7 Tips For Hiring An After School Nanny

after school nanny with child

A good after school nanny can be difficult to find. Without the right hiring and screening process completed upfront, you may rely partially on luck to locate the right caregiver for your children. To improve your efforts to hire a qualified, caring nanny or sitter incorporate these tips into your search.

1. Prepare a Job Description

When you prepare a detailed job description in the beginning, it is easier to quickly narrow your search to candidates who satisfy your essential needs. In the job description lay out your objectives, expectations, work schedule and other factors (such as if you want to work only with a nanny who has been background checked).

Nanny-finding sites streamline the process to find the exact type of help you need (i.e. afternoon nanny, morning drop off nanny, pickup nanny, nanny driver). For instance UrbanSitter provides a job posting form that helps you summarize your after school care needs by ticking boxes. Don’t forget to research average nanny rates in your area to be competitive. 

2. Be Realistic About Tasks for the After School Nanny

Some parents understandably get excited about getting extra help with the kids and with chores around the house. Keep in mind even the best afterschool nanny may not be able to tackle everything you might otherwise be able to.

Start with the basic responsibilities: afternoon pick up from school, snack time, and homework help. Then, discuss the possibility of dinner meal prep, laundry and other supplemental tasks once your nanny has the basics mastered.

3. Consider Transportation Needs

Will your after school nanny meet your child at the bus stop or will you need a pick up nanny, who can drive your kids from school to and from their various activities?

If your nanny will need transportation, ensure that the pick up nanny has a safe, reliable car and a great driving record. Also, consider that many families will allow their nanny to use the family car for transportation or offer reimbursement for gas or mileage.

Superstar After School Nannies

Post a job for free on UrbanSitter to see who's available in your area.

4. Look for Flexibility

In many cases, parents may arrive home from work at different times in the evening from day to day. If this is the case for you, find an after school sitter who can stay later as needed and without advance notice.

If you can’t find one nanny to cover every afternoon, consider splitting the job across two after school babysitters or nannies. The bonus is that you then have two people who you can reach out to when in a pinch.

5. Pay Attention to Values of the After School Nanny

Your nanny/sitter will spend a considerable amount of time with your children and may be responsible for preparing meals and snacks, helping with homework and enforcing rules.

Ideally, their efforts will be a seamless extension of your own. To vet this out, ask the right questions in your interview and trust your gut. If something seems like it might not work out, it probably won’t.

6. Complete a Background Check

A background check should be completed on any serious candidate, and it should include a review of criminal history, credit rating, and employment history. Any red flags should be taken seriously.

Reputable sites like UrbanSitter only provide nannies who have already passed a background check through a third-party service.

7. Contact References

After you have thoroughly interviewed and screened potential nannies, the matter of actually calling references may seem rather unimportant. However, the types of references the individual provides as well as what these references may say about the candidate can tell you valuable information you may have not yet learned through your other efforts.

Related: Conducting Reference Checks on Nannies and Sitters

In conclusion, your life may be stressful until you hire the right nanny to care for your children, but you should avoid rushing through the hiring process. You may find yourself dealing with many new problems if you do not take proper steps to make a the best selection for your family. Follow the 7 tips above to make your search for an after school nanny or sitter much easier! 

Additional Resources:

Superstar After School Nannies

Post a job for free on UrbanSitter to see who's available in your area.

5 Hints to Securing a Babysitter This Holiday

holiday sitter

You cut your own tree this year and the stockings are already hung by the chimney with care — what’s next on your holiday list? Booking a babysitter for your many, many, many holiday parties. Don’t fret! Start with these 5 Helpful Hints for Securing a Babysitter This Holiday Season:

1. Don’t procrastinate. Book early…or right now! December is a busy month for parents and sitters alike, so send your requests now and make it clear that these dates are important to you and that’s why you’re asking so early.

2. Pay a little extra. Increase your sitter’s hourly rate by a dollar or two to entice her/him to agree to those busy weekend dates. And, try booking multiple dates with the same sitter, so she/he feels assured you’re providing a steady December paycheck.

3. Go for the Early Bird. College-aged sitters love booking early jobs, because that means they can hit the town afterward with their friends. Why not start your Saturday night date at 4 or 5 pm, so you’ll be home by 9 pm?

