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.

A Comprehensive Guide to Receiving Blankets

Receiving blanket

Ever wondered what the fuss is about receiving blankets? As a new parent, the world of baby items can be overwhelming, and you may find yourself asking, “What is a receiving blanket?” or “Why do I need it?” Well, you are not alone. Receiving blankets are a staple in the world of newborn essentials, and knowing their uses, safety measures, and what to look for when buying one can be a game-changer. Let’s unpack everything you need to know.

What is a Receiving Blanket?

A receiving blanket, often a go-to item in a newborn’s world, is a lightweight, thin blanket, typically measuring around a square yard. They are usually made of materials such as cotton, flannel, or bamboo, known for their breathability and softness. Parents often receive these blankets as gifts, hence the name “receiving” blankets.

What are Receiving Blankets Used For?

Receiving blankets are the Swiss Army knife of baby essentials. Their uses are as varied as your imagination. Here are just a few ways you can use them:

  1. Swaddling: The standard blanket size provides ample room to comfortably swaddle your newborn.
  2. Bath Time Cover: Some babies can be dramatic about bath time. Wrapping them in a blanket and rocking them a little can help calm them down and warm them up before bedtime.
  3. Stroller Cover: In cooler weather or the summer heat, a receiving blanket works as a stroller cover to provide shade and warmth on walks or at the park.
  4. Tummy Time Mat: If you don’t like the idea of your baby getting a face full of carpet or dog hair, simply lay down a blanket during tummy time.
  5. Changing Mat: A receiving blanket is the perfect size and material to protect your baby from surfaces when you’re out.
  6. Nursing Cover: Keeping a blanket nearby while feeding comes in handy. It can serve as a breastfeeding cover or a burp cloth.

Receiving Blanket Vs Swaddle Blanket

While these two types of blankets are often used interchangeably, there are subtle but significant differences between them. Receiving blankets tend to be smaller (18-30 square inches) as they’re made for newborns and made of cotton or flannel, whereas swaddling blankets are larger (40+ square inches) and often made with thinner fabrics like muslin and bamboo, making them easy to wrap and extremely breathable. 

Safety Tips

When it comes to how you put your baby to sleep, safety is the top priority. Here are some safety guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Never leave blankets loose in a crib.
  • Never cover the baby with a blanket in the first year of life.
  • Never wrap blankets around the baby’s head or neck.
  • Stop swaddling when the baby starts rolling over.

Be sure to read through the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guide to safe sleep for more guidelines.

boy on Receiving blanket

Going Organic

Given that these blankets are in constant contact with your baby’s skin, it’s worth considering organic receiving blankets. They are free from harmful chemicals and pesticides, ensuring that your baby’s delicate skin is not exposed to any irritants.

When choosing an organic blanket, look out for certifications like Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) or OEKO-TEX. These certifications guarantee that the blanket is made out of organic fibers and is free from harmful chemicals.

How to Choose the Best Blanket

When shopping for your baby, it’s important to consider a few factors:

  • Durability: Receiving blankets are often more durable than swaddle blankets, thanks to their slightly thicker material.
  • Breathability: Choose a blanket material that is breathable. Bamboo and cotton are the best choices for breathable and light blanket fabric.
  • Sensitive Skin: Bamboo is the ideal fabric for taking care of a baby’s delicate skin. It has naturally smooth and rounded fibers that cause less irritation than even the best organic cotton.
  • Neutral Prints: Gender-neutral prints are trendy, aesthetically pleasing, and practical. They can be used for all of your children and even handed down to friends.
  • Size: Opting for a larger blanket can prevent you from having to buy something bigger as your baby grows.

How Much Receiving Blankets Cost

The average price of a receiving blanket ranges from $10 to $20, while organic receiving blankets can cost upwards of $30. Some popular brands that parents like are:

How to Make Your Own Blanket

Feeling crafty? Here’s a DIY step-by-step guide on how to sew a special one-of-a-kind receiving blanket.

Remember to always prioritize your baby’s safety and comfort when choosing a receiving blanket. Whether you’re buying one or making it yourself, ensure it’s soft, durable, and breathable.

