UrbanSitter surveyed parents to find out how they’re managing parenting issues during COVID, their holiday plans, and predictions for 2021.Continue reading
With many schools going online-only or adopting staggered schedules with distance learning days, some families are banding together to form at-home “pandemic pods” to provide child care, structure, socialization and educational help for their pod of children.
Here are a few tips to finding a pod sitter or nanny to teach, tutor, or supervise for your pandemic pod, or visit our Guide to Pandemic Pods for a full step-by-step guide to forming and running your pod.
Determine your needs and budget
What you are looking for in a pod sitter and how much you’re willing to pay? If your pod is academically focused a.k.a. a “learning pod,” you may want a sitter with a teacher or tutor background and credentials, which will come with a higher pay rate. You can also expect to pay more per child if your children are very young (i.e. a “play pod” for infants and toddlers) or if there are fewer children in your pod. The average rate for a pod sitter on UrbanSitter ranges from $10-15 per hour per child.
Write a detailed job description
Your job description should outline responsibilities and expectations, including the number of children and families, length of commitment, hours, location and rate. Be sure to share the ages and grade levels of the children and disclose any learning disabilities or special circumstances.
Some schools provide a distance learning curriculum, while others do not, so you should note if the sitter is expected to create their own curriculum. Additionally, indicate what type of interaction, if any, the children will have with their school (video classes, assignments from teachers, online tools, etc.).
Your job description should also describe the learning space (is it your backyard or does the venue rotate from house-to-house) and the learning supplies that will be provided. It will also be important to note if parents or other adults will be in the home during pod hours. Most importantly, disclose COVID-19 requirements and commitments to safety.
Sample job description for a pod sitter:
Our group of three families is looking for a tutor to help our three first graders 5 days a week in a “pod”. All three kids are well-behaved and get along. Note: One child has mild dyslexia, so experience with that is a plus! The kids are distance learning with their curriculum from Washington Elementary School.
All of our families live in the same neighborhood and we’ll set up a learning space in my backyard. You’ll be provided with all supplies and a picnic table. Each child will have a tablet with wifi. My husband and I will be home but we will stay inside of our office while you’re here. Parents will drop off their kids at 9 am and pick them up at 3 pm.
COVID testing & safety: We’ll ask you to follow CDC guidelines and check your temperature every morning before coming. We’ll also pay for your regular testing and add you to our UrbanSitter family plan for test & symptom monitoring.
Interview qualified candidates
Next, use a child care site like UrbanSitter to find pod sitter candidates to interview. UrbanSitter makes it easy to find background-checked, qualified candidates with advanced search filters for type of teaching experience, COVID-19 related screening questions, and COVID-19 test monitoring & symptom checking in partnership with Collective Go™. Pod jobs on UrbanSitter receive an average of 20 applicants or more in most areas.
In preparation for your interview, pod families may want to meet ahead of time to discuss the interview questions that will be asked or to decide if one parent will lead the interview process, screening a longer list of candidates to narrow the list down to top picks for the rest of the families to meet. Video call interviews conveniently allow all families to join in at the same time.
Hire and check in regularly
Once you’ve selected your pod sitter, hire them using a booking app such as UrbanSitter, which conveniently allows you to schedule weekly dates and times and set up payments by credit card.
To encourage communication between you and your pod sitter, schedule regular check-ins to talk about how things are going, what needs to be adjusted, and to give and receive feedback. Be sure to coordinate in advance with the other pod families about how and when feedback will be shared to ensure the pod sitter isn’t receiving conflicting feedback from the different families. Also, check regularly that you are complying with your state and county’s COVID-19 and child care licensing policies.
Virtual babysitting opens up a world of exciting possibilities for kids to take yoga lessons, drawing classes, and even get homeschool help—all from the safety of home, while their parents get tasks done or work from home.
And, since virtual babysitting takes place over video chat, parents can hire sitters who live anywhere in the country, so they can book the best of the best. To book a virtual babysitter, hire one of the sitters below or post a job on UrbanSitter (Hint: Set your address to any major city for the biggest selection of sitters!). And, be sure to book jobs in your sitter’s local timezone.