4. Opt for a weekday. If you have the luxury of choosing the day of the week of your event, opt for a weekday or Sunday. There is far less competition for sitters on the “off” nights, so you’ll have your pick!

5. Stay at home (well not exactly). Picture hosting a fabulous holiday party at your home. Get a sitter to watch the kids and keep them occupied while you entertain. You don’t have to hire the most experienced (read: expensive) sitter for this, since you’ll be there in case of an emergency. Always remember to explain your plan to the sitter when you book them, so there are no big surprises.

UrbanSitter has all your holiday sitter needs covered. Book early and you’ll have one less “to do” on your list!

4 Fun Holiday Projects that Make Great Gifts from Kids

Hopefully you’ve taken advantage of UrbanSitter to score a sitter or two so you can get out to enjoy a holiday party or take care of some shopping without the kids. Why not make it fun for the kids and a little easier on the sitter by leaving them with instructions and supplies for holiday crafts to tackle together?

We’ve selected four crafts that will score big points with kids and are simple enough as to not to stress out the sitter. What’s even better? These crafts make awesome homemade gifts. Your kids will love wrapping their masterpiece and will beam with pride when they deliver it to a lucky recipient this holiday season.

Our top four, fun-to-make, homemade gifts, along with instructions and a handy shopping list for each:

  1. 1. Salt Dough Hand Print Ornament

Those tiny hands, whether they belong to your newborn or your 7-year-old, won’t last for long. These classic handprint ornaments made with salt dough are an adorable, touching way to cement a moment in time.  You’ll cherish them so much, you won’t want to give them away… so have the sitter and your kids make one for you, too.  Click for instructions.

Here’s what you’ll need to leave the sitter:

4 cups of flour

1 cup salt

Food coloring

Large Mixing Bowl

Cookie sheet

Canola oil

Small rolling pin

Drinking straw


Photo by Stephanie Severin
Photo by Stephanie Severin

2. Magnified Magnets

This is a good project for bigger kids who have better focus and dexterity than their younger  siblings. Half the fun of the project is hunting down tiny pictures to fit on the back of glass pebbles. Good places to search for images include: scraps of wrapping paper, Christmas cards, homemade drawings, and thumbprints made with a stamp pad. Simply cut out the image and glue it right side up to the flat side of a glass pebble. Once dry, glue a magnet to the back of it. The blogger gives you more detailed instructions, and lots of photo for inspiration.

You’ll need the following, available from a craft supply store:

3/4 inch circle punch

Glass accent marbles/pebbles


Stamp pad

Craft paper, wrapping paper, cards

¾ inch magnets

3. Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels

Photo by: food.com/938006

This is a yummy cooking project for kids of various ages.  Everyone can help break up the chocolate; older kids, with the help of a sitter, can dip the pretzels into melted chocolate (candy canes work well for dipping, too); and little ones can sprinkle and/or roll pretzels in crushed candy, sprinkles, nuts or coconut. There is no shortage of recipes for this one, but here’s a favorite of ours.

You’ll need:

Pretzels rods or candy canes

Chocolate chips or melting chips

Candy, sprinkles, nuts, coconut – anything you want to roll them in

Wax paper for cooling pretzels

  1. Holiday Cards

crafts for kidsHere’s a good project for preschoolers. It’s a DIY holiday card using their handprint and finger paint. The instructions recommend using washable finger paint because it’s thicker and of course, easier to clean up than the real deal paint. You simply help kids coat their palm in paint and press it onto the front of cardstock to make a Christmas tree or menorah. You can use other colors and fingerprints to decorate the tree if you are making a Christmas tree print, or for the flames on the tips of the menorah candles.  It’s a simple project that requires few materials, and  produces great results.

You’ll need:

Finger paint


Paint brush


Have you found other holiday crafts for kids that your kids are going ga-ga for? We’d love to hear about them. Please share with us!

10 Babysitting Tips to Make You the Best Sitter Ever

nanny share

The best babysitters in your area have regular clients, earn a great hourly rate and take pride in what they do. The good news is that elevating your level of service may be easier to do than you may think. Incorporate these tips our sitters tell us makes them successful in your efforts to be the best babysitter ever.

1. Be Reliable.

The most valued quality a babysitter can have is reliability. Being on time, if not early, goes a long way and is appreciated by parents. Ensuring that parents trust you will help with earning regular gigs.

