Mom Talk: Babysitting

Where to find a good sitter, how much do you pay for your babysitter and what do you do with your precious time when you're able to get away from the kiddies.

Lakewood Patch invites you — and your circle of friends — to help build a community of support for parents, caregivers and their families right here in Lakewood.

Each Wednesday at 1 p.m. in the Moms Talk Q&A, our Moms Council of experts and smart local parents answer questions, give advice and share solutions. 

Members of our dynamic Lakewood Patch Moms Council have done it again.

At a recent meeting of our wonderful group, one of our councilwomen suggested a topic important to many parents: Babysitting.

It can be difficult — and expensive — to find that perfect sitter.

We want to know how you do it.

How often do you have a sitter for the kids? Are you able to have significant time to yourself, or time alone with your significant other?

More from the discussion board:

Are you type that will refuse an invitation if the kids are not included? How do you find a good sitter — and once you have, how much do you pay?

We’re not volunteering to watch your kids, but we’d sure would like to learn about your experiences.

Kitten March 10, 2011 at 01:08 AM
My husband and I are not from around here, so we don't have any family members to help out. We are so lucky to live on a street with lots of wonderful babysitters within walking distance! When our first son was born 6 years ago, the girls were all eager to babysit, but they were 10, 11, and 12 years old. I started them out as mother's helpers - just coming over to give me a hand while I was at home. This way they got used to the baby, the baby got used to them, and I got used to a babysitter! Before long, we felt comfortable leaving the baby (now babies) home with the sitter after they had fallen asleep. That soon evolved into them putting the kids to sleep, and now, six years later and a total of 3 kids, our sitters are responsible teen agers who know my kids well and are able to make dinner, give baths, and put everyone to bed competently. I always ask the girls what they charge, and pay accordingly, up to $10/hour. Therefore, our rates vary from babysitter to babysitter. We give raises, and with raises more responsibility (i.e. if I'm paying $10/hr, please make sure the dinner dishes are put in the dishwasher). My husband and I go out nearly every Saturday night, and I usually go out one night during the week with friends. Also, anytime I have a doctor's appointment or something like that, I need a sitter as well. So the kids are well versed in having surrogate care, and I'm sure we've paid the first year of college tuition for a few of these girls!
Kitten March 10, 2011 at 01:11 AM
And to continue my ramble....we often lose babysitters to their social lives as they get older, or by sharing their names with my friends, their availability is cut down. I am always eager to meet their friends and always take their names and numbers if they are interested in babysitting. I also always ask people the kids interact with anyway if they are interested in babysitting, e.g. swimming teacher, childwatch workers, etc.
Mara Carney March 10, 2011 at 03:48 PM
www.sittercity.com is a great website that connects you with people that really want to babysit (or pet sit), their rates are listed and the site has an option where you can do background checks (for a fee). I found that exchanging emails with these people would indicate whether I wanted them caring for my children- I would invite them over to meet (and evaluate), plus they could meet my kids. When you set up your profile you can stipulate all sorts of things for special needs, etc. On the site you can post specifically what kind of babysitting you need (daily, night-shift, only Saturday night...). Every job I ever posted would generate dozens of responses and I always ended up with someone that I would bring back time & again. There is a monthly fee (about $10), but once you get a few phone numbers it's totally worth it. I used sitter city in 2 states and had good results in both places.
Jana Christian March 11, 2011 at 08:57 PM
Care.com is another great resource... I posted a free classified "ad" describing my situation (children with multiple severe allergies) and what I needed in a caregiver and I got more than 10 responses almost immediately and another 15 or so over the next day. I opted not to "upgrade" for $35 which meant I did not have access to the contact information for each reply which was frustrating... I did not realize when I first signed up that I would need to pay to reply to those who applied for the job. Still, there were a lot of great caregivers who replied and it would be great for someone to find qualified babysitters (and even in-home day care) if they did not have access to family. That being said, we rely on my parents for 99% of our babysitting when we have (too infrequent) date nights. Because of the added concern of multiple allergies (and frequent outbreaks/attacks), we usually keep one child and send the other for a "sleepover," but they have occasionally taken both kids to give us an evening together. The other 1% of the time, we have a high school student from across the street watch the kids, but I'd only do that for an hour or two in a pinch.
Elizabeth Arcuri December 14, 2013 at 04:52 PM
I need a babysitter badly for my daughter and my son. I have tried the care. com and sitter city. and I keep getting asked to pay inm oreder to contact the girls. please if anyone knows anyone please contact me at lizarcuri@yahoo.com


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