Babysitter Gift Ideas, Nanny Bonus & More: UrbanSitter’s Guide to Holiday Gifting

Holiday Babysitter gifts, nanny gifts, nanny bonus

Putting together your holiday gift list? Chances are babysitter gifts, nanny gifts and nanny bonus are high up on the list. Around the holidays there are a lot of questions around this, such as “what is a thoughtful gift for my nanny/sitter?” “What handmade gift can my child can give the nanny?” “What does a nanny or sitter actually want as a holiday gift?” “What’s an appropriate nanny bonus or holiday babysitter tip?”

The holidays are the perfect time to show a bit of extra gratitude for all your caregiver does for your family with a thoughtful gift. We have plenty of gift guides (and pinterest board) to help point you in the right direction for a perfect babysitter gift. Plus, UrbanSitter creates a yearly guide on holiday tipping & bonuses.

Gift Guides for the Holidays

We have your gift guides covered from holiday gifts kids can give, handmade gifts from kids, to gifts for the babysitter, nanny gifts and even the ultimate mommy gift guide.

Top Nanny Gifts for the Holidays:

  • 91% of parents surveyed gift their nanny a Christmas bonus or gift.
  • Gifts include gift cards to a favorite retailer or restaurant, spa items or a gift card for spa services, scarves, other handmade items, a framed photo of the kids, candles, gourmet foods such as baked goods or chocolates and fine teas. In addition, kids oftentimes make a gift for the nanny.

Popular Babysitter Gift Ideas for Christmas:

  • Top babysitter Christmas gift ideas include a gift card to Starbucks or iTunes, handmade gift from kids, or baked goods. Other gifts are time off, food, jewelry, tickets, and of course, cash!

Babysitter & Nanny Holiday Gift Guides

Holiday Handmade Gifts from Kids

Other Gift Guides

Need more ideas? Visit our Gifts for Sitters and Nannies Pinterest Board.

Holiday Tipping & Nanny Bonus

Now that we’ve covered gift ideas for babysitters, let’s dive into the nanny bonus! Each year we survey parents to get the scoop on holiday tipping and bonuses. Year after year, the top nanny bonus given by at least 50% of parents is a nanny bonus that equals one week of pay. Most sitters also expect a tip or bonus over the holidays. In addition to tipping or a bonus, parents oftentimes give their nanny or sitter a gift. Keep in mind, 82% of sitters & nannies would prefer cash over a gift as their bonus/tip.

Check out our most recent Holiday Tipping Guide, which includes nanny bonuses and babysitter holiday tip suggestions.

Show Your Appreciation: Babysitter Gift, Thank You Note & Bonus

Giving a small gift, thank you note, and an appropriate cash bonus or tip based on how often and how long a caregiver has worked for you is one fabulous way to show your appreciation. You can even have the kids participate (if age appropriate) and create a handmade gift for the nanny or write a little note.

Ultimately, any sentiment that shows you truly appreciate the work your nanny or sitter does year round to take care of your kids, keep them safe and bring them joy can go a long way in continuing to build a wonderful relationship and make the caregiver feel valued.

The holiday times are the perfect time to book a sitter for a night out to enjoy a holiday party or shop without the kids!

Before and After School Child Care: 6 Practical Solutions

The new school year is around the corner which means it’s time to nail down your before and after school child care. From morning drop-offs to shuttling kids to after school activities, the back to school hustle can leave you juggling a lot of different schedules. Not sure what kind of after school child care is right for you? Have no fear! We have 6 before and after school babysitter and nanny solutions that will help your family get an A+ this school year.

1. The Full-Time Nanny

Full-Time Nanny
Before and After school babysitter

Work full-time? Need a helping hand before and after school? Have a little one in school and one still at home? A full-time nanny may be just what you need to cover all your bases. Nanny-finding sites like UrbanSitter conveniently allow you to search or post a job for this type of “split shift” schedule. 

Pro-tip: Check our blog post for suggested questions to ask when interviewing potential nannies.

2. The Carpool-Driving Sitter

carpool driving sitters

Maybe your mornings start early and you need help getting the kids ready and dropped off on time to school. Or, maybe you can’t leave the office early enough to pick them up. Problem solved! Book a carpool driving sitter.

Pro-tip: Use UrbanSitter’s search filter to find sitters ‘willing to drive kids’ in your car or theirs.

3. The Homework Tutor

sitter tutor
before and after school babysitter

Let’s be real, kids have A LOT of homework these days and sometimes our kids need a little extra help. Find and book a sitter who’s ready to hit the books after school.

