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How to write an effective babysitter job description to find the right sitter

Dec. 13, 2018

The hunt for a great babysitter used to consist of parents asking a random neighbor to come hang out with the kids for a few hours while they went out to dinner. Fortunately, there are so many more resources now available to parents who are looking for great child care. You can find qualified sitters of every age and experience level these days just by heading to a good caregiver website.

The key to finding the right babysitter for your family is knowing exactly what type of sitter you’re looking for. Once you determine what you need in a sitter, it should be easy to write a job posting to share online and with your network. Here’s what you need to know.

Writing an effective babysitter job listing

The perfect job listing is one that offers clearly defined duties and expectations, says Suzie Zeldin, the co-founder and director of operations at SmartSitting. To clearly convey your needs, you can structure your job posting into these three sections:

1. Job summary

Think of the job summary as a brief but concise and informative overview that allows a candidate to quickly determine if they’re a potential fit. Include the days and times the person will be needed, as well as your children’s ages and the basic job functions. Zeldin notes that if there are special circumstances, such as pets, allergies or special needs or required driving, that information should be included. as well.

Here’s what a standard babysitting job summary might look like:

Seeking an experienced part-time babysitter for three active children, ages 2, 4 and 5. The position will be Tuesday and Thursday nights from 4-8 p.m. Applicant will be required to prepare dinner for all three children and put children to bed by 7:30. Position is in a smoke-free home with two large dogs. Occasionally, we may need weekend care. However, this is not a requirement.

2. Duties & responsibilities

Next you’ll want to list out all of the different tasks you’ll expect of a sitter. Think carefully about what you need from your sitter, and detail essential duties so there are no surprises.

“The most important thing is not to blindside your new sitter with a list of responsibilities that they didn’t know about [before they took the job],” Zeldin says.

Include:

  • Times and days needed

  • A timeline of expected activities

  • Specific tasks that must be completed

  • Important house rules

  • Pertinent information about your children and family

It’s also important to be realistic about what a babysitter does, so you don’t make the mistake of overwhelming candidates with a list of duties that fall outside of their job descriptions. Typical duties might include light cleanup, driving a child to or from an activity or even looking over homework — but remember that a babysitter is not a housekeeper or professional tutor.

“Babysitters, in my experience, are typically there to play with the kids, to maybe do a simple meal prep for the kids and put those dishes away, and to tidy up when they leave. But they’re not scrubbing toilets or anything,” says Zeldin.

A typical list of responsibilities may read something like this:

  • Arrive at 4 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday

  • From 4 to 5:30 p.m., engage children in games or activities. Children are not allowed screens during this time.

  • At 5:30 p.m. prepare dinner for children using the meal that I’ve planned. Light cleanup is appreciated following dinner but not required.

  • After dinner, help children change into pajamas. They may play in the playroom and/or watch a television show from the list provided until it is time for bed. Children are expected to clean up their play things before bedtime.

  • At 7 p.m., serve children a light pre-bedtime snack using items from the pantry. Afterward, supervise children in brushing their teeth and read them a bedtime story. They should be in bed by 7:30.

3. Skills and Qualifications

This is where you get the chance to describe your “ideal sitter.” Consider what training you’d like your sitter to have, how many years and what kind of experience you’d prefer and any additional qualifications they will need to do the job, says Zeldin. As with the other sections of the job listing, it is important to be clear and concise here. If a specific qualification is non-negotiable for you, this is the place to include it.

A typical list may look like this:

  • 3+ years experience babysitting

  • Certification in CPR and first aid required

  • Experience with multiple children preferred

  • Experience with toddlers preferred

  • Must have a valid driver’s license, reliable transportation, and a clean driving record (if they will be driving children around)

  • Must be able to work in a pet-friendly home

  • Must provide at least three professional references

Where to post your babysitting job

Once you have your job summary and description written, here are some ideas for where to post or share it in order to get results.

1. Personal recommendations

Referrals are one of the most common ways to find a sitter because many parents find it reassuring to get first-hand testimonials from someone they actually know or who lives in their community.

Share your job description via mail, text or social media with friends, coworkers, people at church, other moms and dads from your child’s school or any other parent in your life that you trust. You might just find the perfect referral.

2. Social networks

It’s a good idea, also, to post the babysitter job to your local social networks. You never know when a mom in your parent’s group on Facebook or in a neighborhood social network, like Nextdoor, may no longer have a need for their amazing and available sitter.

“I found my sitter thanks to my neighborhood Facebook group,” says Shana Rice, a mom of two from Olathe, Kansas. “I asked who other people used and several people all mentioned having a good experience with the same woman, so that helped me feel more comfortable calling her.”

3. Community boards

Many colleges, universities, churches and community centers offer resources for finding child care. If they have caregiver boards, ask if you can post your job description or peruse there for people who are seeking degrees in education or child development and work as part-time babysitters on the side. Many community centers and churches also offer preschool programs and babysitting training classes and may be able to point you in the direction of a qualified sitter, so have your job description handy when inquiring.

4. Agency

Some parents turn to an agency to find a sitter. Agencies can be a great option because they’re hyper-local and have a wealth of potential candidates. Be prepared to pay a fee if working with an agency — the amount will vary by agency — and make sure you know how the agency vets their candidates.

5. Online

Care-finder websites, including Care.com, offer a convenient way to post jobs and find quality sitters. They put comprehensive information about a sitter’s qualifications and experience right at your fingertips and listings often include parent testimonials.

“I love that it’s so easy to look and find the person that’s the exact, perfect match for what I’m looking for,” says Wendy Lennox, a mom of one from Richardson, Texas.

Read next: What every parent needs to ask on babysitter interviews

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