How do you handle babysitting jobs where the parent is working from home?

babysitting or nannying while parents are working from home, sitter for work from home parents, nanny for work from home parents, child care while parents are home

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!

1. Communicate
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 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.

Looking for babysitter and nanny jobs? Create a free profile at and start applying today!

6 Tips for Moving on After a Breakup…With Your Nanny Family

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.

Looking for nanny jobs? Create a free profile at and start applying today!

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!

How to Land Nanny Jobs

If you’re considering joining the ranks of the 1.3 million Americans who have careers in the field of child care, you may be in the market for a nanny job. Before you decide if a nanny job is right for you, make sure you understand the role and job expectations, and consider the skills and background required to be a top-notch nanny.

What is a Nanny?

A nanny is a child care specialist who works in a family’s home to provide customized, personalized care for children. A nanny job may be full or part-time, and may or may not be a live-in nanny arrangement. Nanny jobs require a love of children and genuine interest in their well-being, growth and development.

Nanny Background and Skills

Nanny job candidates typically have experience caring for children, either babysitting or caring for their own kids, or working with children as a teacher, counselor, nurse, or daycare provider. Typical core skills for a nanny job include dependability, emotional maturity, high-energy, and adaptability. You should have the ability to focus on a each child’s needs, provide a safe and stimulating environment, and remain patient and calm under pressure.

“In addition to understanding how to protect and enrich the lives of the children in their care, a professional nanny needs to be able to communicate effectively with his or her employers,” says Marcia Hall, first vice president for the International Nanny Association (INA). “Good nannies excel at caring for children, the great ones can also interact with the child’s parents with ease and honesty.”

Nanny Training and Certification

While there is no formal training required for a nanny job, there are many specialized classes and certification programs that will help you become a more knowledgeable caregiver, and make you more attractive to parents looking to hire a nanny. These include:

  • CPR and First Aid Certification— According to the INA nearly 83% of nannies are CPR and First Aid Certified. You can find a class for training and certification (certification typically lasts only two years, so you may need to be re-certified) through the American Red Cross, which also offers Water Safety Education classes; or the American Heart Association.
  • Early Childhood Development and Education—It’s difficult to care for a child and meet his developmental needs without an awareness of typical development. You can find a course at a local community college by searching the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
  • Newborn Care—Local hospitals provide basic newborn training classes to teach diapering, bathing, infant behavior, sleep patterns, recognizing illness, and comforting techniques.

Typical Nanny Duties

Just as no two families are the same, no two nanny jobs are exactly alike. The key to being a successful nanny is understanding a family’s unique needs and knowing how to best use your skills set to nurture, care for, and manage childcare so the family can function to the best of its ability. Here are some typical nanny job duties:

  • Attending to each child’s safety and needs.
  • Planning and providing developmentally appropriate play and learning activities for children in and out of the home.
  • Providing intellectual stimulation and helping older kids with homework.
  • Providing necessary transportation to school and activities.
  • Reinforcing the family’s rules and discipline techniques for the children when appropriate.
  • Meal planning and preparation for the children.
  • Basic household management related to the children, such as doing their laundry and keeping their belongings clean and organized.
  • Traveling with the family.

Nanny Job Specialties

There are several nanny specialties—in addition to a general nanny who cares for one or more children. Specialty nanny jobs, which typically require more experience and training, and therefore, offer higher pay, include a newborn nanny, who provides care for the first months of an infant’s life; a multiples nanny, who specializes in caring for twins, triplets or other multiples; a temporary nanny, who provides sick care or short-term backup care; and a special needs nanny, who has extensive knowledge and experience caring for children who need specialized care, such as those with ADHD, Autism Spectrum, or developmental or physical disabilities.

Expected Pay for a Nanny Job

Nannies salaries vary based on location (bigger cities tend to pay higher wages), experience, job duties, and number of children. An INA Salary and Benefits Survey shows that live-out nannies (nannies who do not live with the family) who work part-time are paid, on average, an hourly rate of $7.25 to $20 or more per hour. Full-time, live-out nannies earn a weekly salary of $350 to $1,000 or more. To see what nannies are making in your area, view UrbanSitter’s nanny salary survey.

Finding the Nanny Job That’s Right For You

A nanny job can be a rewarding, fun experience that provides you with the opportunity to have an impact on a child’s life. To find a nanny job that is right for you, have open and honest conversations with potential employers about job duties and expectations to be sure you are in synch. A good rapport is also essential for a successful relationship.

