The Babysitting Guide: Babysitting Options

Find the right type of babysitter for you

The best babysitter for you is one who fits your needs, your budget, the level of experience required and overall personality fit. You can expect different things from sitters with different levels of experience. Generally speaking, pay increases with level of experience and special skills, such as tutoring or special needs experience.

  • High school sitters are a good option for families that need afterschool care (assuming the teen isn't loaded down with extracurriculars). If the teen doesn't have much experience, consider trying the first few babysitting sessions while you're at home so you can provide feedback and answer any questions.
  • College sitters are a good option for identifying more mature, experienced sitters. Just be sure to ask up front about reliability around typically busy times during the academic calendar, such as exam periods, holiday vacations, and graduation. Care.com has its own section dedicated to college babysitters called College Caregivers where you can find a college babysitter, tutor or even a summer nanny at nearby local colleges and universities.
  • Mature sitters could represent anything from professional child caregivers to older women looking for supplemental income now that their own children are grown and out of the house. Day care and elementary school teachers are often interested in doing extra babysitting, too, and come with great child care and child development experience.
  • Family members or trustworthy neighbors are good babysitting options given the familiarity factor, and also since they likely will want to spend time with your child free of charge. Even so, be sure to ask about compensation. If they want to babysit for free, consider having dinner ready (or cash and a stack of your favorite take-out menus) or perhaps follow up with a nice bottle of wine or bag of good coffee. Be sure to set expectations and guidelines the same way you would with a hired sitter. It paves the way for managing the relationship should any issues arise. Today, more and more people are turning to family members to help with their care needs.
  • Mother's helpers are usually in middle school or junior high. In many cases, they are known to the family (the parents may be family friends) and live in the neighborhood. Mother's helpers usually help out around the house while you are at home, as they maybe too young or inexperienced to leave along with your children. It's a nice opportunity for a young person who wants to gain experience and then try their hand at babysitting once they're old enough. Mother's helpers can do a variety of tasks from playing with the kids while you make dinner, to helping fold laundry, assisting at a birthday party, or more.
  • Check Care.com for babysitters of all ages and experience level. Search for babysitters at Care.com. View their profiles and see who fits your particular needs or post a job and get responses from babysitters in your neighborhood.

 

Christine Koh is a music and brain scientist turned parent and writer about parenting issues for Care.com. She is also the editor of BostonMamas.com.

Next: Babysitter Interview »
Comments (6)
Lexi H
I believe that all ages should be able to sign up because I am eleven and I babysit quite often with respect and maturity. My friends and I are even starting a new business called Rock-A-Bye baby sitters that is made up of ages eleven to fifteen. I am just commenting because I think that you should change the age limit from eighteen to something along the lines of twelve.
Posted: June 06, 2014 at 9:49 AM
Photo of Lisa P.
Lisa P.
Im a new mom at the young age of 42, I lost my mom to C.O.P.D. and am going crazy,I NEED HELP. A huge problem is im pentacostal, I No. Not Married, Hate my name, But losing her was Sooo Unexpected. I loved my mom and The problem is my caller, My medical needs have changed Im diabetic. C.P.S. has been involved in the past, But My caller Wellllllllll........... 10,000 isnt much to pay, Im very wealthy, But My Life seems so complicated, Just who do you look for in a nanny, I need someone in there 50s, Mature, Well educated like me , Religious, Caring, Kind, Nurses and is clean, Showers daily and loves fashion, My career goal was Hollywood Superstar, But my injury Wellllllll....... Im A Bit disabled. Thats why the extra help. This boy of myne is the greatest, Im not sure who the father is but at my age who cares, Hes Myne Thats all that counts, And i love him. God Bless The Mothers who desighned this sight Dang, Theres hope for us yet.
Posted: March 22, 2013 at 7:24 PM
Member Care C.
Hi Jasmine and Shauna,
Thanks so much for you interest but unfortunately you do need to be over 18 to sign up for the site. Hope to see you in a few years!
Posted: January 02, 2013 at 5:05 PM
Jasmine B.
Can a 13 year old sign up for this site?
Posted: December 27, 2012 at 2:48 PM
shauna L.
can a 14 year old sign up for this site?
Posted: July 27, 2012 at 7:02 PM
Photo of Kellie T.
Kellie T.
Ill watch kids!! I love kid im 21 years old know and I hav rasied them since i was 12..
Posted: June 19, 2012 at 2:04 PM
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