Here are a few super talented babysitters ready to engage and entertain kids with a virtual babysitting session!
Singing & Music
Singing, reading, homeschooling, teaching Spanish
110 Reviews | 102 Repeat families
Singing, reading, acting out stories, finger play
32 Reviews | 23 Repeat families
Singing, reading stories, learning the alphabet and counting
42 Reviews | 45 Repeat families
Singing, reading, telling jokes, teaching knitting
28 Reviews | 26 Repeat families
Singing, storytelling/reading, science experiments, crafts, cooking, tutoring
16 Reviews | 1 Repeat family
36 Reviews | 24 Repeat families
Singing, teaching piano
11 Reviews | 9 Repeat families
Singing, story time, helping with schoolwork
11 Reviews | 8 Repeat families
Singing, reading, helping with homework
6 Reviews | 2 Repeat families
Singing, doing flash cards
7 Reviews | 8 Repeat families
Yoga & Dance
Yoga, teaching violin
18 Reviews | 17 Repeat families
Dance parties, yoga, reading, help with homework
7 Reviews | 8 Repeat families
Ballet, choreography, coloring, drawing, origami
62 Reviews | 60 Repeat families
Yoga, children’s games
18 Reviews | 16 Repeat families
Dancing, yoga, reading, home schooling
21 Reviews | 15 Repeat families
Exercising, Spanish language, meditation
19 Reviews | 9 Repeat families
Yoga, teaching art, reading, homeschooling
18 Reviews | 8 Repeat families
Dance, yoga, story time, singing
18 Reviews | 8 Repeat families
6 Reviews | 2 Repeat families
Yoga, cooking, music
7 Reviews | 4 Repeat families
Homeschool & Tutoring
Homeschooling (elementary), tutoring, reading, stretching exercises
45 Reviews | 35 Repeat families
Homeschooling, tutoring, teaching Dutch
50 Reviews | 51 Repeat families
Homeschooling (preschool, elementary), reading stories
23 Reviews | 14 Repeat families
Homeschooling, reading stories, playing games
17 Reviews | 15 Repeat families
6 Reviews | 3 Repeat families
Tutoring in phonics, elementary math, elementary science, middle and high school writing, biology, algebra, geometry, trigonometry
Homeschooling, reading stories
6 Reviews | 3 Repeat families
Tutoring in math
13 Reviews | 6 Repeat families
Reading & Storytime
Reading stories, playing games, creating stories together
37 Reviews | 21 Repeat families
Reading, art, science projects
30 Reviews | 20 Repeat families
9 Reviews | 5 Repeat families
9 Reviews | 6 Repeat families
Reading stories, dance parties, I spy
9 Reviews | 7 Repeat families
Telling stories, puzzles, teaching meditation, drawing together
8 Reviews | 9 Repeat families
Reading stories, practicing ABC’s, math, science, art
6 Reviews | 6 Repeat families
Reading stories, Spanish language
6 Reviews | 5 Repeat families
18 Reviews | 17 Repeat families
Homework help (K-4th grade)
13 Reviews | 26 Repeat families
For the latest updates on UrbanSitter COVID-19 childcare, please visit our FAQ: Coronavirus Precautions and Resources.
Deciding how much to pay your babysitter or nanny? According to UrbanSitter’s 2018 child care study of more than 20,000 families across the country, the average hourly babysitting rate is $16.43 for one child. Read on for babysitting rates in your city and more interesting facts:
- San Francisco ranks as the most expensive city to hire a babysitter at $17.34/hour for one child. Phoenix is home to the least expensive babysitters in the nation: $11.83/hour for one child.
- 60% of parents surveyed said they’ll spend over $1,000 on babysitters this year. 40% of parents surveyed will spend over $30,000 a year for their nanny.
- Date nights are the number one reason that parents hire sitters.
- 55% of parents surveyed will tip their babysitter, while 83% will offer extra perks like TV and free food.
All the sitters of everyone you trust. All in one place.