Pro-tip: Sites like UrbanSitter make it easy to search for sitters by the grade levels and subjects they teach or tutor.

4. The After-School Sitter

after-school sitter

Soccer practice, music lessons, dance class, or even just a trip to the park can be hard to juggle when you have more than one kid, errands to run, or when your work schedule keeps you late. Have no fear, an after-school sitter can help you feel like you are in more than one place at the same time.

Pro-tip: If you aren’t finding any sitters to cover every day of the week, consider splitting your job into two jobs with a sitter for Monday-Wednesday-Fridays and another for Tuesday-Thursdays.

5. The Last-Minute Sitter

urbansitter app
last minute sitter
before and after school babysitter
after school child care

When the kids have an unexpected day off from school or your usual nanny calls in sick, you’ll need access to a last-minute sitter for backup child care. 

Pro-tip: Download UrbanSitter’s child care-finding app for free for access to last-minute child care. 

6. After School Programs

after school program

Some schools offer after school programs to give parents a few extra hours of child care beyond the school day. If your school doesn’t offer an after school program, many local YMCAs offer affordable school age after school child care.

Found the right before and after school child care solution for you? Now get started on your caregiver search by creating a free account on UrbanSitter.

Your Guide to College Nannies and Sitters

college nannies and sitters

Curious if college nannies and sitters are the solution to your endless list of child care needs: holiday breaks, after-school care, morning car rides, and a regular Friday date night? There are a plethora of options for child care, so let’s break down the why, where, and how of hiring a college nanny or tutor, so you can decide if they are the right option for you:

Why College Nannies and Sitters?

  • Child care experience. College nannies have usually had experience babysitting for family and friends or as summer camp counselors and neighborhood babysitters. They may even have had CPR training, especially if they worked as a junior lifeguard. Many jobs available to younger individuals over the summer (i.e., camp counselor, lifeguard), allow them to acquire skills vital to babysitting.
  • Similar holiday schedules. Many kids have weeks off for Thanksgiving and Christmas when many parents still need to work. A plus for hiring college students is that they usually have the same dates off from school, allowing them the flexibility and availability to watch your kids during busy holiday periods.
  • Exploring interests. College sitters have energy and are closer in age to your kid while still possessing more maturity and cognitive thinking than a high school student. If you are lucky, you can find a student with similar passions to your kid, like ballet or painting. Not only that, but their academic studies can help them teach your child about new subjects– suddenly, your kid wants to study stars like their babysitter, who is taking an astronomy course.
  • Tutoring. If you’re looking for a tutor for your child, a college tutor will have already taken the course and still be fresh on the subject. Often, you can find a college student majoring in a similar subject to what you need to be taught to your child so the tutor will have a more in-depth understanding.
  • Flexibility. College nanny schedules can be much more flexible than other sitters. Many college students have either morning or evening classes and days where they may have no classes. This is the perfect time to accommodate helping your family.
  • Convenience. Depending on where the college is located, the nanny may be located close to your home, making transportation easy. Or if they have a car, that works out as they will be able just as easily to commute to your home and might be able to pick up your kids like an after-school sitter.
  • Affordable rates. College nannies tend to charge more competitive rates than other childcare providers, which can be helpful as care for your child can be costly. Can you believe the average cost of a babysitter in New York is $23.40/hour?! It’s crazy these days.
  • Built-in backup sitters. College sitters often have a great backup option if scheduling conflicts arise. Given how much time they spend with other college students, it’s easy for them to coordinate a trustworthy sitter-friend to cover for them. This is perfect because it means you won’t need to cancel those movie plans because your college sitter got the flu!

How to Find College Nannies and Tutors?

The next step is finding a trustworthy, interesting college nanny or tutor that fits your criteria to welcome them into your home. 

  • Take a look at UrbanSitter’s college nannies and sitters assorted by college name so you can find one in your area.
  • Check local college job boards for that college to post your own notice or find requests for childcare opportunities. 
  • Join local Facebook or Google groups affiliated with that college as well, where sitters may post looking for babysitting or tutoring opportunities. 
  • Not only that, but you can post a job on UrbanSitter or browse through UrbanSitter sitters, refining for the ones attending colleges near you. 

How to Seal the Deal

Thankfully you are at the final step. You have done your research, and college nannies and tutors are perfect for your family. How do you get them to take a job with your family?