Navigating the world of parenthood can be overwhelming, especially during the newborn and toddler stages. Let UrbanSitter help you find an experienced, background-checked nanny, babysitter, mother’s helper, or night nanny in your area. Trust us; a little help can go a long way during these early days!

Related: What should I look for in a babysitter

Tried, true and trusted infant care

Find affordable care for newborns and infants with UrbanSitter.

5 Ways to Celebrate Preschool or Kindergarten Graduation

Preschool graduation

Don’t let your little one’s preschool or kindergarten graduation pass by without fanfare. Remember the momentous milestone and their special day with these fun ways to celebrate.

1. What’s a party without a cake?

Whether your grad’s party is the real deal or just a classroom celebration, make it memorable with a celebratory graduation cake like this adorable one from Sugar Creation. It makes use of a dummy cake for the top layer, which makes it a little easier to create… assuming you have decorating skills on par with hers!

via Sugar Creations
via Sugar Creations

2. Get a special graduation shirt to mark the big day.

You’ll eliminate the “what to wear” battle on graduation day and likely many other days, too, with a special kindergarten graduation shirt. After the celebration, let them wear it to show they’ve been there and done that.

via Cafe Press
via Cafe Press


3. Bring kindergarten graduation gifts for the class.

Free printable graduation stickers are a simple way to turn a lollipop and a pencil into a party favor.

via Zazzle
via Zazzle

4. Stage a kindergarten graduation photoshoot.

With a little thinking ahead, you can take your own kindergarten graduation pictures to freeze the day in time. You’ll love pulling it out in 12 years or so to compare to their high school graduation photo.

URBS_graduation_nada almashat
via Nada Almashat

5. Create a Memory Board.

This affordable, printable chalkboard template is a cute way to remember the year. You can record their favorites, the names of their best friends, and memorable moments and firsts. Mount it on foam board for a party or photo prop, or paste it in scrapbook or photo book that wraps up the year or their preschool career.

What are your ideas for celebrating the little ones’ graduation day? Let us know in the comments below!

Summer child care, solved!

Find a summer nanny or a driver to help with camp pick ups with UrbanSitter.

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!

Nanny Interview Questions: A Guide for Parents

nanny interview

Finding the right nanny involves evaluating their skills, experience, values, and parenting philosophy through a comprehensive interview. We’ll walk you through a list of the best nanny interview questions for parents to ask candidates.

Why Conduct a Nanny Interview?

Let’s pause and understand the importance of conducting a nanny interview. Your child’s caregiver will have a significant impact, so it’s vital to assess skills, experience, and personality traits that align with your family.

Preparing your Nanny Interview Questions

Before the interview, prepare by reviewing the nanny’s resume, references, and certifications. Consider your family’s needs and values to tailor your questions.

A Complete Guide to Nanny Interview Questions

Step 1: Get to Know the Candidate

The first set of questions aims to get to know the candidate better, allowing you to gauge their experience, preferences, and overall suitability for the role.

These questions will help you understand the candidate’s level of experience, their comfort with different age groups, and whether they have any relevant skills or knowledge outside of childcare. It’s important to listen not only to their answers but also to the level of enthusiasm and passion they display when discussing their experiences.

Basic questions to ask:

  • How long have you been caring for children?
  • What age groups have you cared for?
  • What is your favorite age to care for, and why?
  • Have you had any previous work or life experiences that have helped you in your role as a nanny?

Download a free PDF with the full list of nanny interview questions

Step 2: Assess Training, Education, and Background

Next, ensure that the nanny has received proper training and education, which is crucial for your child’s safety and development.

These questions will help you verify the candidate’s knowledge of essential emergency procedures and their commitment to ongoing professional development. Fluency in other languages can also be a valuable asset, especially if you want your child to be exposed to different cultures or if you have a multilingual household.

  • Are you trained in CPR and first aid?
  • Have you taken any child care courses or certifications? Are you open to further training if necessary?
  • What is your education level?
  • Are you fluent in any languages other than English?