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Ever wonder how much others tip around the holidays? UrbanSitter asked families to share how they handle holiday tipping – from babysitters and nannies to dog walkers and mail carriers. Here are a few highlights:
- $50-$100 cash or gift card is the popular holiday tip for babysitters.
- One week’s pay is what most families tip their nannies.
- $15-$25 cash is the standard holiday tip for dog walkers.
With New Year’s Eve around the corner, many parents are wondering how to secure a babysitter for the big night. The answer according to our survey: pay 20% more than usual. Check the map below for average New Year’s Eve babysitting hourly rates in your area.
- $17.88 per hour is the national average New Year’s Eve babysitting rate for 1 child. In New York City, it’s $18.81 per hour.
- Free cab rides and dinner are among the “extras” parents use to entice sitters into taking the job.
- 46% of parents surveyed tip extra just because it’s New Year’s Eve.
We surveyed over 20,000 families from all across the country to get the scoop on what parents are willing to pay for—and what they’re willing to pay extra for—when it comes to childcare in 2017!
- San Francisco came in as the most expensive city for babysitters once again in 2017, with $17.34/hour for one child as the average rate. While Denver has the least expensive babysitters in the nation, at $12.22/hour for one child, on average.
- 48% of parents said they spend over $1,000 a year on childcare.
- Over 90% of parents say they require references, either some or all of the time, when hiring a new sitter.
- Almost 1/3 of parents hire a sitter at least once a week. While only 5% say they hire a sitter once a year or less.
8 tried-and-true ways to provide child care and work together with work-at-home parents
Babysitting or nannying while parents are working from home can all too often become a case of ‘too many cooks in the kitchen.’ Children often want to stick close to mom and dad, and the sitter may struggle to distract them enough to give the parents some space. We asked UrbanSitter’s experienced babysitters for tips on how to navigate the nanny/parents relationship and provide exceptional child care while parents are home — here’s what they said!
The only way to ensure that both you and the parent(s) are on the same page is to talk about it. “Before starting the actual sitting, I have a conversation with the parents about the developmental stages of their child,” says nanny Nadia Joseph. “I ask if I can make any suggestions and we go from there.” Open communication can be a way to encourage teamwork and set a standard for honesty for everyone. You can say:
- I’ve noticed as baby grows out of infancy she has become better at recognizing who her primary caretakers are. What are some ways we can work together to make sure she doesn’t get confused or upset when you are working from home while I take care of her?
This strategy worked for Joseph, who says that “while initially we had some pretty challenging situations, with major temper tantrums when kids heard or saw their parents, we agreed on a plan and strategies and the parents are on board.”
Looking for babysitter and nanny jobs? Create a free profile at UrbanSitter.com and start applying today!
2. Establish boundaries
“The best way to co-exist with a parent at home is to accept that there are boundaries,” says UrbanSitter member Christy Chan. When working with parents who are accepting of your role as a childcare provider, use this to your advantage. Use professional language to clearly establish what is and is not fair, and come to a common agreement. Examples may include:
- Baby tends to get confused when he sees you coming in and out of the office during his playtime, which makes him fussy. We are going to stay in the living room and nursery today so that he doesn’t get mixed up. Would you mind if I got some one on one time with him?
- When toddler has multiple people in her room shortly before naptime, she has a hard time falling asleep. Would you like to be in charge of putting her down today, or should I? We can take turns.
Babysitter Safiya Taylor has been able to use this technique well, saying, “generally the kiddos know that I am in charge once I show up, so they don’t really run off to the parents when they don’t get their way!” Sitter Dalia Cabrera Martinez agrees, stating that this type of sitting works best when “they usually close their office door and try not to come out unless they want to spend time with the kids.”
3. Say goodbye
Experienced nanny and mom Susan Malone says “learning to say goodbye happily” is crucial. In this case, you and the parent set the tone for the child, so cheerful goodbyes help to create an environment in which the child is happy to be in your care, even when their parent is also at home. Going through familiar goodbye routines can help the child understand the transition from being in the care of their parents, to being in your care, even if the mom or dad remains in the home.
