Finding a babysitter

Tricia Seabolt plays with her son Travis, before going to work as her husband Mike, looks on at their home. Seabolt recently struck out trying to find a babysitter for a reasonable price that would allow her to go back to work full-time. (Andre J. Jackson/Detroit Free Press/MCT)

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HIRING A SITTER?

Questions to ask:

  • Have you taken the Red Cross babysitter class, which teaches basic skills?
  • Do you have CPR or first aid certification?
  • Have you taken any classes in early childhood education or development?
  • What are your general discipline and childcare philosophies?
  • What is included in the rate? Will you make my child dinner? Do dishes and other light house-work? Will you pick them up or drop them off?
  • If your sitter has worked in a daycare setting, ask about his or her certification. Even those operating out of their homes must register with the state and meet many state regulations.

Ways to save:

  • Hire a younger sitter. You can probably find a 'tween or young teen who charges $7-8 an hour.
  • Negotiate to pay one rate for hours when your child is awake and another after they go to bed.
  • Start a baby-sitting co-op with friends. Each family in the co-op could agree to baby-sit another family's kids for one night a month and get one night a month out.
  • Go out with friends and leave the kids at one home and jointly hire a baby-sitter.
  • Find a sitter working out of his or her home; it might cost less if you are willing to take your children to them.

Where to look:

  • Call nearby day-care centers and ask whether any of their teachers baby-sit.
  • If your place of worship has a youth group or nursery program, ask there.
  • Try subscription sites like Care.com, Sittercity.com, Seekingsitters.com, Sitters.com, Elitesitters.com

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