Kids going back to school soon? Scrambling to figure out who will pick them up while you're at work, or what they’ll do when they get home? Consider hiring a regular part-time babysitter! As the academic year ramps back up, now is the perfect time to find after-school childcare professionals.
However, it’s important to make sure you land the right babysitter. You need to assess the qualifications of your babysitter to make sure your child is in the hands of someone competent and safe. Performing a thorough background check on your potential for babysitter or nanny can help ensure your child’s safety, as well as some other considerations you should keep front of mind.
Five Considerations When Looking for an After-School Babysitter
After-school babysitters have unique responsibilities their more temporary colleagues don’t have to deal with. Beyond looking after your kids while you’re away, they need to transport them from school to your home or after-school activities and help them with their homework. As such, you might need to take a few extra steps during the evaluation and hiring process.
Among the biggest differences between a babysitter and a nanny is their schedule — nannies often stay for extended periods of time, whereas some babysitters might not be equipped for lengthy work hours.
Keeping this in mind, be sure to set a clear schedule for your after-school sitter. Let them know what time you expect them to pick your kids up from school and how long you’ll need them for. If you have an erratic work schedule, you may also need to discuss whether they are comfortable with staying late from time to time. Know exactly what your prospective sitter’s availability is like so you can accurately gauge whether they will be able to meet your needs.
Choosing a babysitter who lives near your home is worth considering if you need after-school childcare. If, for instance, you live in South Park Hill, you may want to look for a babysitter in Denver rather than expanding your search to nearby cities. This ensures your sitter can pick up your kids on time and have no trouble getting home if they end up staying late.
Additionally, a local babysitter will most likely already be familiar with your neighborhood. They will not only know where to take your kids for fun but also where the nearest hospitals and pharmacies are in case of emergencies.
3. Capacity to Drive
Will your babysitter be picking up your kids by car? If so, there are some precautionary measures you may want to take to ensure your child’s safety. These include:
- Looking up your sitter’s DMV records: This lets you verify whether their driver’s license is up-to-date and if they have previous accidents, traffic violations, or DUI records.
- Checking their vehicle’s condition: If you expect them to use their own car, you can consider asking them to take it to an auto shop you trust for a complete inspection.
- Setting driving rules: These include everything from not using their phone while driving to obeying speed limits when your kids are in the car.
- Creating a reimbursement arrangement: As you negotiate your sitter’s rates, you will also need to discuss reimbursements for gas and parking.
4. Willingness to Meal Prep
There is nothing easy about making nutritious meals for kids. If you expect your sitters to help out with preparing meals, you may want to ask them whether they can first! If not, you can always stock up on healthy snacks and meals ahead of time.
Provide your babysitter with guidelines on what diet you want your kids to have. Give them a list of foods to avoid or limit, as well as your preferred alternatives, and flag any food allergies to prevent untoward incidents.
5. Background Checks / Vetting
One of the most critical steps in the babysitter hiring process is the background check. After all, you wouldn’t want to entrust your child to someone who is a potential safety risk! Perhaps the easiest way to start this is by talking with friends who have previously hired the sitter or contacting their references. But this information should be reinforced by checking their professional background, verifying their identity, as well as conducting criminal searches.
However, the amount of legwork needed to perform these can be a handful, which is why many parents don’t do background checks. To simplify the process, consider partnering with leading babysitting applications and websites that have the resources and experience to thoroughly vet applicants. For instance, StayCare by Nanno leverages an elaborate babysitting vetting process covering everything from verifying a sitter’s certifications to whether they show up on criminal and sex offender searches.
How to Find a Babysitter Locally
Finding local babysitters is easier than you think. Consider avenues like:
- Nanny placement agencies: Professional agencies can tap into their network of sitters, perform necessary assessments, and negotiate rates for you. This makes them a convenient option for busy parents. However, it is important to note that these services can sometimes be pricey.
- Caregiver listing sites: If you have time to spare, listing sites are worth checking out. These databases let you browse for sitters according to job experience, skills, and rates. Just make sure to check if the site conducts prescreening to ensure you hire reliable, trustworthy professionals.
- A sitter app: The rise of on-demand applications has given birth to babysitting apps that give parents easy access to vetted childcare experts. For example, Nanno has a great Find a Babysitter Near Me tool that lets you hire sitters within 20 miles of your ZIP code.
- Local job boards: Whether online or at your community center, local job boards allow you to find available sitters within your neighborhood. However, you may need to set aside some time to thoroughly screen these listings and conduct interviews.
- Referrals from fellow parents in the area: The moms and dads on your street or at your child’s school district probably have their fair share of experiences with local sitters. They are bound to have some valuable insights as to where you can start your search.
Hire the Best After-School Babysitter for Your Child
Having the right after-school babysitter can make all the difference for your child’s well-being. Not only do they ensure that your kids get home safely—but they also keep your kids occupied with enriching activities and help with homework while you’re busy at work. However, finding sitters that get along with your kids and meet your requirements can be a daunting task.
This is where services like StayCare by Nanno come in handy. With their network of more than 25,000 sitters and nannies, finding a babysitter for after-school care and other long-term childcare arrangements is a breeze. All you need to do is take their quick onboarding quiz so they know what you’re looking for. They will then match you with at least three sitters who have cleared an extensive four-step background check process. From here, you can interview candidates until you decide who to hire. They can even help you with schedule management and payment processing! With these services and resources, you can ensure you get the best after-school babysitter for your child, in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible.