Meet Mara: Babysitter and Future Genetic Counselor!


Mara has been working with kids and families since she was in middle school so it comes as no surprise that she’s now pursuing a career in genetic counseling, where she’ll be able to help people each and every day. Since joining UrbanSitter in 2012 Mara has sat for around 100 different families, and says that babysitting has provided her with income while still allowing her to keep a schedule flexible enough for school, volunteering, and applying to a Masters program.

Here, Mara shares with us a little bit more about her life, her adventures in babysitting, and what she plans on doing in the future.  

How did you get started as a babysitter?
I grew up in a suburb of San Francisco in a neighborhood that had four cul de sacs that were connected, so it was a pretty good place to find babysitting jobs because there were a lot of families. I don’t remember how I got into babysitting exactly, if I decided if I was old enough or if a neighbor approached me.

We had this little newsletter for our neighborhood and it showed which families were in which houses and listed the names of the kids who lived in the houses, too. The kids’ names had boxes next to them that said whether or not they were willing to do yard work or babysitting or things like that.

I made $4/hour to start, as a Mother’s Helper. I was pretty bad at it, because the mom was working at home, and so the kids would just go bother her. And then I’d come home with my $12 dollars in my hand, but you have to start somewhere!

How did your babysitting career advance after that?
I wanted to do more babysitting as I got a little bit older. I took a class about babysitting at the local community center and of course got CPR certified. In high school I went around my neighborhood with flyers and knocking on doors and got a regular babysitting job out of that, that I had throughout high school and my first year of college.

I also took a gap year and was an au pair in Switzerland for 10 months. I went to the  German-speaking part of Switzerland and couldn’t even count to ten in German when I got there, but I picked it up. I was so excited about it that I went with the very first family who chose me (I applied through an online service not an agency) and just said “Yes! I will be your au pair!”

How did you first get started on UrbanSitter?
I’ve been on UrbanSitter for four and a half years, and it was pretty small when I started. I remember that somebody contacted me for a phone interview, and I remember being in a parking lot walking to my car and I got this call from a woman with a really beautiful Irish accent. Both parents were from Europe and the dad was working as a postdoc at UC Berkeley, they didn’t have any family in the area and hadn’t had a date night in forever.

It was a good start because they were a really nice family and just so appreciative. Their little girl was adorable. They gave me a good review and then someone else booked me. So [my time on UrbanSitter] started out slow, but it picked up from there.

You’re studying genetic counseling now, can you tell us a little bit about that?
A genetic counselor talks to people who might be at risk for hereditary medical conditions. Like cancer for example, if a person has a strong family history of cancer they’ll talk to a genetic counselor and decide whether or not to do specific testing to see if they have that genetic predisposition. Genetic counselors also meet with people planning a pregnancy or who are currently pregnant to provide information and counseling about any health problems that run in the family as well as about prenatal testing options.

Has babysitting had any effect on your choice to pursue genetic counseling?
In genetic counseling you’re working with a lot of different people, people trying to plan a family or start a family. And in my babysitting adventures each family is different, with different personalities, and I’ve always found that pretty interesting. In the field of genetic counseling I’ll get to continue to meet different people and work with different people, and I think it’s good to have a foundation in that already.

There’s a particular family that I work for regularly that goes out a lot. They were so, so supportive about this particular application process [for my Master’s program]. They would give me advice and try to help out. It’s a pretty competitive program that I was applying for, so I was very stressed. The dad’s sister is actually a genetic counselor and so he set up a meeting for us, and she gave me really helpful advice and support.  The kid is so great, too, she’s always cheerful and runs to the door when I get there – now that I’ve started graduate school, I find babysitting is a good way to relieve stress!

Babysitting has been really helpful, because I had to do a lot of volunteering to be accepted into the Master’s program that I’m in now. I’ve been preparing for this program for three years. In July of last year, I left my job at Children’s Hospital to be able to take on more volunteering, and an internship, and to take more classes. So babysitting was all of my income, and it let me be flexible.

Saturday night to me is like babysitting night. I think I’ve worked the majority of Saturdays in the last year. And that has really allowed me to support myself in this last year of preparation for the program. UrbanSitter was so helpful because I know I wouldn’t have found as many jobs as I did without it.

Sign up to be a babysitter today at!


Meet Kate Talbot: Successful Author, Content Creator, and Digital Strategist… and an UrbanSitter Babysitter!


Kate Talbot has built her successful career by using digital storytelling to empower communities at brands like Kiva and Virgin America, as well as scale early-stage startups for growth. In her free time, she writes for online publications like Social Media Examiner and KISSmetrics, educating small business owners and entrepreneurs on how to successfully use millennial social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat to build their brands. Recently, she published a book on the topic of Snapchat Marketing. Of course, like any city girl she was at the Dry Bar downtown on a recent Monday morning getting glam for an important event and ran into UrbanSitter CEO Lynn Perkins (whom she babysat for years back) and they got to chatting…

Here, Kate shares with us her experiences with UrbanSitter, what it’s been like having written a successful book, and more insight into her career and life.

Can you tell us a little bit about how you know UrbanSitter CEO and Co-Founder, Lynn?
For me, I am all about the side hustle. SF is expensive and any avenue in which you can use technology to create multiple revenue streams is important. My girlfriends and I (as many of us) have babysat since our tween years, and after business school in 2012 we all signed up for UrbanSitter. This was a great way to supplement our job incomes off the bat.

I learned from my friend Lisa, who is a babysitting all-star, that the best way to build your babysitting profile is to reply to jobs right away and babysit on a Saturday night. From doing so, I ended up replying fast to a query and booked a job during the 2013 holiday season for Lynn. I had a wonderful time babysitting for her son and she was highly supportive of my own story and helping me succeed. We connected on LinkedIn, and I always loved following all the news about UrbanSitter; especially this amazing feature in the First Round Review on Lynn and UrbanSitter.

As fate happens, I ended up running marketing for a First Round Capital companywhich also funds UrbanSitter—so at a dinner roundtable I met Daisy [Downs, Co-Founder of UrbanSitter] too! I let the other attendees know that even though I was in the tech space, I also was an UrbanSitter babysitter, which delighted everyone.

You mentioned going to business school, where did you study?
I went to the University of San Francisco, where I focused on Marketing and Entrepreneurship.

I grew up in Moraga in the East Bay —I have lived in New York City, too—but I knew I wanted to be in the Bay Area long-term. My dad and brother both went to USF for law school, so I knew I’d be getting a great education.

Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re doing now?
I have my own consulting firm where I lead growth marketing for early stage startups—whether that’s influencer marketing tools or cybersecurity technology—it really runs the gamut but I love it all.

I also write on the side. I do that because it’s a passion of mine.

In fact, when I babysat I am able to write when the kids are asleep. One of my favorite articles I wrote on Snapchat was written in a Pacific Heights apartment overlooking the Bay, while babysitting for a great family.

You just wrote and published a book about Snapchat, what was the process like?
I combined the writing which was already published on the topic and leveraged my community. I’m extremely fortunate to have contacts across all industries at big brands and media entities, and they were able to provide case study insights into their own execution of the platform. My mentor, a VC from Onset Ventures, who encouraged me to write the book, wrote the foreword about the future of enterprise marketing and Snapchat.

I also mentor at Stanford for an undergraduate course in media and technology. From this class, I was able to hire a recent graduate to design all the creative assets. That was probably my favorite part, because we had so much fun thinking outside the box and what would help the audience understand the platform from a visual perspective.

What interested you about Snapchat enough to write about it ?
I’ve always been really in tune with the millennial, and now Gen Y, audience on what the next trends will be. As a user myself and talking with my 22-year-old god-sister and her friends, I realized the power of Snapchat as an authentic way of telling stories and connecting with friends. Since I’d already been writing about social media for Social Media Examiner, I pitched the topic of Snapchat for Business. I was one of the first writers to do so, and it’s led to amazing opportunities speaking at business schools and conferences. I figured next steps, why not write a book!  

What has the reception been like for your book?
It did amazingly well! I felt so thankful for my community that downloaded it. During the 5-day free promotion, it went to the #2 spot in all of Business Marketing and Sales on Amazon. It was also #1 on Amazon for Advertising and Professional Development and #1 on Product Hunt books.

To wrap up: If you could give advice to sitters using the service, what would it be?
My advice would be to think of your profile as a personal brand. Fill out your profile in the best light possible. Also, remember parents are really looking forward to their date night or event they are off to, so be as professional as possible and always make sure you are doing your best! I know it can be tough sometimes, but keep trying to babysit more and more even if you get overwhelmed.

Babysitting in SF is a great way to explore the different neighborhoods—I didn’t know about all the parks that were out there—and connect with the families! If I hadn’t followed up with Lynn, I wouldn’t be in this position. You never know what will happen!

You can pick up a copy of Kate’s book, Oh, Snap! You Can Use Snapchat for Business, on Amazon, follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and see more of her work on her website at


Meet Katie: Nurse Practitioner, Hockey Fan, & Babysitter

Katie Bell

As a pediatric nurse practitioner at the top hospital in the US, Katie makes her living helping children. Since joining UrbanSitter in 2015, she’s expanded her services to include babysitting for some of Boston’s coolest families. A lifelong Chicago Blackhawks fan, she says she uses her own passion for sports as a tool for connecting with new families and kids, and loves babysitting because of the lasting relationships she builds with families.

A Chicago-native, Katie recently moved to Boston to attend graduate school. Here, she tells us more about her life as a nurse practitioner, her passion for helping others, and what she loves about living in Boston.

You’re from Chicago originally. What brought you to Boston?
I came out here to go to grad school at Boston College, where I studied pediatric nursing.

Tell us a little bit about your work as a nurse.
I’m on the inpatient general surgery service as a nurse practitioner, and I manage children ranging in age from hours old to well into their 20s. Patients come from all over the world to have the surgeries that our hospital offers. My job mostly entails before and after surgery; getting patients prepared for the operation and making sure they are healing appropriately afterwards. At the end of the day, you have this goal of doing something good and changing a child’s life for the better. It can be hard, but it’s also really rewarding.

As a pediatric nurse and a babysitter, what is your schedule like?
I work four shifts of ten hours a week and then every fifth weekend, so I have random periods free time during the week. I have a lot of families that I sit for regularly, and I’ll send them my work schedule and they’ll work around it. A lot of families I babysit are not typical 9-5 families; they’re doctors or lawyers and so the changing hours work for both of us.

Can you tell us a little bit about some of the families you sit for?
Boston is such a big city and so the families you meet are all very unique. I have babysat for dozens of families in Boston; some just once and some regularly. I’ve built relationships with parents who are professors, prosecutors, doctors, stay at home moms, and families traveling together for vacation or business who need a break from their kids.

Each family is unique and I enjoy the challenge of having to adapt to each family. I have one family that doesn’t even have a TV and another family that is fine with just giving the kids the iPad and letting them entertain themselves.

How did you first get into babysitting?
I was probably 12 when my neighbors asked if I could watch their kids for a few hours. I did it all through high school, and it was never about the money but more about helping out families that I knew. I’ve always loved kids! I was also a hockey coach in Chicago. I had a family that I met when coaching hockey and I loved the kids so much that I would have offered to sit for that family for free.

How did you first discover UrbanSitter?
When I was in grad school, I chose not to work. So when I graduated it was top of my list to get back into babysitting. Before I sat for my nurse practitioner boards, I was working at a prep school summer camp and one of the girls working there told me, “You have to get on UrbanSitter!” I’ve been using it for about a year now. I babysit maybe 3-4 times a week, and I make enough that I can afford the monthly payments on my student loans.

What do you do in your spare time?
We live right in the heart of downtown Boston, which I think is so fun. Being able to afford to live in the middle of the city and experiencing everything here is so great. My girlfriend and I also travel a lot, which we’re very fortunate to do. We’ll go skydiving, book an impromptu trip in Europe, or jump on a flight to visit friends across the US. We figure, why not do the fun stuff now?

From Portland to San Francisco: Meet Katherine, A Part-Time Babysitter and Nanny

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Portland-native turned San Francisco-transplant Katherine describes childcare as her “absolute passion.”  She’s been a sitter and nanny on UrbanSitter for the past four years, using babysitting as a way to help her pay her way through college, and has done everything from overnight sitting jobs to traveling internationally with families. She’s worked with over 100 different families in the San Francisco Bay Area, and now nannies part-time for a family with a young daughter.

Katherine graduated from the University of San Francisco with a degree in Media Studies in June and recently joined the UrbanSitter corporate team as a summer intern! Here, she shares a little bit more about her life, time as a babysitter, and experience with UrbanSitter.

When did you first start babysitting?
I started working with kids in high school, as a mother’s helper and teaching Sunday school at my church. When I went into college I didn’t think childcare would be my passion as much as it is has become. I moved from Portland to San Francisco to attend USF, and didn’t start to babysit again until my sophomore year. And it just captured my heart. I was studying Media Studies at the time, and I added Child & Youth Studies as a minor.

How did you discover UrbanSitter?
I found all of my college babysitting jobs via UrbanSitter. I was in a Lyft one day, talking to my driver about my life. I didn’t know if my studies we’re taking me in the right direction, and the driver happened to tell me about UrbanSitter and I signed up. The first family that booked me hired me because I speak French, and from there on [UrbanSitter] felt like home. It felt really intimate and wasn’t a faceless, soulless retail job. It was the best thing, it was like coming home.

What has your experience been like as a sitter on UrbanSitter?
For a lot of college students, the opportunity to shape their own lives is not always afforded to them. So to have the resource of UrbanSitter has been confidence building in a lot of ways, it’s like being my own boss. And the families are so incredibly generous with me, beyond even words. I’ve been able to pay my way through college because of the families [I’ve met on UrbanSitter]. They’ve been so supportive of my college career, as far as working with my schedule, giving me advice, and just supporting me in every way.

What’s the most rewarding thing for you personally about working in childcare?
I really prefer to form relationships with families and with kids, and so it’s rewarding both for myself and for the kids and the families. The family that I work for now, I started when their daughter was 6 weeks old and now she’s turning two, and she continually surprises me and just gets better and better. There are so many things that I could never have predicted about [the child I nanny], that are solely her own making. And so to be an observer of that, fulfills my soul in so many ways. To see the personality traits that are so uniquely her is so special. It gets to be my job that I get to nurture somebody and be a part of somebody’s family. It’s wonderful.

The bonds I have with my bosses just get deeper and deeper, and I don’t feel like an employee but like a member of the family. It’s beyond words. I get to go on vacation with them, I eat all my meals at their house. I get paid for something that I love doing. It’s actually a career for me.

What’s the hardest thing for you about working in childcare?
It’s definitely hard when families move away. It’s hard to emotionally handle it when you’re attached to the children and the family.

What would you consider your philosophy as a nanny/sitter?
My childcare philosophy is somewhat influenced by how I grew up, I went to Waldorf school for the first 8 years of my life. As I was going through college, I decided to take some classes in RIE parenting (Resources for Infant Educarers). I’m a huge fan of it. As far as child care goes, I’m a firm believer in saying ‘no,’ though I wouldn’t never say ‘no’ without a reason. Instead of saying, ‘Don’t touch the stove’ I’ll say, ‘Don’t touch the stove, because the stove is hot’ or that sort of thing. I think discipline is very important to teach children, but I never want to force my opinion on a child. RIE is really about respecting the child, and I like that.

Tell us a little bit about your own childhood.
I’m from Portland, Oregon and we spoke french in my home growing up because my dad is french. I had a really happy childhood. Portland is a really incredible place to grow up, because the people are really, truly kind. I have a really wonderful relationship with my parents and my brother who is six years younger than me.

When you aren’t babysitting, what do you like to do?
Ride my bike! Portland is a pretty bike friendly city, and my parents are avid bikers. My dad built a beautiful bicycle for my mom as a wedding present, so I inherited that when I moved down to San Francisco. Now I bike in Marin and the East Bay. I just love it.

Profiles of Childhood: Rachel Policar, Opera Singer and Sitter, New York, NY

Policar poses in the trees beside the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center


As told to Lela Nargi

“I grew up in a town called Issaquah, WA, 20 miles east of Seattle. Then I went to Arizona State University for my undergraduate degrees in vocal performance and musical theater before moving to New York five years ago.

Now I am a coloratura soprano, which is a classification of soprano that sings a high and fast repertoire. It’s a little bit challenging because you’re expected to be perfect at all times, so it requires a tremendous amount of dedication and practice and time spent learning and working on your craft. But I love it, and it allows me to play a lot of fun roles.

I just sang my first Gilda in Rigoletto by Verdi this summer. She’s more of a lyric soprano but she has some coloratura elements to her, and that stretched me out as a singer and gave me a whole new bag of tricks to pull from. I’ll be doing my fourth Gretel this January with the Knoxville Opera’s outreach program. I get hired more often than not to play very young girls, because I don’t look super old and I’m on the small side. I love playing children. It helps me relate to the children I babysit for, and they love when I show them pictures of myself in costume as a little girl. They think that’s the coolest thing they’ve ever seen.

Upon request, I’ve shown a couple of my kids YouTube videos of me singing. One little girl I babysit for regularly was obsessed with a recording I have of West Side Story and insisted that we sing together. Her mother asked me recently if I teach voice, and that would be the ultimate reward for me—to take a child I’ve babysat for and introduce her to the world I live in most of the time.

Mostly, though, kids have a lot of questions about opera singing. The number one question hands-down is: Can you break a glass with your voice? It’s actually very difficult to do that; you have to sing a really high note very loudly. I can’t do it yet, but maybe someday! Then they ask me how I make so much sound come out of my mouth. They ask me a lot of questions about costumes, and they want to know everything about opera, which is great. I like to think I’m building the next generation of opera lovers.

My first teacher, Phyllis Peterson, was 80 years old when I met her. She had fire engine red hair, and she was about 5’1”—a tiny powerhouse. Her energy and smarts, especially when she was telling me stories about her amazing life and career, made me feel like I was part of something special. She encouraged me to try things I wouldn’t necessarily have wanted to do on my own and helped me to find myself. Her passion was inspiring. And I’ve come to realize that what I’m able to do really is special.

Being in a creative field, opera singers are by nature emotional beings and very in touch with what we’re thinking and feeling—in much the same way that a child is. Children have this wonderful innocence and generosity; they’re not afraid to share with you everything that’s going on. Singers have so much of that in what we do, too, and I love that kind of interaction with the kids I babysit for. I also love playing games with them. Inevitably, I’ll be shocked by something they’ve thought up, and frustrated and challenged. It opens your imagination to be able to relate to kids on that level and not have that fear of judgment. I’m not afraid to get on the floor and roll around.

You have to be physically fit to have the stamina to make it through an opera. Your vocal chords are two little muscle membranes that sit in your throat, and they require exercise and strengthening and just as much practice as running football sprints does. To sing those amazingly long phrases over an orchestra, opera singers have the same lung capacity as some Olympic swimmers. But it’s really fun to open your mouth and have this enormous sound come out. You get to wear these beautiful clothes, and put on wigs, and have people do your makeup, and take on these characters that sometimes are wildly different from who you are. Yes, it’s a profession but we also get to play for a living.”

Photograph by Roy Beeson

Meet Kendall: Chicago-native, Vanderbilt Student and Babysitter!



With over 35 glowing reviews on UrbanSitter, it comes as no surprise that Kendall has an upbeat and bright personality. Now studying child development at Vanderbilt University, Kendall hopes to transition her people skills and passion for helping others into a full-time career after graduation.

Here, Kendall shares with us what life is like as a student at Vanderbilt, how she first got into babysitting, and her perspective on the parent-babysitter relationship.

You go to college at Vanderbilt, what are you studying?

I’m studying child development and English and sociology, so I have a major and two minors. Honestly, most kids at Vanderbilt probably have some combination of that: multiple majors and minors. I started as a special education major and then realized I wanted to work more with people in general, not just kids, though I had always babysat and worked with kids. It’s been interesting to learn to what makes people tick and how people interact and work with others.

Right now, my part time job on campus is in the admissions office, so I’d love to work as an admissions counselor after college. That would be working with 18- year-olds instead of two-year-olds. There is a lot of travel and meeting people and reading applications, taking care of different tasks at a time in the same way I keep up with my UrbanSitter account.

What drew you to Vanderbilt, specifically?

I’m from Chicago—the suburbs originally—so I’m about an 8 hour drive away from home while I’m at Vanderbilt. There’s 5-10 kids per year that come specifically from my high school to Vandy, so I always figured it could be an option. I liked the balance of rigorous academic curriculum and a community of people that are supportive, but not so cut-throat or competitive.

How did you first get into babysitting?

My very first sitting job was down the street from my house and I was a mother’s helper, but then she started leaving me with the kids. Through high school I sat on weekend nights, but I was also very involved in high school—I danced and participated in a lot of activities—so I just started right on my block where my parents could watch me walk there and walk home.

Who first introduced you to UrbanSitter?

When I came home after my freshman year of college, I had set up a full-time nanny job but it fell through. My dad actually had heard of UrbanSitter and he was the one who encouraged me to go for it. That was summer of 2014—and I was a Brand Ambassador with the UrbanSitter team in Chicago, which was a great way to get acquainted with the platform. And now I have a great basis to explain to parents how [UrbanSitter] works.

Has UrbanSitter helped you achieve any specific monetary goals or ambitions?

All of my spending money for when I studied abroad came from UrbanSitter! There are things that I’ve been able to do—I go to a school where people have a lot of money—and experiences and trips can feel really inaccessible to people who don’t have that kind of money. I went to Amsterdam and Prague and all over Europe because of the money I saved from UrbanSitter.

What do you love most about babysitting?

I have loved babysitting, not only because I love working with kids, but because the parents that I work are for are generally the generation between myself and my parents. So getting to know those parents and seeing how they are adults, without being exactly like my parents or other college students, has helped me see what life is like 5-10 years beyond college. . I see a lot of value in making relationships with parents, too, because you can learn or be exposed to other experiences through them.

What would your babysitting style is like?

I would characterize my babysitting style as pretty warm, though I will enforce rules and boundaries because I know how a lack of boundary-setting will affect a child developmentally. I don’t like to skimp on rules for one night just because I’m the babysitter, not only because it makes it harder on the parents when they come home, but also because it makes it harder on me if I come back to watch the kids again. I try to view my relationship with families as being part of a team. I establish myself as someone who will lay down the law if I need to, but if the kids don’t make me lay down the law, then they know we can have fun.

What tips would you give to sitters just getting started on UrbanSitter?

I would say it’s important to wait for the families that you feel like you’ll vibe with. I’ve worked with families that weren’t a good fit for me and the difference between that and the families I’m really great with, is almost worth more than the money. I would say waiting for families that you feel value you and what you bring to them, and care about your time and experience, there are those families on UrbanSitter; and it’s worth making sure that you are clicking well with anyone you work for.

Hire Kendall today on UrbanSitter!

Sign up to be a babysitter today for free at!

Parents: Discover your community’s most-trusted sitters and nannies.

Childcare Jobs: The 6 Most Popular Types of Caregivers

childcare jobs

Childcare jobs come in a wide range of different capacities. Whether you’re a parent determining which type of childcare is right for your family or a caregiver deciding what sort of childcare job you’re looking for, it is essential to understand the differences in order to make the right choices for your preferences and lifestyle. Here are some of the most common types of caregivers.

Types of Childcare Jobs

  1. Au pair
    An au pair is a young adult from a foreign country who lives with a family and helps to care for children and do housework in return for a monetary allowance (and the opportunity to learn the family’s language and culture). An au pair will almost always reside in the family home and be treated as another member of the family. Au pairs are enrolled in post-secondary education and their labor is regulated by the Department of State. Hiring an au pair requires extensive commitment on the parts of both the au pair and the hiring family. The process sometimes requires a large sum of money up front, and employers may be expected to provide healthcare and transportation to au pairs during their stay. In exchange, the family will benefit from exploring a new culture and exposing their children to the world from the convenience of their own living room.
  2. Babysitter
    A babysitter is a caregiver who comes to a family’s home to watch children for a limited number of hours or sometimes overnight. Some babysitters work out of their own homes. Most are hired by families on an occasional basis and are paid an hourly rate. More often than not, babysitters work for many different families as their schedules permit. While babysitters’ ages fall into a wide range, all sitters on UrbanSitter are at least 18 years old.
  3. Doula
    A doula is hired to help provide comfort and care to a woman and her family before, during, and/or after childbirth. A doula attends births and imparts constant emotional and instructional support during labor. Doulas are trained professionals, but are not doctors. Usually a doula’s job is done once the baby is born, although some doulas offer breastfeeding instruction, night nurse services, and even postpartum care for a period after the birth.
  4. Mother’s helper
    A mother’s helper is a pre-teen or teenager who is not yet experienced enough or old enough to watch children alone. A mother’s helper may be a neighbor, relative, or other acquaintance of the child’s parent(s) who has expressed an interest in babysitting or caring for the child(ren) in the home. A mother’s helper may be paid or unpaid, but a parent is present for the duration of the caregiving period in order to give guidance and/or supervision. Sometimes mother’s helpers are hired to do light chores around the house or run errands in addition to (or in place of) watching children.
  5. Nanny
    A nanny is hired for a set period of time and is usually given a regular schedule, and may reside in the family’s home (“live-in”) or travel to the family’s home for shifts (“live-out”). Nannies are paid an agreed-upon salary at regular intervals, and most nannies consider childcare their full-time work obligation. However, some are employed part-time according to the family’s needs and are able to take on outside work.
  6. Night Nanny
    A night nanny may be the perfect solution for families with newborns. These caregivers generally come to the family’s home after dinner to help with the new baby’s bedtime routine and provide support to the family overnight, whether rocking a colicky baby back to sleep, heating a bottle and handling night feedings, or helping soothe toddlers back to sleep after a newborn’s cries wake everyone in the house. Parents of multiples may find night nannies especially helpful. Night nannies are usually hired for a short period of time after a new baby arrives, to help a household adjust to their new overnight routine, allow families to get a little extra sleep, or to give new parents nighttime guidance. Some night nannies may have nursing experience as well.

UrbanSitter is an excellent resource if you are looking for childcare jobs or childcare solutions. Good luck in finding your perfect fit!

On How to Babysit (by Someone Who Knows)

This post was written exclusively for UrbanSitter by resident sitter blogger, Erika Hanson.

I have been babysitting off and on since high school.  Below are a few of my learnings on what it takes to be a successful babysitter.

1. Be engaging. Have fun and be in the moment. Children can quickly gauge when you are not in a mood to hang out with them. Find a way to make it so that the kids enjoy your presence. Always listen and play in an effort to be engaging.  Never sit and ‘be boring’.

2. Don’t Afraid to Bargain. Kids try and get away with everything knowing you are not their parent. For example:

Child: I always drink soda for dinner.

Me: Really? I’ll have to ask your mom about that. How about some juice or water? If you eat your broccoli and drink your water, we can play Candy Land. Deal?

Child: Okay!

When all else fails, explain that you may have to tell their parent if they don’t start following the rules.

3. Mix up the routine. Teach a new game. Make a new craft. Fix a new snack. Tell a new story. You get the idea… incorporate something new into the child’s life. This serves as a distraction for those children who might be missing their parents, engages those who think they are not particularly excited about having a sitter, and makes sitter time fun.

4. Be consistent and clean up. Children need to build trust with you, but parents also need to know that they can count on you. So be consistent — don’t flake at the last minute, give a general sense of your availability and promptly respond to any sitting requests. Tidy up after yourself and the children, and if the mood elicits, leave the kitchen cleaner than when you found it.

5. ‘Read’ the parents. Be able to give a quick synopsis on how the time was spent. Different factors are important to each parent; parents of babies need to know about food and sleep schedule, while parents of older children are more concerned about behavior and level of fun.

6. Remember to have fun!  

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Sitter’s Perspective: Why I babysit

UrbanSitter logoContributed by Erika, an UrbanSitter babysitter and author of blog, Sunshine & Sparkles.

Albeit a bit strange to some, I choose to babysit for ‘fun’. I see it as a hobby–I love playing with kids and see no harm in making a few extra dollars. Thanks to my dual immersion in San Francisco start-up culture and the babysitting world, I met the founder of and now use UrbanSitter, a child friendly San Francisco start-up.

UrbanSitter is a “linked in” version of babysitting, a way to see who both you and your friends know in the babysitting world. Its aim is to provide a network of sitters so that parents do not have to go to unnecessary lengths to find a trusted someone.

In a culture receptive to and alive with social media, this site has done very well for itself, just having received $1.75 million in funding. Word has spread like wildfire and the site has become extremely user friendly. It is slowly growing its user base which is subsequently increasing its credibility.

I only babysit on occasion, but have still been able to make good use of the site. I find it slightly exciting to be contacted by a random someone, to then meet them for a casual introduction and finally to babysit their children. I spent the past six months babysitting for a family who has since moved back to London–it can be said that we met by chance and with no expectation, but the relationship built and fun had became surprisingly worthwhile.