If you are interested in child care, but are not certain that a nanny job—which often requires a full or part-time commitment—is for you, you may want to consider babysitting opportunities, which offer excellent experience if you decide to pursue a career as a nanny at a later date.

To find babysitting and nanny jobs, let family and friends know you are available, check local job boards or sign up with UrbanSitter, which allows you to create a personal profile to showcase your skills, experience, and availability so you can easily connect with parents searching for child care.

You can also browse babysitting and nanny jobs on UrbanSitter to find job opportunities near you.

By Dawn Van Osdell, Contributing Writer for UrbanSitter

10 Reasons Why College Students Should Consider Babysitting Jobs

These days, college students are working harder than ever to supplement the exorbitant cost of their education. If you are one of them, a babysitting job could be the perfect solution. Not sure it’s for you?

Here are 10 reasons why you should consider a babysitting job as a valuable moneymaking opportunity:

  1. Flexible Scheduling

You can work around your schedule, rather than build a schedule around your work. It can be hard to find a part-time job that fits around the 15-credits per semester class load required to complete your degree in four years. Babysitting jobs are flexible. You babysit when it works for you.

  1. Good Pay

Babysitting jobs pay well. Forbes Magazine reported on a list of Top 10 Jobs for College Students put out by salary listings website PayScale. Nanny—a demanding, often more time-intensive babysitting job—was the #3 most lucrative job for college students. The site noted the “best potential perk” of the job as the ability to carve out extra study time while the kids are napping. Check out UrbanSitter’s nationwide survey to see what babysitters and nannies are making in your area of the country.

  1. Resume Building

It’s great experience, whether your major involves children in any way or if you intend to have some of your own someday. Babysitting jobs are also great for showing initiative, responsibility and dependability. Future employers will take note.

  1. There’s a High Demand for Holidays and Weekends

You have the time! Many babysitting jobs are available when you have the most time to work—weekends, holiday breaks, and summer.

  1. rp_IMG_7378-300x199.jpgSteady Work

A study conducted by Citi and Seventeen Magazine shows that money-related issues top students’ list of biggest concerns while in school. You always need cash! Why not get your name on a few parents’ speed dial lists, so you’re a first call when they are ready to spend on childcare?

  1. You’re Well Qualified

If you’re reading this, you likely have a bit of babysitting experience under your belt, maybe sitting for a neighbor, helping out with your own siblings, or serving as a summer nanny to help pave the way to college. In addition to childcare experience, you may have taken the time to get CPR certified, completed a first aid class, or studied a bit of early childhood education.

  1. Mentorship

You have a lot to give! In addition to being available, responsible and ready to earn, you’re a vibrant student of the world with lots of interests, hobbies and experiences. Babysitting jobs give you a great outlet to share that experience with children who could benefit from your skills and mentorship. You can tutor, help with homework, share your soccer skills, or teach a young child to read and write.

  1. Easy Commute

There’s rarely much of a commute. There are plenty of families with young children living near campus who are ready to take advantage of your service. You can pick and choose babysitting jobs that fit your needs and possible limitations, such as choosing jobs that are on the bus route or within walking distance if you don’t have a car.

  1. You Have Backup

You can likely find a replacement if a conflict comes up or you come down with the flu. If you are interested in babysitting jobs to make extra money, your friends are, too. Although parents hiring sitters need someone who is dependable, it’s nice to be able to call a friend to cover for you if ever the need be.

  1. Great Networking

It’s the job that keeps on giving. Good babysitters are hot commodities for any parent. Take good care of their children, show responsibility and reliability, and your employer will not only continue to call you to fill a babysitting job, they’ll likely be more than happy to refer their friends to you for days and times when they don’t need you. With a little effort, you can build quite an employment network, and in return, become a go-to resource for parents needing babysitting.

Are you sold on the idea and wondering how to score these great gigs? Let your neighbors, family and friends know you are interested in babysitting jobs, post your availability on a campus or local job board, or use an Internet service like to connect with parents who are looking for childcare. UrbanSitter allows you to post a profile, list your preferences, and even provide your availability so parents can immediately see when you are available to work. If you are trustworthy, dependable sitter material, there are plenty of parents who are looking for you now.

On How to Babysit (by Someone Who Knows)

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

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

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

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

Child: I always drink soda for dinner.

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

Child: Okay!

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

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

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

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

6. Remember to have fun!  

Are you an experienced babysitter looking for jobs? Build a free profile at UrbanSitter and start getting jobs today!

Sitter’s Perspective: Why I babysit

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

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

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

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

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