4. Make it a game
Another tip when providing child care while parents are home, making a game out of goodbyes is a fun and helpful coping mechanism, generally best for older children. This method has worked for UrbanSitter member Dori Heather, who says that she and the children she take care of “make a game out of it somewhat,” with rules such as needing to stay quiet outside of the parents’ office door. You can make up the rules of the game as you go, with suggestions such as:
- Asking the kids to be ‘as quiet as a mouse’ or to ‘tiptoe as softly as a cat’ near the area where the parent is working.
- Pretend the floor is lava and the office space is a volcano, and thus off limits.
5. Take the kids outside
“I usually choose to take the child outside of the home, returning briefly for meals, naps, et cetera,” says baby sitter Ava Martinez. This achieves two goals: both bringing the child away from the immediate temptation of being with their parents, and engaging them in fun activities outside of the house, affording them opportunities to learn and to have fun. It’s a win win for uninterrupted work – the parents can concentrate on working from home and the babysitter can provide the child care without distraction.
6. Change as needed
As children grow older, their needs change. Whereas a toddler may not have a need to be close to their parent every single moment of a day, a breastfed infant must be in close physical proximity to her mother. Being respectful of both the parent and child’s needs is crucial. With new parents, sitter Alexandra De Martini suggests being “especially mindful of the mom or partner just starting back to work, as they might not be totally sure what they want and their needs will evolve over the next few weeks.”
7. Have fun with it
“My current nanny family, the dad works from home and honestly it doesn’t bother me whatsoever. We have an excellent relationship and he respects me as a nanny so I am never bothered! I act the same as if I were home alone,” says Pennsylvania sitter Caleema Lawler. Actively put work into establishing positive camaraderie with both the parents and children so that you all feel totally comfortable in each others’ presence. This can come in many forms—intentionally spending time together with both the parents and children together to get to know one another and having monthly scheduled meetings to communicate successes and issues are two suggestions.
8. Move on it it’s not right
If you are aware that babysitting while the parent works from home is something that you wouldn’t be comfortable with, move on from the opportunity. Instead, take roles that allow your natural talents to shine and leave these experiences to other sitters.
Leaving a family—whether it be on good or bad terms—can be one of the most difficult relationships for a nanny to navigate. Sometimes, it can feel less like leaving a babysitting job, and more like a breakup. You can make the transition easier by acting professionally in all of your interactions, being straightforward in your communications, and having the confidence to be secure in your decision. We asked UrbanSitter’s experienced nannies and babysitters to weigh in with their best advice. Following these tips can encourage a positive changeover for you, the children, and the family.
1. Give two weeks notice
“I would give the family an appropriate amount of time so that they can find a replacement,” says Sacramento babysitter Morlyn Walker. Two weeks is the nanny industry standard, and offers the family enough space to make arrangements for when you leave.
2. Put in in writing
Writing an email ensures that you can clearly communicate everything you need to say. You can edit your thoughts until you’re sure they’re perfect. When dealing with sensitive topics face to face, families and sitters can freeze up and avoid the subject altogether. Emails can also be referenced if your departure turns into a game of ‘he said, she said.’
3. …but have a face-to-face conversation
That being said, talking about it in person will be necessary at some point. By sending an email primer, you’ve prepared the parents for the conversation. Sending a two week notice via email, then following up with a conversation in person can adequately prepare both you and the parent for the subject at hand. Having a conversation in person with the children present can be a good opportunity to share and reminisce about your favorite memories during your time working together.
4. Help find your replacement
UrbanSitter member Geraldine Ang says, “If I knew of a good fit, I’d refer the family to another sitter and offer help during the transition!” This gesture of goodwill can work wonders to make sure you maintain a good relationship with the family, as well as ensuring that the kids will be well cared for in the future.
5. …and train them
Dedicating time to making sure the new baby sitter knows the ropes shows your commitment to the kids. This may also be a rare opportunity to work side by side with another childcare provider and learn from each other.
