrbanSitter. Get a free month of unlimited sitter access and find sitters over 500 NPN families use and like at: https://www.urbansitter.com/promo/npn.