Babysitter needed ASAP?

Written by: Kayme Pumphrey

“I need a babysitter now!” Does that sound familiar to you?  If you dream about date nights or simply a solo trip to the grocery store, the info  below will help you  make the best decision about occasional or part-time childcare for your family.

Know Who You Are Working With

Ensuring the safety of your kiddos is of utmost importance, so babysitters should be screened just as you would a nanny or daycare provider.  Even if they are only responsible for the care of your children for a few hours, you want to be comfortable with their background and fit. Here are some tips:

  • Vet your babysitters – interview candidates, schedule a play date, run a background check (national and county), and call references.
  • Come up with interview questions that are specific to your family.
  • Find out about a potential babysitter’s experience with other families and matters such as lessons they learned, typical activities they engaged the child(ren) with, additional duties, etc.
  • Ask for non-family references.  If they do not have references, move on!
  • Do not rely on database-driven background checks.
  • Check at least one government issued form of identification.

Form Your A Team

Babysitting needs are often unpredictable, so work towards having several qualified and trustworthy sitters at your disposal.  Aim to have several quality babysitters versus working with one person solely because they have a flexible schedule.

Babysitters Aren’t “One Size Fits All”

Before hiring a babysitter, decide what things are most important.  Your family is unique and your best friends’ babysitter may not fit your needs.  Based on your schedule and family dynamic (organized/active/noisy/cheerful/quiet), find a sitter that fits for you.


To have a healthy relationship with your sitter, it is important to demonstrate respect for the work they do on behalf of your family.

  • Consider a payment minimum for each babysitting request.
  • Provide lunch items and inquire as to favorite snacks/beverages.
  • Arrive home on time. If early dismissal is common or if cancellations are frequent, consider compensating for the babysitter’s expected, and then lost, wages.

Babysitters Are Not Nannies

  • Although most babysitters are happy to provide additional help when needed (especially if compensated), their focus is largely the kids.  That said, you should return home to a clean home (at least as clean as you left it) and dry diapers.
  • Babysitters are paid an hourly rate.  In the city, depending on the number of children, expectations, etc., the average hourly rate is between $11 and $16.
  • Babysitters typically are not paid for holidays or sick days, but reimbursement for gas and a ride home/contribution towards cab fare is standard.
  • A contract isn’t necessary, but do provide your babysitter with a list of expectations – from emptying the diaper genie to television guidelines.

Using An Agency

If you decide to use an agency, talk to friends and neighbors and ask lots of questions, particularly for proof of licensing.  Agencies should be licensed to conduct business by the city, but should also be certified as a Private Employment Agency by the State.

Visit K Grace Childcare to learn more! Our NPN Parent Perk expires Sept. 30, 2011.

UPCOMING EVENT: For more info on navigating the world of babysitting, register for one of Kayme Pumphrey’s Babysitting Basics Workshops hosted by Urba BabyRegistration is currently open for July 21 at 10:30 am and 11:30 am.  

Posted on July 17, 2011 at 6:35 PM