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The Secret To Finding an Awesome Babysitter

Photograph by Twenty20

For the longest time I swore I’d never hire a babysitter. I mean, why on earth would I ever want to leave my precious children?!?

Well, let me tell you, despite that never-ending love, Mama needs a break sometimes. Even if it does cost a pretty penny.

Once I came to grips with my need for an occasional sitter, I started panicking over where to find the right person. Not to toot my own horn, but it takes a few skills to wrangle three kids, 6 and under. I needed someone who was comfortable cloth diapering and babywearing, someone who could cook a meal and maybe even unload the dishwasher while I was away. Not rocket science, but the type of babysitter skills that keep all the best ones booked.

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After a bit of research and asking around (referrals are hands down the best way to find sitters!) I discovered the secret to always having a reliable babysitter on hand… have more than one!

That’s right, the secret is in the plural. You don’t need one babysitter. You need at least four. That way you’ll never be left hanging.With three potentials on call you’ll never have to reschedule your annual OB-GYN appointment or fillings at the dentist. And you can have that monthly date night you know you want to commit to in the coming year.

Great babysitters are as close to gold as it gets...

Here are the types of people I've found to be the best type of babysitters:

The High School or College Student

They’re eager to earn extra money and as long as they’re not in class, they’re almost always available. I will confess, my favorite version of teen babysitters are homeschoolers! They’re available more than most and from my experience, tend to be extra amazing at taking care of little ones.

The Spare Grandma

My best friend’s mom is a retired teacher and she’s pretty much my kid’s spare grandma. She is also a fabulous babysitter and has saved me more than once when midday appointments have come up.

A Mom Friend With Kids the Same Age

A few friends and I have this awesome little kid swap thing set up. Yes, sometimes it leaves one of us with six kids, but when they’re all close in age, they pair off and play so nicely together and it’s like they’re almost not around! Then they gather for snacks and a movie and before you know it, one mom has gotten some time out alone and the other has a new mom badge for successfully judging a half dozen little ones.

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The Nearby Neighbor

Last minute things come up, and sometimes a close by neighbor is just the person you need for a quick drop off or the “please sit on my couch while the baby naps upstairs and I run to the grocery store.”

And most importantly, once you've found your babysitting squad, do whatever it takes to keep them—I’m not against bringing them home a Starbucks treat or remembering their birthday. Nope, babysitters love little bribes and boosts after watching a sweet but sometimes wild crew of children.

Great babysitters are as close to gold as it gets, so treat them well and your mom sanity will be saved!

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