6. End on good terms
Leaving on a job on good terms can open the doors to opportunities to use your experience there as references later. It can also help with hard transitions when leaving the kids that you’ve come to care about so deeply. If you end your professional relationship with no hard feelings, it opens the door towards possibly creating a friendship between you and your employers.
Try and approach leaving a job with respect for your employer, and respect for yourself. By following these simple tips, you can make your transition easier on everyone. Do you have any suggestions for leaving a babysitting family? Let us know!
Find great babysitter and nanny jobs with UrbanSitter!
Kate Talbot has built her successful career by using digital storytelling to empower communities at brands like Kiva and Virgin America, as well as scale early-stage startups for growth. In her free time, she writes for online publications like Social Media Examiner and KISSmetrics, educating small business owners and entrepreneurs on how to successfully use millennial social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat to build their brands. Recently, she published a book on the topic of Snapchat Marketing. Of course, like any city girl she was at the Dry Bar downtown on a recent Monday morning getting glam for an important event and ran into UrbanSitter CEO Lynn Perkins (whom she babysat for years back) and they got to chatting…
Here, Kate shares with us her experiences with UrbanSitter, what it’s been like having written a successful book, and more insight into her career and life.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you know UrbanSitter CEO and Co-Founder, Lynn?
For me, I am all about the side hustle. SF is expensive and any avenue in which you can use technology to create multiple revenue streams is important. My girlfriends and I (as many of us) have babysat since our tween years, and after business school in 2012 we all signed up for UrbanSitter. This was a great way to supplement our job incomes off the bat.
I learned from my friend Lisa, who is a babysitting all-star, that the best way to build your babysitting profile is to reply to jobs right away and babysit on a Saturday night. From doing so, I ended up replying fast to a query and booked a job during the 2013 holiday season for Lynn. I had a wonderful time babysitting for her son and she was highly supportive of my own story and helping me succeed. We connected on LinkedIn, and I always loved following all the news about UrbanSitter; especially this amazing feature in the First Round Review on Lynn and UrbanSitter.
As fate happens, I ended up running marketing for a First Round Capital company—which also funds UrbanSitter—so at a dinner roundtable I met Daisy [Downs, Co-Founder of UrbanSitter] too! I let the other attendees know that even though I was in the tech space, I also was an UrbanSitter babysitter, which delighted everyone.
You mentioned going to business school, where did you study?
I went to the University of San Francisco, where I focused on Marketing and Entrepreneurship.
I grew up in Moraga in the East Bay —I have lived in New York City, too—but I knew I wanted to be in the Bay Area long-term. My dad and brother both went to USF for law school, so I knew I’d be getting a great education.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re doing now?
I have my own consulting firm where I lead growth marketing for early stage startups—whether that’s influencer marketing tools or cybersecurity technology—it really runs the gamut but I love it all.
I also write on the side. I do that because it’s a passion of mine.
In fact, when I babysat I am able to write when the kids are asleep. One of my favorite articles I wrote on Snapchat was written in a Pacific Heights apartment overlooking the Bay, while babysitting for a great family.
You just wrote and published a book about Snapchat, what was the process like?
I combined the writing which was already published on the topic and leveraged my community. I’m extremely fortunate to have contacts across all industries at big brands and media entities, and they were able to provide case study insights into their own execution of the platform. My mentor, a VC from Onset Ventures, who encouraged me to write the book, wrote the foreword about the future of enterprise marketing and Snapchat.
I also mentor at Stanford for an undergraduate course in media and technology. From this class, I was able to hire a recent graduate to design all the creative assets. That was probably my favorite part, because we had so much fun thinking outside the box and what would help the audience understand the platform from a visual perspective.
What interested you about Snapchat enough to write about it ?
I’ve always been really in tune with the millennial, and now Gen Y, audience on what the next trends will be. As a user myself and talking with my 22-year-old god-sister and her friends, I realized the power of Snapchat as an authentic way of telling stories and connecting with friends. Since I’d already been writing about social media for Social Media Examiner, I pitched the topic of Snapchat for Business. I was one of the first writers to do so, and it’s led to amazing opportunities speaking at business schools and conferences. I figured next steps, why not write a book!
