7 Fresh Ways to Find a Babysitter

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.

Ways to Find a Babysitter Emma Kim/cultura/Corbis

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.

  1. 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!
  2. Hobnob with nannies and babysitters at the park. They may have friends or family members who are looking.
  3. Inquire with grad students—they're smart, driven and looking for ways to fund their schooling.
  4. Ask around at your church or temple, where members may be likely to share some your values.
  5. Contact your school district's PTA or a local preschool to see if they can recommend any former teachers.
  6. Ask a stay-at-home mom. She might be interested in company for her kid and earning some extra cash.
  7. 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.