UrbanSitter: Babysitter Searching Simplified

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Back-to-school season may give parents hope of life getting back to normal, but once the extracurricular activities and scheduling conflicts start to pile up, it will be an after-school babysitter to the rescue.

Here are some tips for finding the perfect helper. After deciding between a high-school-aged sitter who is free on weekends, a college-aged sitter to cover afternoons, or a nanny who can handle a more demanding schedule, narrow down the required tasks, such as driving, cooking or homework help.

“When considering a caregiver’s experience, make sure that they have experience with children your child’s age,” says Lynn Perkins, CEO and cofounder of UrbanSitter, a website and app that helps parents find, book and pay trusted sitters by tapping into their personal network of friends, neighbors and parents from school. “A nanny with 20 years of experience working with infants may not be the best fit for your preschool-aged children.”

Where is the best place to find a sitter? Depending on the kind of sitter, check local colleges, neighborhood helpers, or online job posting sites such as UrbanSitter.

UrbanSitter makes it easier than ever for parents seeking childcare for anything from date nights to full-time care. When parents need a last-minute sitter, UrbanSitter comes to the rescue with average response times under three minutes. With more than one million registered users in more than 50 cities, UrbanSitter is solving the childcare dilemma for families everywhere.

Sitter rates on Long Island depend on the number of children as well as the kind of work provided. Average hourly rates are around $16.17 for one child, $19.29 for two children, and $20.40 for three kids. When it comes down to choosing the best candidate, sites such as UrbanSitter offer interview questions to help narrow it down. Sample questions include:

“What is your childcare background?”

“Are you CPR certified?”

“What kinds of games can you play with my children?”

“How would you discipline my children?”

Perkins also suggests interviewing a potential sitter’s references.

“Ask about the age of the kids watched, day-to-day responsibilities and length of the job,” she says. “At the end of a reference call I always like to end with … ‘If you could provide one anonymous piece of feedback, what would it be?’ This is a good way to find out about any habits such as showing up late or using their phone frequently that you may not be comfortable with.”

Consider talking to potential caregivers through a phone or in-person interview, or even a paid, working interview to monitor how the sitter works with kids. To close the deal, ask what the sitter is looking for. What makes them enjoy the job?

For more information, visit urbansitter.com