Download a free PDF with the full list of nanny interview questions

Step 3: Evaluate Previous Nanny Positions

Understanding a candidate’s work history and their experiences as a nanny is essential for assessing their compatibility with your family.

Asking about their past experiences will provide insight into their ability to handle various situations and their overall approach to childcare. Pay attention to their problem-solving skills, adaptability, and communication style when listening to their responses.

  • What was your most recent nanny position? If there was a gap, what did you do during that time?
  • Can you describe your typical daily routine with your previous family?
  • What were the best and worst aspects of your previous job?
  • Have you encountered any negative work situations in the past? If so, what did you learn from them?
  • How have you handled difficult situations, such as a crying baby or a child talking back?
  • Have you ever experienced a childcare emergency? If so, how did you handle it?

Download a free PDF with the full list of nanny interview questions

Step 4: Assess Compatibility with Your Family’s Needs

It’s important to ensure that a potential nanny aligns with your family’s unique requirements and circumstances. These questions will help you determine whether the candidate has the necessary experience and flexibility to meet your child’s specific needs. It’s important to communicate openly about any unique requirements your family may have, such as dietary restrictions, cultural practices, or medical conditions.

  • What is your experience with children who have specific needs or conditions, such as allergies or special educational requirements?
  • Have you ever worked with a family for an extended period? What was your experience like?
  • Are you looking for a long-term position, or do you have a specific timeframe in mind for your next role?

Download a free PDF with the full list of nanny interview questions

Step 5: Explore Childcare Style and Approach

Understanding a nanny’s childcare style and approach is crucial to ensure a good fit for your family.

These questions will give you insight into the candidate’s values, approach to discipline, and ability to handle challenging situations. Look for answers that align with your own parenting philosophy and demonstrate empathy, patience, and problem-solving skills.

  • What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?
  • What do you find most challenging?
  • How do you handle difficult situations, such as a child’s tantrums or disagreements with parents?
  • How do you approach discipline? What is the nanny’s role in disciplining a child?

Download a free PDF with the full list of nanny interview questions

Nanny Interview Questions to Avoid

It’s essential to be aware of questions that are legally prohibited or may invade the candidate’s privacy. Avoid asking about the following topics during the interview:

  1. Age
  2. Race or ethnic background
  3. Religion or religious views
  4. Sexual orientation
  5. Marital status or plans for pregnancy
  6. Disability or medical history
  7. Arrest record

As an employer, it is important to adhere to equal employment opportunity guidelines and respect the candidate’s privacy and individual rights.

Additional Interview Considerations

Apart from asking specific questions, there are a few other factors to consider when evaluating a potential nanny:

  1. Interaction with your child: Observe how the candidate interacts with your child during the interview or a playdate. Look for signs of warmth, attentiveness, and engagement.
  2. Communication skills: Assess the candidate’s ability to communicate effectively, both with you and your child. Clear and open communication is vital to ensure a successful working relationship.
  3. Reliability and punctuality: Consider the candidate’s reliability and punctuality during the interview process. Being on time and demonstrating a strong work ethic are important qualities for a nanny.
  4. Trust your instincts: Ultimately, trust your instincts and intuition when evaluating a potential nanny. If something feels off or doesn’t align with your family’s values, it may be a sign to explore other candidates.

Preparing a thorough list of nanny interview questions is crucial to finding the perfect caregiver for your child. By asking the right questions and carefully considering the candidate’s qualifications, experience, and compatibility, you can make an informed decision. Remember to create a comfortable and open environment during the interview to encourage honest and meaningful conversations.

At UrbanSitter, we understand that interviewing and hiring a nanny can be a daunting process. With our extensive trusted caregiver network, you’ll be able to find the best fit for your family in no time! Sign up today and start looking for your ideal nanny.

Related: Conducting Reference Checks

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Have Baby, Will Travel

Traveling with a baby

Whether you’re taking a road trip or facing a long flight together, the thought of traveling with an infant can be daunting, especially for first-timers. But, the trip doesn’t have to be a hairy one.

In fact, infants often make for much better travel companions than their squirmy, mobile, older siblings! Consider these tips from the experts for smooth, stress-free travel with your baby this summer.