  • Offer a fare rate equivalent to the average rate in your area, which you can access the data for on this UrbanSitter page for 2022 here. You must make sure you establish a relationship built on respect and understanding, which starts with salary. You want to make sure you let your sitter or tutor know you value their work. 
  • Offer help with transportation at night if your sitter or tutor doesn’t have a car so they feel safe staying late when you have a night out with your partner.
  • Offer flexible hours and work together on the schedule, so everyone feels comfortable about the hours and workload.
  • Allow the college sitter to do homework when the kids go to bed. Remember, they are still students and are juggling a lot with school, so understanding is always appreciated.
  • For tutoring, offering a virtual option over Zoom might seem more convenient for college students so they don’t have to spend time commuting. 

Now you’ve done it! You’re a pro at finding college nannies and sitters. No more researching a trillion different babysitter and tutoring sites. You are now ready to have a college sitter or tutor to support your family–the perfect one who fits all your criteria. Huzzah! Enjoy your stress-free childcare situation with your college nanny or sitter, and finally, try that new Italian restaurant with your partner! 

Sign up for a free account to find college nannies and sitters on UrbanSitter today.

Back To School Transitions Tips for Parents During COVID-19

anxious child

Contributed by our friends at Brightline

When you became a parent, you probably didn’t envision 18 months hunkered down at home with your whole family (or that spending some extra time hiding out in the bathroom would be keeping you sane). And we’re guessing you didn’t picture that you’d feel so weird about finally sending your kid or teen back to the classroom after that year and a half. Excited to be going back to the new “normal?” Yes. Confused about what that looks like? Also, yes. Worried about how your kid might handle it? Triple yes.

Raising kids can have its challenging days (don’t you love trying to convince a tired kid to…go to sleep?), but parenting your way through a global pandemic? It’s been like a chaos-filled Groundhog Day, but in real life. Nobody should have to navigate this uncharted territory alone. Whether you’re wondering if constant tantrums are “normal,” or you want to figure out if your kid might have anxiety or ADHD, it might be time to enlist a bit more support.

Not sure exactly where to start? Here are a few key back to school transitions tips for parents during this weird and challenging time.

5 Tips To Navigate Back to School Transitions

1. Talk to your child’s teacher

Wondering about your kids’ behavior, but you’re not sure what steps to take? Your child’s teacher — who observes them in close proximity every day and probably has years of experience with kids and behavior — can be a great resource. If the teacher notices your kid’s been struggling to focus or is having a hard time making friends, they might recommend resources at the school, or habits you can try at home as a family. And if your kid is struggling at school, but not at home, you can offer up your expert suggestions to help the teacher.

The more you work together, the more your kid will thrive at home and in the classroom!

2. Establish dependable routines

Consistency is the key to stability and enlisting more child care support, like a reliable morning or after school nanny—to pack up backpacks and lunches, then help with pickups and homework—could make a world of difference for a child struggling with the newfound busyness of their life. Not sure what kind of school year child care solutions are out there? Check out Before and After School Child Care: 6 Practical Solutions.

3. Consult your family doctor

Another great support to add to your team is your kid or teen’s doctor. Along with ruling out medical concerns that could be contributing to your kid’s behavior, pediatricians are trained broadly in kids’ health, so they can help you pinpoint potential issues and whether extra support (or evaluation) could be useful for you. And since your family doctor knows other professionals and your child, they can provide personal suggestions about which behavioral or mental health experts your kid would gel with (and send through a referral, if needed).

4. Try behavioral health coaching

If you’ve tried all the things to help your kid with tantrums or your teen with self-confidence, a behavioral health coach who specializes in parenting and family issues can work with you to identify growth areas and, more importantly, goals and ways to meet them.

While therapists tend to focus on the “why” behind the “what,” coaches hone in on the present and future — helping you reframe struggles and find and implement practical opportunities to get where you want to be. Coaching is grounded in evidence-based methods for kids and teens, then applied to work for everyday challenges and situations that might not meet a clinical level of need. So if your elementary school kid is struggling with worries or your high schooler just can’t seem to stay on top of homework, a coach can help you figure out the right tools — and how to use them to help your family grow.

“Coaching is a way to reframe your goals and push you or your child to the next level,” says Charlene Montgomery, MS, a behavioral health coach at Brightline. “Together, we’ll identify where you want to be, and give you the tools to help you get there.”

Coaching is a great way to set goals, so you and your family can thrive. Consider a behavioral health coach an investment in your family’s well-being — the cheerleader you need to power through this tough season.

Want to learn more about coaching? Check out 5 coaching programs that will help you tackle back-to-school.

5. Consider therapy

If things just aren’t getting better, or you think your child may need a greater level of care, it might be time to think about looping in a therapist — someone who is specially trained in identifying and treating behavioral health issues.

When you’re worried about how your child is doing — maybe they’re really stressed or feeling down lately, or maybe you think they might have ADHD, or tough behavior is really wearing you down — it can be seriously tough on everyone in the family. And asking for help can feel like a big (and scary) step. The first thing to know? “All of these things are totally normal, especially during a time of transition and uncertainty,” says Angel Herrera, LMFT, a Brightline behavioral therapist. “We all experience stress in one way or another, and it’s OK to need help sometimes.”

There are tons of therapists out there, and it can be hard to figure out where to start. In your search aim for a licensed behavioral health clinician who can diagnose and treat behavioral health conditions in kids and teens. You may also want to partner with a therapist who has experience in your child’s specific struggle, whether that’s anxiety, depression, or ADHD.

For kids, it can be especially helpful to work with a therapist who takes a positive approach. Strengths-based therapists will help your kid or teen to grow coping skills out of what they’re already amazing at, which can infuse the whole process with confidence and motivation.

Coaching or Therapy?

Need help figuring out what type of support is best for your family? Reach out to Brightline for a free, 15-minute consultation or download the Brightline Connect app for videos, articles, tips and resources, and more to help you through it all. 

Taking the Next Step

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by next steps, take a deep breath and remind yourself you’re absolutely not alone — and there are plenty more resources to build into your support system.

It can be difficult to take the first step and ask for help, but an incredibly important one. “I feel like the more parents are involved in their child’s treatment, the better results we see,” says Herrera. Remember: you’re not alone, and help is available. You got this!

Additional Online Resources for Children’s Mental Health

Babysitter Job Description: Sitter Responsibilities and Chores

Take a poll of the parents you know, and you’ll realize that babysitter job descriptions vary greatly (child care responsibilities, chores for sitter, driving duties, etc.) just as much as compensation varies from family to family. One friend might expect to come home to a clean house with toys put away and the laundry done. Another friend may be horrified at the thought of their babysitter folding their clothing. Neither approach is wrong. With any manager-report relationship, it’s important to have an idea of what’s on your babysitter job description to set clear expectations of the responsibilities and chores for your sitter up-front.

Know your priorities.

The main task of any caregiver is to supervise your children and keep them safe. While there’s no set protocol for caregivers to follow, you can expect a babysitter to follow your directions. The “normal” responsibilities of child care include making meals, changing diapers, diffusing arguments between siblings, engaging with children in conversation, entertaining them with games and crafts, putting them to bed, and so on.

You can always ask your sitter if they are willing to do extra chores if there is time. Do keep in mind that chores aren’t in the standard babysitter job description. Asking a sitter to do extra should go hand-in-hand with extra compensation, or at the very least, abundant verbal appreciation.

Identify what you want and keep it reasonable.

Have you gone through your chore list and identified the tasks that are babysitter-appropriate? Do you dislike feeding the fish or dusting the bookshelves? These small tasks are the perfect type of tasks for a babysitter to take on. Expecting a babysitter to grocery shop with the kids in tow might be unrealistic depending on their experience. However, asking a sitter to scrub your bathrooms is taking advantage of them (unless you’re paying extra and the sitter seems open to it). Having the sitter take the garbage and recycling out after the kids are asleep might cross a simple to-do off your list while asking minimal effort on the sitter’s end. If you expect your sitter to do larger chores, for example washing a week’s worth of dishes you’ve left in the sink — be sure to compensate the sitter.

If you’ve hired an after-school babysitter, refer to this list of specific after-school responsibilities.

Expect simple tidying.

While there are no strict rules on tidying up — although most sitters do, as a matter of common courtesy — it’s not unfair to expect that your sitter will clean up any messes made while on the clock or that involve the kids. Let’s face it, some parts of childcare are messy! Meal preparation, giving baths, playing with toys, feeding young children, even potty training can leave behind a small trail of destruction. It would be nice if you came home to a house that was at least as clean as when you left it.

If a sitter continually leaves your home looking like a tornado passed through, it’s time to have a discussion. You can approach it by saying, “We’re really trying to get the kids to be more conscious about their messes. Before bedtime, will you make sure everyone is involved in putting away toys, clearing the table, and so on?” If your family has a clean-up game or song that gets everyone motivated, share it with your sitter.

babysitter job description, babysitter chores, sitter chores, sitter responsibilities

Assess your sitter’s abilities.

If you have a young, inexperienced babysitter watching the kids while you run a few quick errands, it may be all the sitter can handle to keep the kids entertained and out of harm’s way. Don’t hand her extra tasks that could take away time from her main objective. If you’ll be gone several hours and have a caregiver who’s comfortable with your kids and your routines, the caregiver is most likely able to juggle vacuuming or folding laundry at the same time.

Does your sitter have any special qualifications that would help her better tackle your extra requests? If you have a sitter who knows nothing about foreign languages, you probably shouldn’t task the sitter with overseeing your child’s French homework. Now, if your sitter lifeguards during the summer, asking the sitter to take the kids swimming at the neighborhood pool might be the perfect request!

It’s also reasonable to ask a capable sitter to make sure the children carry out their chores. If it’s your daughter’s job to set the table or your son’s job to walk the dog, let the babysitter know. Give your sitter the authority and tools to see that they’re done. Make it clear to the kids that the babysitter is in charge. And that there will be consequences if they don’t take care of their responsibilities.

Communicate expectations clearly.

Many sitter chores fall into a gray area that you may consider inclusive of childcare. However, they may not be on the radar screen of your sitter. Before you hire a sitter be sure to discuss any duties outside of “hanging out at the house”. Some of these babysitter responsibilities may include:

  • Taking/driving the children to and from activities such as music lessons, karate, dance, etc.
  • Changing diapers and helping with potty training
  • Supervising play dates with other children
  • Helping with homework
  • Meal (or bottle) preparation and feeding
  • Following the bedtime routine (changing into pajamas, brushing teeth, reading books, etc.)
  • Actively entertaining children, not just relaxing in front of TV/movies
  • Doing light housework
  • Making sure the children do their chores (such as picking up their toys)

If any of these activities are in your babysitter job description, let them know before you offer the position. This way the sitter has a clear set of expectations and can decide if the babysitting job is the right fit.

As you consider the glorious possibility of never taking out the garbage or coming home to a dirty playroom again, remember, clear communication of everyone’s responsibilities will keep you and your babysitter on the same page.

Looking for a sitter? Join UrbanSitter to browse profiles, sort by pay rate, and book jobs online.

5 Popular Child Care Options for Summer

kids playing in fountain

Trying to figure out your child care options for summer, when it’s “yet another COVID summer”? Maybe you’re skeptical about booking camps after a ‘no-refunds’ fiasco last year, or you’re wondering how to plan child care around a summer trip. With a year of quarantining under our belts, we’re reviewing the pros and cons of the top 5 most popular summer child care solutions in 2021.

First, there are some general factors to consider:

  • Your schedule – Do you need full-time or part-time coverage and is it for the entire summer or certain weeks?
  • Your budget – According to a recent survey conducted by UrbanSitter, 30% of parents plan to spend $1000-$2999 on summer child care in 2021.
  • COVID-19 restrictions in your area – Check your local county website to find out what current restrictions are on child care where you live.

Next, you can start to evaluate the pros and cons of each of these 5 popular child care options for summer:

  1. Book a summer camp

  2. Summer camps come in all shapes and sizes, from half-day to full-day, completely virtual to sleep-away camps. These can be a great option for kids who want to explore a specific interest (art, dance, robotics, coding, nature, etc.). Because it’s summery weather, many camps can take place outdoors for safety, though COVID-19 did cause many camps to be canceled last year. There are lots of things to consider when choosing a camp including schedules, since many are only 1-3 weeks long and you may need to string together multiple camps to fill the summer.

    Pros: Variety of interests for kids, lots of scheduling options
    Cons: Possible cancellations, strict refund policies, limited openings

  3. Hire a summer nanny or sitter

  4. Hiring a summer nanny or sitter for full-time or part-time child care could be a great solution, especially now that caregivers are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in many counties. A summer nanny cares for your kids in your home according to the schedule and responsibilities you decide on, which may include outings, meal preparation, driving the kids, nap time, bath time and more. While a dedicated caregiver might cost more per hour than other solutions, you only pay for the hours you need and the cost does not double with each additional child as with camps or school. Not sure where to find a summer nanny? Try an online caregiver-finding service such as UrbanSitter.

    Pros: Dedicated caregiver, fits your schedule, no commute
    Cons: Must find/hire candidate yourself, cost depends on how many hours you need

  5. Register for summer school

  6. With so much of the 2020 school year preempted by COVID, many parents want their kids to make up for lost academic time with summer school. If your public school is not offering a summer session (virtual or in-person), many private schools are open and will accept outside students for the summer session. Keep in mind, if you decide on a virtual summer program, your child will likely still require adult supervision and help throughout the day.

    Pros: Affordable (when offered by public school), prevents “brain drain”
    Cons: Only covers school hours, virtual school still requires adult help

  7. Form a summer pod or “sharecare”

  8. As parents struggled with school closures in 2020, they started to form “pods” with a cohort of their trusted circle of family friends. Kids benefitted from having some socialization, while parents shared the cost of a caregiver to watch the pod a.k.a. “sharecare.” This summer, many parents are forming summer pods with their kids’ best friends and hiring a summer sitter with camp counselor experience to create their own backyard summer camp.

    Pros: Socialization, shared costs
    Cons: Management of pod & rules, not an option if you don’t have space for a pod in your home

  9. Plan on a hodgepodge

  10. If you’re a Type A parent, break out your spreadsheet and plan out the ultimate hodgepodge of the child care options at your disposal. For example, pair a series of half-day camps that your kids will love with a summer nanny to handle drop offs, pick ups, and the gap days between camps. Throw in a summer vacation and you’ll almost forget it’s another COVID summer.

    Pros: The exact schedule and activities you want
    Cons: Lots of planning required, expensive

    Did you find the solution that fits best with your family’s needs? Whatever you decide, we hope it will be your best (and safest) summer ever.

    Find a summer nanny or sitter now with UrbanSitter’s detailed caregiver search.

What is a Nanny?

nanny child care

What is a nanny? And what are nanny responsibilities? Ask any parents you know and the list of responsibilities may differ. Starting with the basics, a nanny is someone you hire who specializes in child care and provides personalized care for your children in your home.

Now that we know what a nanny is, let’s get into more details. The child care provider is most frequently a woman between the ages of 20-60. Most families hire a nanny for full-time work and have consistent hours, working 40-50 hours per week. Other common options are a part-time caregiver or a nanny share. The caretaker may live with the family or may live in their own home. Often they will have specialized skills, additional training and certifications. For most families both parties will sign a contract stating what the expectations are for the job, to make sure everyone is in agreement on what the responsibilities are.

The best nannies love children and have a genuine interest in their happiness and development. In addition, they play a bigger part in the children’s lives — the longer period of time they work for the family, the more involved they become in the development of the child and being a part of the child growing up.

What is a nanny responsible for?

First off, the nanny’s main responsibility is providing excellent child care and looking after the well-being of your child. Secondly, they are to follow through on responsibilities you’ve outlined in the contract or verbally. In general, the child care provider is responsible for anything involving the children. They may do other tasks like housework and food preparation as well, however you’ll want to ensure you discuss this in the beginning and include in the contract to avoid potential future issues. For instance, some caretakers do not mind doing extra laundry in addition to the child’s, or letting the dog out, but others may not want to do this. It’s important to discuss these tasks and gain an understanding of whether the nanny you are considering is open to certain tasks. Here are some common job responsibilities to get you started.

Common nanny responsibilities

  • Care for the child
  • Do minor household chores
  • Take the child to/from school or other activities, such as music lessons or soccer.
  • Change diapers and help with potty training
  • Meal (or bottle) preparation and feeding
  • Plan & prepare meals
  • Organize activities and supervising play dates
  • Keep them safe
  • Organize the toys
  • Wash the child’s laundry
  • Other responsibilities as discussed with the parent

Qualities to look for

  • Reliable
  • Trustworthy
  • Actively listens
  • Loves children
  • Ability to problem solve
  • Patient
  • First aid skills

What are the main benefits of a nanny?

  • Personalized attention for your child: One-on-one attention and schedules are created around your child’s nap and mealtimes.
  • Flexibility: They may be able to come early or stay late.
  • Develops a strong bond with your child: The longer they are employed by you, the more a part of the family they become.

What are limitations?

  • Social Interaction: If they do not take the child out much or set up playdates, the child may not have a lot of interactions with other children.
  • Cost: The hourly rate is more than a babysitter.
  • Childhood Development: May not be trained in early childhood development.

How much does a nanny cost?

The average hourly rate is $19.31. Keep in mind there are other nanny costs to take into consideration, such as taxes, paid leave, insurance, etc…

What other types of child care options are there?

In addition to a nanny, there are many child care options available: babysitter, au pair, mother’s helper, etc.. Read the articles below for more details on your options.

Choosing Between a Nanny, Daycare, and Au Pair

Which Babysitter is Right for My Family?

What is an Au Pair?

