Whether you need a full-time caregiver before you go back to work or an on-call Mary Poppins for date night, here are easy ways to find a babysitter.
You've hit up your co-workers for names and considered stealing your best friend's super-nanny (she'd forgive you eventually, right?), but the perfect babysitter for your mini-me may be waiting where you'd least expect him or her. Before you spend money on a referral site or agency, consider these easy caregiver options.
- If you take a swim class with your baby or have older siblings who do, ask the swim coaches or lifeguards at your local pool, suggests Betsy Lavin, a mom of three in Williamsburg, Va. "They know your kids, CPR and first aid!
- Hobnob with nannies and babysitters at the park. They may have friends or family members who are looking.
- Inquire with grad students—they're smart, driven and looking for ways to fund their schooling.
- Ask around at your church or temple, where members may be likely to share some your values.
- Contact your school district's PTA or a local preschool to see if they can recommend any former teachers.
- Ask a stay-at-home mom. She might be interested in company for her kid and earning some extra cash.
- Request to join a closed Facebook group or listserv for local parents. (Ask moms at the park or in your baby group to learn about options.) If the group's leader reaches out, that's a good sign. "Moderators often do a mini-check to make sure you are who you say you are," says Beth O'Keefe, a mom of two in Chicago. That way you know sitter recs are legit, even if they're from strangers. Bonus: You may find a mom up for a nanny share to help save cash.