Tips for Traveling with Infants

  1. Travel Light. We think babies require a lot of stuff, but whittle down your daily baby care items to the bare essentials, and you’ll be surprised at how little a baby really needs. Unless you’re headed to a remote location, you can lighten the load significantly by renting the big, must-have items and have them waiting for you when you arrive. Rental companies such as Babyquip, Rents 4 Baby and will deliver to your destination, so no need to lug a crib or pack-n-play, jogging stroller, high chair, bicycle baby carrier, swing or baby gates. Verywell has a list of the best baby rental equipment.
    • They’ll also deliver car seats. Another option is to reserve one through your rental car carrier. Just be sure to request one in advance, making sure it’s the appropriate size, since supplies seem to be limited.
    • Another helpful hint for keeping the packing to a minimum –  purchase diapers, formula and extra baby wipes when you arrive, rather than carrying a large supply with you.
  2. Think ahead and be prepared. Ever try to carry a baby through a busy airport, thinking it was easier to check the stroller at baggage claim? Ever try to hold an infant while using a public restroom? Not fun. Make it easier on yourself by becoming one with your stroller while traveling. Not only will it save you from having to carry your precious cargo, it will also provide a place to change a diaper or let a tired little one get some rest. Along with the stroller, be sure you have an especially well-packed diaper bag, carry-on or tote. A diaper bag packed for an infant should include:
    • at least two changes of simple, low-fuss clothes and socks (blow-outs happen when you least expect them!)
    • diapers and plenty of baby wipes
    • a bottle and formula if you are bottle-feeding, a pacifier (especially helpful to combat air-pressure changes while flying)
    • hand sanitizer
    • light blanket to warm a chilly baby, serve as a nursing shield or provide a place to lie your baby down for a stretch.
    • any necessary medications, sunscreen, and diaper rash cream.
  3. Consider applying for TSA PreCheck
    • To make traveling through the airport even easier, you might want to apply for TSA PreCheck.  Children under 12 can go through TSA PreCheck with an adult who has it. With TSA Pre, your family won’t need to remove shoes, belts, toiletries, personal electronics such as an iPad or laptop or jackets, plus the line moves much more quickly. Keep in mind there is a cost to applying, however many credit cards will reimburse you.
  4. Keep to a schedule. Most parents agree with the experts who tell us that babies who stick to a schedule or routine are often the most content.
    • While it’s not always possible to follow the exact routine you have at home, you can typically feed, change and put your baby to sleep with some consistency. You and your baby will have a happier trip if she’s not skipping naps or missing bottles or snacks.
  5. Incorporate time for yourself and time with your spouse or partner. No matter how well you plan and prepare, travel with a baby can be stressful and tiring. Give yourself a break by making time to take care of yourself and your adult relationships. Let Dad do solo duty for a bit while you splurge on a spa treatment, take a nap or simply lounge by the pool with a good book.
    • You can both get a break and a chance to see the sights by taking advantage of a local babysitter. Hotels can often recommend local babysitters, though it’s typically less expensive and more convenient to find and book a trustworthy babysitter on UrbanSitter. You’ll have greater peace of mind leaving your child in a new sitter’s care after reading her profile and other parents’ reviews on the site.

Before long, your tiny travel companion will become an energetic toddler in tow! Check out these tips for happy traveling with tots and little kids.

Looking for a babysitter or nanny while on vacation? Join UrbanSitter to find sitters at your vacation destination. 

2021 New Year’s Eve Babysitting Rates & Tips

New Year's Eve Babysitter Tip, New Year's Eve Sitter Rates

Countdown to the New Year! Certainly, after the last couple of years, parents are ready to celebrate the new year in a big way! Or just get together with a few friends to toast to a wonderful new year. If you’re going out, what’s that going to cost you? What are the New Year’s Eve babysitting rates this year? Do sitters expect a NYE babysitting tip too?

We asked hundreds of sitters across the United States to see if they plan to work on New Year’s Eve, if they’ve already booked a job, what their New Year’s Eve sitter rate will be, do they expect NYE perks and more…

The Highlights of New Year’s Eve Babysitting Rates

  • The majority of sitters, 76%, either have a job or are hoping to book at NYE babysitting job.
  • Sitters plan to ask for a premium this year, with 80% charging 1.5 to more than 2x their normal hourly babysitting rate. In addition, 57% expect a NYE babysitting tip on top of their hourly rate – making going out on NYE a pricey occasion.
  • 24% of New Year’s Eve babysitters do expect transportation to/from the babysitting job, whereas the majority, 76%, do not.
  • Dinner is split about evenly, with 45% expecting dinner and 55% not expecting it.

Covid’s Impact on NYE Babysitting

  • When asked if the sitter would work for a family that doesn’t plan to get vaccinated, 42% said they would not work with an unvaccinated family, whereas 37% yes they would, and 21% were on the fence.
NYE babysitting rates

Key Reasons a Sitter would not Decline a New Year’s Eve Babysitting Job

  • More money, higher hourly wage, tips
  • Working for a family they enjoy
  • Close to home
  • Feeling appreciated for giving up their New Year’s Eve so the parents can go out
  • Being valued
  • Extra incentives, such as transportation, extra pay and dinner
  • No extra perks needed – they simply love being a babysitter, regardless of it being a holiday

UrbanSitter Guides to New Year’s Eve Babystting Rates – Past Editions

2019 New Year’s Eve Babysitting Rates

2018 Holiday Tipping New Year’s Eve Babysitting Rates

2017 Holiday Tipping Guide New Year’s Eve Babysitting Rates

2016 Holiday Tipping Gifting New Year’s Eve Babysitter & Nanny Bonuses

2015 4th Annual Holiday Gifting & Tipping Survey on Babysitter and Nanny Bonuses

2014 3rd Annual Holiday Gifting Survey on Babysitter Gifts and Nanny Bonuses

2013 2nd Annual Holiday Gifting Survey on Babysitter Gifts and Nanny Bonuses

Looking for babysitter gift ideas for the holidays? Check out our Ultimate Babysitter Gift Guide & Nanny Bonus

Book your NYE sitter now and enjoy a night out without the kids!  

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.

What is a virtual babysitter? Does it actually work?

virtual babysitter doing yoga with child

Wondering if a virtual babysitter is right for you? As families continue to social distance, we know we’ll see less traditional babysitting. But, that doesn’t mean parents don’t need help right now! Many dual working families are struggling to keep up with work and homeschooling, and even an hour of time to themselves could be what keeps them sane.

What do virtual sitters do?

Many babysitters and nannies are now offering virtual babysitter services via video calls. During a virtual sitting, a babysitter or nanny keeps a child happy and engaged with activities suitable for video chat, such as storytime for younger kids and homework help for older kids. Parents are always at home, but likely in a separate room either working or taking care of chores.

Tips for success

To prevent screen time fatigue, these types of virtual jobs should be kept to 1-2 hours long only. Some parents book several virtual jobs to cover their work day with necessary breaks for the kids in-between. Virtual sitting is also more successful with older children, who are more familiar with engaging over video.

Additionally, several families can share a virtual sitter by using video conference software. This saves families money, make sitters more money, and create more fun for the kids! Wondering how much to pay a virtual babysitter? View average babysitting rates in your city.

Examples of virtual babysitting activities:

Younger children:

  • Storytime
  • Singing songs
  • Pretend play
  • Charades 
  • Dance party or competition
  • Letter/color of the day
  • Counting practice 
  • Practice reading aloud
  • Telling jokes
  • Play “I spy…”
  • Tour of each other’s homes
  • Child introduces all of their stuffed animals or toys
  • Simple crafts with household items

Older children:

  • Virtual learning & homework help
  • Music lessons
  • Drawing lesson or draw each other’s face 
  • Pictionary 
  • Exercise together 
  • Yoga & meditation
  • Origami
  • Riddles
  • Play “20 questions”
  • Magic tricks 
  • Virtual board games or bingo
  • Compete to see who can build the tallest tower of playing cards or plastic cups

UrbanSitter babysitters: If you have a virtual babysitting specialty, consider adding it to your profile.  For example, if you teach yoga, let parents know you’d be up for teaching a virtual yoga lesson.

See here for UrbanSitter’s most recent COVID-19 health and safety information.

Interested in booking a virtual babysitter? Post a job on UrbanSitter today!

An Interview with CEO and Founder of Emi

EMI Urbansitter

EMI Urbansitter

Aya Takeuchi is the CEO and Founder of Emi, a technology company on a mission to help people maintain happy and meaningful relationships in a busy world. 

1. Parents often use Valentine’s Day as a date night to reconnect, what are your tips for making the most of connection time?

The most obvious one is to be grateful for the time together and to be present for each other. Some people get bogged down on the “where” and “what” of Valentines Day and get stressed out wanting it to be different and special. Tell yourself that it’s ok if it’s a place you’ve been to before, or if it’s just grabbing ice cream, or a movie, or even staying home. After all, you have kids and are tired parents! The important thing is that you’ve made a conscious effort to plan and do something together. 

2. Do you have suggestions for parents who are looking to make one-on-one time more frequent and often find they just can’t make it happen?

I think the key is scheduling it in your calendar, so both of you can see it, and make a pact that it’s something you don’t reschedule. Once you start rescheduling it’s a slippery slope! My partner and I have a weekly date night every Thursday and a recurring babysitter scheduled, so it’s more of a pain to cancel or reschedule her. 

Of course, there are many parents who can’t make weekly date nights happen for various reasons. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be something expensive or as time-consuming as date night. You can build in small one-on-one time during the day in your daily routines. This can be: waking up 15 minutes early to sit and eat breakfast together, clearing the dishes together, playing a board game after the kids go to bed, reading out loud together before going to bed. With young kids it’s difficult to carve out a huge chunk of time, but take some time to think about what you already do daily and see if you can find a way to do it together, or use an app like Emi to remind you to build simple, daily positive routines. However you’re able to make time for each other, it’s ok to put it on your calendar to hold each other and yourself accountable! 

3. What is one habit that you see healthy/happy couples embracing?

Creating their own rituals. This doesn’t have to be cheesy, or time consuming, or something you make a big deal out of – just be conscious about what this ritual is for you and when you’re doing it. You can make it a part of something you already do, so it’s easier to make it a routine and stick. 

Some examples crowdsourced from our Emi community include:

  • I say I love you before going to sleep every night 
  • I make my wife a cappuccino every morning that I am able to
  • We keep a notebook in our bathroom and take turns writing each other little love notes
  • Once, a text saying “muah” autocorrected to “mush” and it stuck. Now we send a quick “mush” to each other to say hello, I love you 

It’s easier said than done, but small, shared, touchpoints such as these throughout the day can make you feel a lot more connected. If you like any of these, make it your own – if not, give some thought to what might work for you and your partner. You can also find more community tips like these when using the  Emi app.

4. Tell us a bit about Emi and what inspired you to start it.

The idea for Emi was born out of life experience; my husband and I were struggling to juggle demanding careers while raising three young children. Nurturing our relationship took second place to the daily hustle, and we could not find an easy solution to find mental and emotional space for each other. Despite there being many apps focused on mindfulness for self, I realized there was no simple solution to bring mindful practices to family life, even though studies have proven that intimate relationships are the single biggest predictor of longevity and health. After consulting many friends, self-help books, and marriage therapists, I realized that I was not alone in my search, and made it my mission to deliver those learnings to every home and make the concept of modern tech-enabled relationship enrichment mainstream. 


Aya Takeuchi is the CEO and Founder of Emi, a technology company on a mission to help people maintain happy and meaningful relationships in a busy world. Emi, which means smile in Japanese, is building products based on the latest psychological research that’s uncovered how intimate relationships are critical to every person’s health, happiness, and wellbeing. Before founding Emi, Aya held leadership roles at various tech giants and startups including Amazon,, Mixi and Trusper. In her personal life, Aya stays fit by chasing after her 3 young children, which includes a set of toddler twins. 

To learn more about Emi and sign up for free (you can sign up alone or with a partner), visit: