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Parents' Guide to Babysitting

How to Find Babysitters in your Area (9 Effective Tips)

How to Find Babysitters in your Area

21 May 2021

 Matthew Taylor

Written & Illustrated by
Matthew Taylor

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Most of the best babysitters tend to be constantly busy and booked up with jobs. So how do you find great babysitters in your area?

How do you find babysitters in your area? Start by asking local friends, family members, and neighbors for their recommendations. You can then expand your search to schools, daycares, and other organizations in the area. If you're still having trouble, you can use an online service to match you with local babysitters.

In this article, I'll share some places that you can start looking for babysitters. I guarantee that at least a few will be methods you wouldn't have considered!

Why Look For Babysitters In Your Area?

It's hard to find a good babysitter who is available when you need them. Especially one that lives in your area.

For me, having a babysitter that lives nearby is a definite plus when I'm considering candidates to hire. It comes with several great advantages.

If you ever need a babysitter at the last minute, it's easier for them to get to your home in a matter of minutes. Instead of waiting 20 minutes or more for them to drive over.

This is essential for younger babysitters especially, those who most likely won't be able to drive themselves yet. It means they'll be able to get themselves to and from your home, and you won't need to worry about picking them up or dropping them off. And they won't need to worry about coordinating with a family member for rides either.

Babysitters who live in your area are also likely more in touch with the community. Other families that you know may also be familiar with them and be able to recommend them (or warn you away from bad sitters!) Local sitters will also know where all the nearby parks and playgrounds are that they can take kids to while you're away.

How To Find Babysitters In Your Area

Finding a babysitter in your area may be easier than you think. The best approach is to use local businesses and organizations, as well as people in your network who live nearby.

If you're wondering how to find babysitters in your area, here are a few things to try.

1. Ask For Recommendations

Looking for babysitter recommendations from people that I know and trust is typically my go-to way of getting in touch with sitters in my area.

If you can find a few candidates to interview through referrals, your job can be done quickly and you may not even need to look into some of the secondary ways of finding a babysitter that I'll outline below.

So ask your coworkers, family members, and friends which babysitter they recommend. You can ask anyone else who has kids that you know well enough to trust their judgment.

You'll only get people recommending babysitters who they've used and approved of. Nobody wants to make a bad recommendation and then have it reflect poorly on them. So if someone recommends a babysitter to you, they're usually very confident in that person.

You will still need to interview any babysitter that someone recommends to you. Just because they were great for another family, that doesn't necessarily mean that babysitter will fit with what you're looking for. But it's certainly a great place to start.

One common trap that people can fall into is feeling pressured to hire a babysitter that someone has recommended to them. Especially if somebody has recommended a niece or nephew, or some other relative that they're trying to help get their first real babysitting job.

So when you do ask for babysitter recommendations, try to keep it casual and make it clear that you're still exploring your options. It's totally fine to not feel comfortable with your coworker's 11-year-old daughter watching your newborn and decide to go with someone more experienced instead.

2. Approach Teens That You Already Know

Instead of asking parents and relatives of babysitters, you can choose to cut out the middleman and go directly to the source instead.

If you've got friends with teenage kids of their own, you could ask them if they'd like a babysitting job. Many teens have simply never considered the idea of babysitting. But their opinions can quickly change when given the opportunity to earn some extra cash!

When you're just looking for a babysitter for an evening or on the weekend, teenagers in your area are usually available in a pinch. Even if they don't have any direct babysitting experience, they may still be worth considering if they're responsible and mature, and your children are old enough that they won't be too much hassle.

Reach out to teenagers of neighbors on your street that you're friendly with, or any teens at your church or other community events that you attend who seem responsible and up for the task.

Asking teens that you already know if they'd like to babysit can help make your evaluation process a lot easier. You're already at least somewhat familiar with them, and they've made enough of a good impression on you that you're considering them to start with. So it's far less likely for any kind of major personality clash to show up during the interview process, compared to a sitter you've never met or spoken with before.

Not sure what to look for in a babysitter? My article How to Find a Reliable Babysitter You Can Trust has the details.

3. Reach Out To Local High Schools and Colleges

High schools and colleges will naturally have one of the highest concentrations of teenagers and young adults in your area. So it can be a great place to easily get in touch with some babysitting candidates for your consideration.

If they've got a school newspaper, you can look to advertise in it. Because of their limited distribution, this is normally quite cost-effective. Lots of students check these papers looking for part-time jobs, so it can be a fantastic way to get a dozen or more applicants. The newspaper on a large college campus will potentially get your ad seen by a few thousand students.

Most colleges and some high schools will also have some kind of employment office that you can reach out to directly. Many students will be looking for internships with companies related to their field, but a good portion will also just be searching for any kind of job. Particularly over the summer months when they're out of school.

If your local college has an early childhood education program or something similar, you may want to even reach out to that department specifically. They may have separate job postings specifically for jobs related to childcare and education which are only available to members of their program.

Students studying in child-related fields will be eager to get a babysitting job as a way of showing experience working with kids on their resume. These will also be some of the most knowledgable, experienced, and qualified babysitting candidates that you can find. However since they're still in school, most are also still willing to work for lower rates. So you may be able to find a real bargain.

4. Ask Your Local School or Daycare

If your child is enrolled in school, don't be afraid to ask their teacher for some babysitter recommendations when picking them up at the end of the day.

Many daycare workers and teachers babysit part-time to earn a little extra income. Even if your child's teacher doesn't do this, they are probably aware of someone with who they can put you in touch. Or the school's office may have a list of approved childcare providers on hand. It doesn't hurt to ask!

Substitute teachers in particular may be lacking in hours and looking to pick up some babysitting gigs for a bit of extra income.

The downside is that hiring a qualified teacher or daycare worker to babysit for you is likely to come at a higher hourly rate. But on the upside, your child will already know them and be familiar with them. Which can be great for kids with especially bad separation anxiety.

Any kind of childcare worker will also have already completed a background check to get their job and has already had their identity verified by their employer as well. So it's one less thing for you to worry about during the interview and research stage.

5. Look For Community Support

Your local YMCA or library can be a great resource for finding a babysitter.

Either of these may work with the Red Cross or another organization to provide babysitting classes in your area. Usually, they will be happy to pass your name on to new graduates of their babysitting course who are eager to get their first job. Or they may specifically be able to refer one of their star pupils to you.

There may even be nonprofit agencies in your area that can specifically help you to find a babysitter or someone offering daycare out of their home. These agencies will have contact information for babysitters in your area who are fully trained and good with kids, plus other helpful resources.

6. Check With The Girl Guides In Your Area

Your local Girl Guide troop is good for more than just providing your favorite fundraising snack!

Many Girl Guides could be interested in watching your child to earn themselves a babysitter badge within their organization. Most tween and teen girls also choose babysitting as their first job to earn some extra money.

Some girl scouts will be too young for babysitting, so it may be important to specify the age you're looking for. For a babysitter, you want to hire at least a Girl Guide Cadette or older as a babysitter, which are typically in grades 6 to 8.

You probably won't want to hire a younger babysitter to watch your newborn. However, if your child is a bit older and more self-sufficient, hiring a Girl Guide as a babysitter can be a cost-effective option.

If you're okay with having a male babysitter, you don't have to limit yourself to just Girl Guides either. You can also reach out to the Scouts to broaden your number of potential babysitting candidates by considering boys too.

You don't need to have apprehension about hiring a male babysitter. See my article Are Male Babysitters Safe? (Facts & Stats You Should Know) to learn why.

7. Drop-In At Your Local Senior Centre

Lots of local senior citizens and retirees would love to spend some time with children, but may not have any grandchildren of their own.

You can reach out to your local senior's community center to see if they have anyone that would like to babysit. You could also reach out to any elderly neighbors who show an interest in your kids to see if they'd like to babysit too.

Many people have the wrong impression that seniors are too old to watch children. But lots of them regularly play lawn bowling or bocce, or other recreational activities to stay fit. Lots of seniors are also members of the local rock and fossil club or any number of other organizations that help to keep them active. Maintaining an active lifestyle doesn't have to end at retirement!

Sure they may not be as spry as they once were, but many 65-year-olds are still perfectly capable of watching your child for the afternoon.

One caution I'll give is that you should be clear about how they should handle discipline if you're hiring an elderly babysitter. Some seniors grew up in a different generation where things like corporal punishment were more accepted. So you'll need to be clear on how they should handle your child if they misbehave and take a zero-tolerance approach to spanking.

What if you find out that your babysitter is hitting your child? The answer is clear! See my article What To Do About A Spanking Babysitter to learn what it is.

8. Open Up Your Web Browser

If you're still having trouble finding a babysitter after trying the things I've listed above, you can always turn to the internet to help you find a babysitter.

I recommend parents look for a babysitter through their own personal network before turning to babysitting websites. That's because most of these sites will charge you a placement fee or higher rate in addition to an hourly fee for your babysitter. So you can save some money by looking locally first.

Babysitting agencies or websites aren't totally without their merit, however. In most cases, these sites offer prescreened candidates who have already had their credentials verified and background checks run. Which can make your job of finding and interviewing a babysitter a lot easier and less time-consuming.

Babysitters on these sites are usually well-vetted, although I do encourage parents to run some background checks of their own even if they're hiring through an agency or babysitting website.

Just like dating sites, there are many different babysitting websites to choose from. All of these websites help to match parents with potential babysitters, but each may come with its pros and cons.

I do think it's nice that on babysitting websites you can see a photo of your babysitter and read their bio before committing to whether you want to interview them or not. You can also use search features to target specific types of experience. For example, if your child has autism or another form of special needs.

For parents without many local connections to ask for referrals, online babysitting websites may be your best resource.

9. Read The Classified Ads

Some babysitters will post offering their services in the want-ad section of your local newspaper. Or they might post on Gumtree, Craigslist, Kijiji, or whatever your local classifieds website is.

I find this one of the less reputable ways of finding a babysitter. Classified websites can have a bad reputation for scams and other problems. But if you're running low on options, it's one more place that you can look.

If you do consider hiring a babysitter through classified ads, I recommend being extra-thorough with your background checks and following up with the references they provide. Also be sure to meet for your babysitting interview in a public place like a coffee shop, as opposed to inviting a stranger into your home and letting them know where you and your child live. You can never be too careful!


The ideal babysitter is qualified and experienced, who also lives nearby. But figuring out how to find babysitters in your area can be tough if you've never had to do it before.

By using the methods I've outlined above, you should now be able to find at least a dozen or more qualified and experienced babysitters in your area. No matter how large or small your city is.

Start by asking for referrals from your network of family and friends to begin with. Then expand your search to local schools and other organizations. If you're still having trouble finding a babysitter in your area, you can turn to babysitting websites or classified ads.

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