2.  Ask Questions.

Whether you are on the phone discussing a job possibility or you are receiving instructions before the parents leave, ask as many questions as you need to. Some babysitters assume that parents will think that they are inexperienced by asking questions, but most parents prefer that you have all of the information that you need to keep their children safe.

3. Obtain Certifications.

If you have not already obtained your CPR certification and taken a babysitter training class, now is the time to do so. You have to be prepared for all possibilities when you are entrusted with the care of someone else’s children, and these training courses provide you with invaluable information and skills.

4. Understand and Enforce Rules and Limits.

As a babysitter, you are tasked with enforcing all of the parents’ rules and limits. Most parents may tell you about their children’s ploys and behaviors, and they will likewise tell you how you can overcome those issues and enforce the rules of the house.

5. Feel Confident About Reaching Out.

Parents understandably do not want to be bothered numerous times every hour with questions and feedback, but they do want their children to be safe and properly cared for. If you need to know where the extra diapers are or if the children need sunblock on before playing outside, you should feel comfortable reaching out.

6. Be Observant.

Your eyes should be on the children at all times. You also should be aware of the potential environmental dangers that lurk nearby. Take preemptive steps to avoid dangers.

7. Stick to the Routine.

The parents will provide you with a routine to follow, including times for meals and naps. Many parents follow a schedule at home, and they want you to stay as close to that schedule as possible. If you put children to bed an hour or two later than you should, you may not be called for a second job.

8. Interact with the Children.

Your primary job is to keep the kids safe and healthy, but you also need to keep them happy and entertained. Be respectful and firm, but also friendly and fun! If you babysit regularly, it makes sense to put together a bag of books and games that are ideal for all age levels. Before each job, you can fill your bag with age-appropriate items.

9. Choose Your Clients Wisely.

Many parents in your area are looking for a babysitter, but you do not have to accept every job that comes your way. If you know that children are unruly or if you feel uncomfortable about the ages or number of children, for example, you can turn down job offers.

10. Provide Honest Feedback.

At the end of each job, parents inevitably will ask how things went. Avoid simply saying that things went well. Instead, provide honest feedback about your challenges and how you handled things.

When parents are looking for a babysitter, they want the most qualified individuals who they know will keep their children safe and happy. When you apply these tips to your efforts, you may develop several regular clients.

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.

 How to Find a Trustworthy and Reliable Nanny

UrbanSitter nannyFinding the right nanny to care for your children is not something that you can afford to get wrong. You understandably may feel intense pressure to choose a caregiver who is experienced, reliable and trustworthy, but how can you identify the perfect individual for the job? These popular tips from experienced parents will point in you in the right direction.

Determine Your Needs

Before you can interview professional nannies for the position, you need to define the responsibilities and requirements for that position. Consider the specific work schedule for the position. How many children will the nanny care for, and what are their ages? Does the nanny need to drive the children to school and special events, run errands or care for the home? Nannies will review your job description to determine if they are interested in the position and if they believe that they are a good match for it.

Gather Recommendations

Some parents post an ad online or even in a local newspaper. While this is one approach that you could take, it may not be the easiest place to start. Rather than consider individuals who are unproven and unvetted, request recommendations from close acquaintances, family members and co-workers. Even if they do not personally know a nanny who they can recommend, they may put you in touch with one of their acquaintances. Use social media to gather recommendations more easily.

Use a Nanny Service

Another option is to use a nanny service. Nanny services generally background check and screen their caregivers thoroughly, so this takes the time and stress out of vetting the individuals personally. More than that, nanny services can quickly put you in contact with caregivers who are available to meet your specific needs and have trustworthy reviews or references. If you have an urgent need for childcare and do not have weeks or months available to search for a nanny on your own, this may be a preferable option.

Schedule a Trial Session

Regardless of how you locate a nanny, avoid extending full-time and long-term employment to this individual until after you have worked with them. Invite your preferred caregiver to meet your children in your presence for an hour or two. When you are comfortable with the individual, you can leave the home for a few short sessions. Once you are confident in the reliability and trustworthiness of this individual, you may then extend an offer of employment.

The right nanny can enrich your children’s lives and improve the quality of life for your whole family. While you may be eager to enjoy the benefits of a nanny for in-home childcare, the best approach is to take time to find the right caregiver.

Choosing and Instructing a Babysitter: Tips For Parents

Mom with babysitter and child

Mom with babysitter and childWhether you are trying to find a new babysitter or you are in a situation where your previous babysitter is no longer available, you understandably need to find a trustworthy, caring individual to sit with your children while you are out of the house. Your children’s safety and happiness are paramount, so you cannot afford to make a hasty or ill-informed decision. These steps can guide you in making a thoughtful selection.

Review References

Parents commonly ask for recommendations when searching for a babysitter. UrbanSitter makes it easy for a parent to get these references from friends and neighbors because you’re immediately connected to all of the recommended sitters hired by your Facebook friends and neighborhood parents when you use UrbanSitter.

As you review the list of candidates in hand, consider the source of the referral. Does the person have children in a similar age range and with similar personality types? A babysitter who is great with one group of children may not be as wonderful with another group. You also should consider what qualities the reference source may have searched for in a babysitter. Some references may be laxer in their standards than others.

Ask Meaningful Questions

Reach out to a few babysitters who are on your shortlist of options. Inquire about typical availability and rates. Ask how many children he or she normally watches and their age ranges. Consider if the babysitter has a convenient and reliable way to get to and from your home. Specialized training may also be important, which can include basic first aid and CPR training. Here are some questions to ask your potential babysitter during an interview.

Observe the Babysitter

If you are comfortable with a babysitter’s responses to your questions, ask the individual to drop by your home for a short meeting. This is your opportunity to watch how well the babysitter gets along with your children. Does the babysitter actively play with your children? Do your children seem to like him or her? Does the babysitter effectively and compassionately maintain standards for behavior?

Schedule Short Outings

Plan to be away from the house for only an hour or two for the first few sessions. Choose times when the babysitter may need to prepare meals or put the children to bed. Provide the sitter with clear instructions. Understand that the babysitter may be challenged by behaviors that you are also a struggle for you to deal with. For example, some children are defiant at bedtime. These short outings provide you with the opportunity to test the babysitter’s skills in action and to determine how well he or she follows instructions that you have provided. It also allows your children and the babysitter to become more familiar with each other.

You may find a babysitter near you who you and your children adore by walking through these steps a single time. However, be prepared to compare the differences between several babysitters before you narrow down the options fully and settle on one individual.

DIY Parents: How to Organize the Craft Supplies

There’s a distinct downside to having art- and craft-loving kids. Namely: all that art- and craft-making stuff. Not to mention, the pile-up of the arts and crafts themselves. Find yourself vacuuming up perfectly good beads because you just can’t stand the never-ending sprawl of them across the living room floor? Or secretly tossing projects-in-process into the trash, then pretending you have no idea what became of them when your kid asks? Then you’ve clearly hit your craft-clutter limit.

Never fear, you can take this matter firmly into your own hands. For tips on how to make sense of your mess, we turned to Mabel’s Labels founder (and mom of six), Julie Cole—a woman who knows more than possibly anyone about getting and staying organized.

Toss it. Before you can even begin to tidy up, you first need to assess what should stay and what absolutely needs to go. Markers that don’t work anymore, paint brushes that have lost their bristles, yellowing wads of craft paper—all this should be sent straight to the trashcan. Also remember that not every piece of art your kid makes is created equal. Assess each one honestly, then hold on to those that really mean something to you and your family, and the ones that exhibit that special kid-art-genius flair.

Sort it. Set aside a little time each night or every weekend to pick through the crafty “keep” pile. This is the time to find the stray colored pencils, the paint tubes that wound up under the bathroom sink, the buttons that somehow got mixed in with the souvenir seashells, and put them all to rights—each kind of thing in its own designated pile. You might find more things that need to be deaccessioned. You will certainly discover which items you’ll need to replace—and which you never want to buy again (glitter, anyone? We didn’t think so).

Set it up. If you didn’t have a dedicated crafting area before, designate one now. Or, reclaim an established area with force and conviction. Even apartment dwellers can eek out a little room on the coffee table that’s just for making things, and one shelf (or three) that’s just for craft storage. Maybe your über-crafty kid wants to turn over part of his or her room to the endeavor. In which case, you can reassign closet, desk, and shelf space there. The real work? Making sure that the craft space stays a craft space and that supplies don’t leak out all over the rest of the house.

Stash it. Now it’s time to put everything away. For the big stuff, like rolls of paper and ribbon, and paint and crayon sets, pick up or repurpose some bright, colorful plastic bins that will fit neatly on your shelves. Stash smaller items like beads, buttons, rubber bands, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners in lidded glass jars. Frequently-used items like markers and pencils and even paintbrushes can be stashed in table-top canisters. Give all your bins and containers a home within easy reach of your smallest crafter. And be sure to label everything clearly, for easy cleanup today and hopefully forever!

Photographs courtesy of Mabel’s Labels

Crafty Kids: How to Make Maps of Your Neighborhood–and Your Imagination

Children love maps. The graphic imagery of even the simplest charts can give them lots to feast their eyes upon, and to dream about. But maps also help them make sense of the world around them—something grownups, who’ve committed thousands of routes to memory, often take for granted.

The warming weather provides the perfect opportunity to accompany your budding cartographer out into the neighborhood, to sketch up the way to a friend’s house, or the playground, or just once around the block. Some kids prefer to draw places they see in their imagination. Either way, inspired by the book Mapsby Aleksandra and Daniel Mizieliński, and featuring images from the accompanying Maps Activity Book, here we offer a primer in the ancient art of map making.

What you’ll need:

  • Writing implements—pencils and colored pencils, markers, pastels
  • Paper—either a printout of one of the templates below, or plain paper of your choosing

1.     Decide what you want to make a map of. Will it be a map of a place you know already—like your room or your block? Will it be a map of someplace big, like the whole Earth or a made-up planet? Or will it be a map of someplace small, like your school or your neighborhood? Take a tour of the place—if you can—to get the lay of the land.

2.     Map out your map. With light pencil or chalk marks, rough out where everything on your map will go: buildings, streets, parks, trees, oceans, cars—whatever you fancy! Then work on making your map more permanent, with firmer marks and color and details like windows on buildings, or waves on the sea, or leaves on your trees.

3.     Label the things you’ve drawn on your map: Nico’s house, the Indian Ocean, Christmas Street. Then, make a legend. A legend tells things like how many inches equal a mile, what the capital of your country is, and what the native language is. If you like, you can also draw pictures of local birds and flowers, and the people (or aliens!) who live here.

4.     Finally, make sure you give your map a compass rose, so the people who use it know which direction they’re heading in!

Hand drawn map by Ada Grazia Cowan.

Maps Activity Book. Copyright © 2013 by Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielińki. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

Maps. Text and illustrations copyright © 2012 by Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielińki. Translation copyright © 2013 by the Templar Company Ltd. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

Crafty Kids: How to Make a Woven Yarn God’s Eye

Woven Yarn God's Eye

The ojo de Dios (Spanish for “eye of God”) is a folk toy with origins among the Huichol Indians of the Sierra Madre. The four points of the crossed sticks are said to represent the elements of earth, air, water, and fire; the finished eye, replete with alternating stripes of yarn, is meant to offer health, fortune, and long life.

Extremely simple to put together, this bright, festive craft from our friends at Crafting Community forms the base for a great crib mobile—something for an older sibling to make for the new baby in the house. It’s also a super entry point for talking to kids about American history—and for parents to learn a little something, too.

What you’ll need:

  • Two sticks of equal length
  • Brightly colored yarn in 3 or 4 color
  • Scissors

1. Grab two sticks and tie them together in the middle with the end of your ball of yarn. Twist the sticks to form a ‘+’.


2. Wrapping in a clockwise direction, wind your yarn over and around 1, then 2, then 3, then 4. (See image at right for technique).

3. To switch up your colors, simply snip the yarn you’re working with and tie on a new color. Trim the excess and continue wrapping.

4. To finish your god’s eye, top knot your yarn around your final stick twice. Trim the excess yarn and you’re done!

To add tassels:

1. Loop yarn around your fingers 15x

2. Thread another piece of yarn through your loop and make a knot with long tails. Cut the end of your yarn loop to create fringe.

3. Tie your tassel on, knotting it to your gods eye on the back side.

4. Wrap one side of the tails around the arm of your gods eye several times, then knot it to the other tail to finish.