Use Online Tools to Find Baby Sitter Jobs

Filed under: Childcare, Baby-sitting

Mother's helper. Credit: Getty Images

Babysitting ain't what it used to be.

Once upon a time, you watched the neighborhood kids and got paid a few bucks for it. Now, it's more like a competitive sport. Preparation, skill and knowledge are at the core of getting and keeping business. Certificates in CPR, first aid and the Heimlich maneuver are de rigueur these days, all of which are easily acquired through neighborhood organizations such as your local Red Cross or YMCA.

And don't be surprised if your potential employer asks for your Social Security number in order to do a background check. That, too, has become par for the course.

A lot has changed in the past five to 10 years, due in part to the proliferation of the Internet. Genevieve Thiers, credited for creating a new industry when she launched Sittercity, in 2001, tells ParentDish the Internet is like the town employer, and says baby sitters seeking work would be remiss not to use it to their advantage.

There are numerous sites on which to advertise baby-sitting services, as well as find available jobs, including Sittercity.com, care.com and 4sitters.com.

It's wise to arrive at any interview armed with a list of questions. For starters, ask about the kids' likes and dislikes, any medical conditions or allergies and house rules, such as bedtime and TV or computer use. Sittercity has a comprehensive list of questions in its Baby-sitting Library.

Now, what to charge? That's a difficult subject for most people. Thiers tells ParentDish in a phone interview that it's good to have data before you disclose your rate. For example, what's the going rate in your neighborhood for someone your age and with similar experience?

Also, are you in or near a metro area? If so, that affects the rate, as well. A great resource is Sittercity's rate calculator, which asks for your ZIP code, number of children, age of the sitter and years of experience. Advanced features take additional factors into consideration, such as the age of the children, whether it's an overnight job or if a child has special needs.
Caregiver profiles on Sittercity start at age 18. If you're between the ages of 12 and 18, Thiers recommends you find work by talking to your parents' friends, as well as seeking out other personal networks such as church, synagogue or even your school's PTA. You can also create fliers and post them wherever local parents spend time: coffee shops, fitness centers, grocery stores, etc.

If you've never baby-sat before, you might want to start out as a mother's helper. Thiers describes it as a young sitter-in-training, where you watch the kids while the child's parent is also there.
If you have strong skills in a particular subject such as math or science, be sure to advertise them, as you can parlay them into a hybrid position of babysitter/tutor, which will enable you to charge a higher hourly rate.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.