How to Find and Keep a Great Babysitter

Date night, weekly errands, last minute stress breaks, and necessary appointments all may require the assistance of a babysitter. However, finding a great babysitter is not necessarily an easy task. There are several great resources to find a babysitter who can be trusted, but how can a person retain that particular babysitter?

The first rule to babysitting seems to be “show me the money.” While a babysitter may be flexible with hours and pay; she really needs to be paid accordingly. For instance, some sitters will require more money per hour if they are only keeping one child.

If a babysitter charges a parent $10 an hour for three to four children, then she may ask for $5 an hour for keeping just one child. Why the discrepancy? Babysitters like to be appreciated and know that their time is valuable to the parent. Therefore, they will charge less for keeping multiple children, but raise their rate for keeping only one or two.

Keeping a Consistent Babysitter

Flexibility, caring, and creating incentives are keys to keeping a consistent sitter. There are many ways to find a great babysitter. There is advertising, newspaper ads, calling a local alumni College office to post an ad, neighborhood flyers, word of mouth, and the sitter agencies. No matter what resource is used to find a dependable sitter, keeping her is the priority for any parent.

Offering bonuses and keeping track of important dates such as the sitter’s birthday allows the sitter to realize that she is valued and appreciated. If a sitter is valued and receives Christmas and birthday presents, she is more likely to keep working for the same family.

If a parent works directly with the sitter’s schedule and is flexible with sitting requests then the sitter will also work within the parent’s timeframe. If a parent feels comfortable with the sitter and the kids approve of the sitter; then all efforts to maintain that particular sitter should be employed.

For instance, a sitter is a college student and has class at night, that parent should ask in advance what days the sitter is willing to work and maintain that schedule. If that parent has specific needs that need to be addressed then the sitter could change her class schedule the following semester to be more flexible to those needs.

Treating a Sitter With Care

Make Them Comfortable

Once a great sitter is found, the parents should make every effort to make sure that the sitter is comfortable in their home.

Keeping drinks or favorite foods available for a sitter are great considerations. Making sure that there are easy to prepare meals for the children are also a great help. Keeping in mind that the sitter is there to make a parent’s life easier should be a primary concern. Therefore, anything that a parent is capable of doing to assist the sitter in caring for the child is valuable.

Talk with Them

Keeping an open line of communication is also appreciated by a sitter. A sitter should care about the children she is taking care of and act responsibly and accordingly. It is important that a parent listens and implement behavioral changes noted by a sitter.

If a sitter does not feel that a parent is listening to her concerns, she is likely to stop working for that parent. Often, no reason is given, and she simply seems to be unavailable to the parent. If there is a problem that is important enough to be addressed; then the parents should take it upon themselves to correct the issue.

Make Your Babysitter Feel Valued

Parents usually will only be able to keep a babysitter as long as she is available, and as long as she feels valued. If parents need extra assistance, such as house cleaning, they should ask the sitter and offer extra money to her for completing such tasks. More often than not, she will be happy to help and will appreciate the extra income.


Honesty is always the best policy. Parents expect honesty and responsibility from a sitter. Therefore, they must be held to the same standards. If a parent gives a time of arrival, he should consistently be punctual. While a sitter may not mind a few minutes early or late; parents who are consistently not on time will scare away most sitters.

Joscelyn Booker