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How to Find a Babysitter Online

Updated on March 31, 2010

While parents enjoy spending time with their children, every parent needs a break every once in a while. Whether you and your partner need some alone time, or whether you are a single parent who needs some time away from home, it is essential to find someone you trust to take care of your children. If there are no friends or relatives around who can watch your kids for an evening, the Web can be a great resource for finding a babysitter. There are free sites that you can use to search for a babysitter, and also sites that charge a fee (usually a subscription fee) to gain access to their listings of babysitters.

Free Websites

Several free web sites offer listings of caregivers for hire. Craigslist, the free online classified ad website, has a childcare category in its Community section that lists child care providers. You can post an advertisement for a babysitter or review postings from babysitters to make a selection. Also, Kijiji, an online classifieds listing sponsored by eBay, lists childcare providers in much the same way.

Both these websites are basically an online version of the same type of classifieds that you would read in a newspaper. The advantages of these sites are that they are free and maintain listings for many different cities and states. The disadvantage of them is that they put listings through no type of childcare screenings process. There is no guarantee that any listing you might find will be reputable and worthy of caring for your children, so you must assume responsibility for an extensive amount of follow up, interviewing, and checking references.

Websites That Charge a Fee

Websites that charge a fee are of course more costly, but they also put the babysitters they list through a screening process, ensuring that the babysitters you find are of a high quality. Babysitters.com is a reputable site with an “all mom editorial team” that reviews each sitter it lists—over 40,000 in total. You can search by several criteria, including sitters with experience with special needs children, sitters available on short notice, sitters who do not smoke, etc. Many sitters have references listed for you to follow up with. Parents can also post babysitting positions for sitters to respond to. Babysitters.com charges a three-month subscription fee of $29.95. Sittercity is another site that offers similar services and also maintains listings for pet and senior care. Sittercity offers over 50 search criteria and includes parent references for sitters.

Image Credit: foundphotoslj, Flickr

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