Nanny vs Daycare – The Pros and Cons

Nanny vs Babysitter – The Pros and Cons

Need help searching for a nanny? Search for part and full-time nannies at UrbanSitter

How to Find the Best Babysitter for You and Your Kids



Leaving your children in the care of a stranger is understandably nerve-racking. In addition to being concerned about your children’s welfare, you may feel stressed about how well the personalities of your children and your babysitter will pair. As you prepare to find a babysitter to rely on regularly, utilize these strategic tips.

Identify Your Service Needs

Before you schedule interviews for a new babysitter, you need to prepare a job description that perfectly outlines your expectations. If this will be a recurring job, you should specify work hours. You also need to outline how many children will be cared for, how many meals and snacks need to be prepared if children need to be taken to school or extracurricular activities and more. Some people look for a nanny who will also complete light household chores. Understand that the rate that you offer should increase as you add more requirements or expectations to the job description.

Use a Screening Service

You could post an online classified ad to spread the word about your job description, but this creates a profound need to carefully screen each candidate. To do so, you will need to conduct a thorough background check, review references, and complete other essential steps. If you are looking for an easier way to identify trustworthy, qualified individuals, it makes sense to use a service provider that will connect you with several vetted professionals.

Conduct In-Home Interviews

When you have a few vetted professionals in mind, you can conduct in-person interviews. While some professionals may look great on paper, they may not seem as impressive in person for various reasons. These interviews may be conducted in your home so that your children can meet each person. This provides you with an excellent opportunity to view the interaction between the babysitter and your children. Part of your interview process may include observation of them playing and communicating.

Schedule a Few Short Sessions

You understandably want to commit to a specific individual, but you should not commit prematurely. Personality conflicts and other issues may arise when you leave your children in the person’s care for a lengthy period of time. Head out of the house for an hour or two for the first few sessions. After each session, speak with the babysitter and your children individually to get feedback. Some issues that you become aware of may easily be addressed, but others may be deal-breakers.

As you prepare to find a babysitter, you should have an open mind as well as a firm set of standards. Utilize babysitter or nanny services to streamline the process.

How to Book a Babysitter Using an App

UrbanSitter booking

UrbanSitter booking

Scheduling in-home childcare has never been easier to do. Thanks to babysitter scheduling apps, you no longer have to identify qualified babysitters on your own and check their availability individually. Using a babysitting app is a fast and easy booking method when you know how to walk through the process.

Find the Right App

While there are several apps that are designed to connect you with babysitters, some offer substantially more benefits than others. The right babysitter app will have many affiliated and qualified childcare professionals for you to choose from rather than only a few individuals in your area. A vetting process will already be completed, and this may lessen the amount of screening you need to do yourself. Some apps even have reviews from other parents who have already had experiences with the sitter.

Establish the Details

After locating the right babysitting app to use, you should define your specific needs. This should include the basics, such as the date, time, length of service that you need and whether you’re looking for a date night sitter, part-time or full-time, or recurring help. It should also include special details, such as the need for the caregiver to prepare a meal or to address other needs, including putting the kids to bed or driving. All details should be added to your service request.

Review Qualified Babysitters

Babysitting apps work in different ways, but you generally have the ability to review credentials before booking the babysitter for a needed service. You may even be able to connect with a caregiver who you are interested in for an interview beforehand so that you can ask any questions that could impact your hiring decision. This is also a time to confirm availability and to answer the babysitter’s questions about your specific needs.

Confirm the Service

When you schedule service with a babysitter through an app, it is important to confirm that all of the details are correct. This includes ensuring that the service is scheduled through the app. If possible, it includes contacting the babysitter directly to verify that he or she has all of the details necessary. This information could include your address and contact information. An added convenience of going through the app is paying the babysitters with a tap at the end of the job, so you’re not fumbling for cash or exact change.

Finding the right babysitter to hire can be challenging, but trusted apps make this easier to do than ever before. While some apps will vet babysitters on your behalf, remember to conduct your own due diligence before you leave your child in someone else’s care. In addition, when using a new babysitter, consider limiting your time away from the house to an hour or two so that you and your child can establish a comfort level with him or her.

5 Simple New Year’s Resolutions for Busy Parents

Now is your chance to freshen up those good intentions and commit to making positive changes for yourself and your family. These simple, yet effective New Year’s resolutions will help to make 2019 a healthier, happier, better balanced year. We promise these are all totally doable – no Herculean efforts required.

