Finding a Reliable Sitter

As a single mama, ‘me’ time is difficult to come by, but very important. Over the last year I have thankfully found a group of very reliable sitters who I trust my son with completely. I ran trials with multiple sitters, and finally narrowed my group of trusted sitters down to four.

Finding a Reliable Sitter

Image by Jean Tessier under Creative Commons License

The following are the things I looked for during my trials:

  • How did the sitter react when they arrived? Did they immediately get on the floor to play with Little Man, or sit on the couch to watch?
  • How inquisitive were they? Did the ask about bedtime routines, favorite cup, tricks to make him comfortable, etc?
  • Did they have a phone? (I had one sitter show up without a cell phone, if something happened, how would they reach me?)
  • What was the state of my home when I returned? I didn’t expect any non-child related cleaning, but if Little Man had been asleep for three hours, and there were still 100 duplo blocks strewn across the floor, a sippy cup of half curdled milk on the counter, and ketchup from dinner still out on the counter, I would have been a little less than pleased.
  • How did they respond to the question, “How did he do?” A simple “Fine” is not quite what I’m looking for. What time did he go to bed, did he eat dinner, did he resist bedtime, etc, is information I find helpful.
  • Availability. I don’t care if you are the baby whisperer, if you are only available one night every 16 months, we probably won’t work well together.

So, where did I find the sitters for these trials?

  • Sittercity. I find that there is more volume shortly before and after school semesters start. I live near a handful of colleges. When students return, they are usually looking for side jobs, and most have evenings free. The site is easy to navigate, and previous parents are able to leave reviews, which is super helpful. I also enjoyed that the sitter lists their availability. I know before we even set up a trial if they have a schedule compatible with mine.

Finding a Reliable Sitter, sittercity.com

  • Daycare teachers. (Disclaimer- before you approach a teacher, make sure you ask the office if they have a policy on teachers sitting for families. My daycare fully supports it, however a friend was telling me her center has a policy against it). I like the fact that teachers from his center know him, and see him everyday. There is no ‘warmup’ time. They are more familiar with his quirks. Only downside is if there is an awkward encounter at home, you still have to see them every day! For this reason, I only use teachers from his previous room, I will not ask any of his current teachers.
  • Word of mouth. Ask your friends if they have an amazing sitter they may be able to pass your information along to.  Upside, you can get the down low from your friend on rates, availability, reliability, etc. Downside, watch out for conflict if for some reason you’re both looking for a sitter for the same night.
  • Craigslist. I put this here for the sole purpose of saying don’t. Please don’t! I had the most uncomfortable replies to my posting. It’s worth the few extra dollars to go to a reliable site like Sittercity where there are screened, experienced sitters.

Show SitterCity some love and check them out!


2 Responses to Finding a Reliable Sitter

  1. Great advice, thanks for sharing. A few of your tips I wouldn’t have thought of.

  2. Pingback: (AV)Ask the Mamas: Finding a Babysitter Mama Say What?! | Mama Say What?!

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