What has the reception been like for your book?
It did amazingly well! I felt so thankful for my community that downloaded it. During the 5-day free promotion, it went to the #2 spot in all of Business Marketing and Sales on Amazon. It was also #1 on Amazon for Advertising and Professional Development and #1 on Product Hunt books.
To wrap up: If you could give advice to sitters using the service, what would it be?
My advice would be to think of your profile as a personal brand. Fill out your profile in the best light possible. Also, remember parents are really looking forward to their date night or event they are off to, so be as professional as possible and always make sure you are doing your best! I know it can be tough sometimes, but keep trying to babysit more and more even if you get overwhelmed.
Babysitting in SF is a great way to explore the different neighborhoods—I didn’t know about all the parks that were out there—and connect with the families! If I hadn’t followed up with Lynn, I wouldn’t be in this position. You never know what will happen!
You can pick up a copy of Kate’s book, Oh, Snap! You Can Use Snapchat for Business, on Amazon, follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and see more of her work on her website at http://www.katetalbot.me/.
As a pediatric nurse practitioner at the top hospital in the US, Katie makes her living helping children. Since joining UrbanSitter in 2015, she’s expanded her services to include babysitting for some of Boston’s coolest families. A lifelong Chicago Blackhawks fan, she says she uses her own passion for sports as a tool for connecting with new families and kids, and loves babysitting because of the lasting relationships she builds with families.
A Chicago-native, Katie recently moved to Boston to attend graduate school. Here, she tells us more about her life as a nurse practitioner, her passion for helping others, and what she loves about living in Boston.
You’re from Chicago originally. What brought you to Boston?
I came out here to go to grad school at Boston College, where I studied pediatric nursing.
Tell us a little bit about your work as a nurse.
I’m on the inpatient general surgery service as a nurse practitioner, and I manage children ranging in age from hours old to well into their 20s. Patients come from all over the world to have the surgeries that our hospital offers. My job mostly entails before and after surgery; getting patients prepared for the operation and making sure they are healing appropriately afterwards. At the end of the day, you have this goal of doing something good and changing a child’s life for the better. It can be hard, but it’s also really rewarding.
As a pediatric nurse and a babysitter, what is your schedule like?
I work four shifts of ten hours a week and then every fifth weekend, so I have random periods free time during the week. I have a lot of families that I sit for regularly, and I’ll send them my work schedule and they’ll work around it. A lot of families I babysit are not typical 9-5 families; they’re doctors or lawyers and so the changing hours work for both of us.
Can you tell us a little bit about some of the families you sit for?
Boston is such a big city and so the families you meet are all very unique. I have babysat for dozens of families in Boston; some just once and some regularly. I’ve built relationships with parents who are professors, prosecutors, doctors, stay at home moms, and families traveling together for vacation or business who need a break from their kids.
Each family is unique and I enjoy the challenge of having to adapt to each family. I have one family that doesn’t even have a TV and another family that is fine with just giving the kids the iPad and letting them entertain themselves.
How did you first get into babysitting?
I was probably 12 when my neighbors asked if I could watch their kids for a few hours. I did it all through high school, and it was never about the money but more about helping out families that I knew. I’ve always loved kids! I was also a hockey coach in Chicago. I had a family that I met when coaching hockey and I loved the kids so much that I would have offered to sit for that family for free.
How did you first discover UrbanSitter?
When I was in grad school, I chose not to work. So when I graduated it was top of my list to get back into babysitting. Before I sat for my nurse practitioner boards, I was working at a prep school summer camp and one of the girls working there told me, “You have to get on UrbanSitter!” I’ve been using it for about a year now. I babysit maybe 3-4 times a week, and I make enough that I can afford the monthly payments on my student loans.
What do you do in your spare time?
We live right in the heart of downtown Boston, which I think is so fun. Being able to afford to live in the middle of the city and experiencing everything here is so great. My girlfriend and I also travel a lot, which we’re very fortunate to do. We’ll go skydiving, book an impromptu trip in Europe, or jump on a flight to visit friends across the US. We figure, why not do the fun stuff now?