5 Simple New Year’s Resolutions

1. Revive the commitment to providing your family with a healthy diet by starting with what you put in your own mouth.

Considering the way you take care of yourself and your health is likely to be the way your child lives, your commitment to health should start with your own diet. We often put our needs behind those of our kids: skipping breakfast to get everyone fed and to school on time, grabbing a lousy packaged sandwich for lunch, and sometimes simply eating what’s left on our kids’ plates for dinner. We need to become better nutritional role models for our children who are soaking up everything we do. Rather than trying to kickstart a major change, make small changes that will have a big impact on the entire family’s diet:

  • Breakfast should be mandatory. Build a staple of quick, healthy foods that require little time or effort to prepare. Check out our Pinterest board – Don’t Forget Breakfast – for ideas.
  • Add a vegetable or fruit to every meal. Experts say even a few bites makes a big difference in children, but aim for more – an average adult needs four servings of veggies and three servings of fruit every day.
  • Find easy, homemade recipes to replace packaged products. There are far better alternatives to boxed macaroni and cheese and frozen chicken nuggets or pizzas, and they can be just as quick and easy to get on the table.
  • Start making bigger batches of good food so you can pack leftovers for lunch or freeze for another night.
  • Make a weekly meal plan. Being prepared is half the battle – shop for what you need, give yourself a head start by prepping pieces of multiple dishes at once, and you’ll far less likely to resort to takeout or a packaged meal.
  • Get kids involved in meal planning, shopping and prep. They’ll be more likely to try new things if they feel they have a say in the matter.
  • Replace juice boxes with water or low-fat milk and consider kicking your own 3PM Diet Coke habit or five-cups-of-coffee mornings.

2. Become more vigilant about screen time limits.

isabel-computerbaby copy

There’s no taking back the Internet or denying that even young kids can derive some education and entertainment from the iPad, but we really should be more thoughtful about the kinds of media our children interact with and how much time they spend with them.

While it’s really, really nice to be able to plop kids in front of an episode of Paw Patrol while you make dinner, screen time can really start to add up. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, excessive media use can lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity. They advise parents to create “screen-free” zones at home, turn off the TV during meals, and to limit screen time to no more than two hours per day.

If we pull our kids away from computers and television, they will spend more time playing outdoors, reading, and using their imaginations in free play. It also bears reminding, be sure to spend the time getting to know the technology your kids are using, making sure parental controls are in place and know exactly what they are seeing and doing.

3. Find time to take care of yourself.

Regardless of employment status, we are all working parents. Few would argue that parenting is anything but a full-time, incredibly rewarding yet demanding job. We all deserve not one break, but a steady dose of them. Find a way to build personal time into your daily life and keep at it.

Make a deal with another parent to take turns caring for the kids while you workout or simply take care of responsibilities without the company of a child. Check your favorite sitter’s availability posted on UrbanSitter to find a time that works with your schedule and book her weekly or bi-weekly. If you and your spouse have some flexibility with your work schedules, make a deal that allows you each to come home early one night a week and take over kid duty while the other enjoys some personal time. If you’re not taking care of yourself, it’s pretty dang hard to take care of anyone else.

4. If you really want to make it happen, scheduleand commit tofamily time.


Most of us would agree we’d like to spend more quality time with our families, yet it’s often an elusive wish. Despite our best intentions, we get caught up in day-to-day commitments and demands – free time to simply spend together just doesn’t exist, at least not as often as we may like it to. The solution is to become better planners.

Sit down with your family and make a list of places you’d like to visit or activities you’d like to do as a family in the New Year. Keep reality and your budget in mind, but let loose with the creativity. Once you have a good list of ideas – exploring a just-outside-of-town zoo or aquarium, sticking the baby in a backpack carrier for a family hike, spending a weekend afternoon at an indoor pool, or having family game night – get them on the calendar. If they are scheduled activities, you are far less likely to whittle your precious weekend away taking care of chores or splitting up to do your own thing.

5. Make your home a warmer, more nurturing environment that promotes creativity, literacy and fun.

This year, make it a priority to tweak your house to make it serve you and your family the best it can. A playful home will help your kids learn to play independently, foster creativity and learning, and help children become more self-sufficient, organized and even focused. While you might not be able to bust out the back wall to build a library or an indoor climbing wall, chances are you can make some small changes to make it easier for kids to play, entertain themselves, cuddle with you and a good book, or let loose with finger paints. See our post on super cool playrooms, reading nooks, art spaces and cozy spots to give you some inspiration. You’ll see it’s really pretty doable to create inviting spaces that entice kids to settle in with a book, dabble in a new hobby or maybe even take a little nap.

Whatever you commit to in the New Year, we hope your year is filled with an endless stream of happy, memorable moments with those you love and cherish. Happy New Year from your friends at UrbanSitter!