How to Score a Sitter – During the Holidays and Beyond

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Parties, shopping and festivities galore make for a fun-filled and festive month – one in which babysitters are in especially high demand.

Scoring a sitter for holiday parties, New Year’s Eve and even Valentine’s Day (right around the corner!) can seem impossible. Here are some tips to make it easier:

  • Join forces: In any given neighborhood there are only so many sitters to go around. Why not share a sitter with your friends or neighbors? One sitter at one house with multiple families is a recipe for fun for everyone – the sitter benefits from the kids’ ability to entertain one another (not to mention a little extra cash), the kids get a “party” and the adults all enjoy their grown-up time. Talk about a win-win!
  • Pay a premium: Let’s face it – money talks. If you’re willing to pay either a “bonus” or a higher hourly rate your sitter will surely be more likely to forego her own plans.
  • Explore creative alternatives: Some community organizations offer safe and fun “pajama parties” for kids on holidays like New Year’s Eve. Kids enjoy pizza, crafts, games, stories and movies in a group setting for a fee per child. Places like Peekadoodle in San Francisco, My Gym in Palo Alto and Fuze Fit in Los Gatos all offer “Parents Night Out” options.
  • Sitter share: While it may seem counter-intuitive to share your sitter’s information with your friends, doing so can really pay-off. Imagine having 10 great sitters that you could reach out to at any time.  Sound too good to be true?  It’s not. If you and nine of your mommy friends all shared your sitters, you’d have exactly that. And, having a bigger network of babysitters means that it’s easier to find one on holidays or any day.

In fact, the goal of expanding your network of sitters is the very reason we (two fellow moms and I) started UrbanSitter, a website to connect parents and babysitters. Why should we be able to book a dinner reservation online in two minutes, yet it can take weeks to find a sitter, especially around the holidays? With UrbanSitter, parents use their Facebook connections for immediate access to a community of sitters their friends trust.

Here’s how it works: Parents sign up at UrbanSitter.com and can view sitters known through friends or affiliations (i.e. kids’ schools, Music Together, SoccerTots, Golden Gate Mothers Group, etc.) and can view each sitter’s availability in order to select a sitter for a specific date and time, or plan an outing when they know their favorite sitter is available. Jobs or interviews can be booked in minutes and parents can contribute written reviews, ratings and Facebook “Likes” to sitter profiles.

The 600 sitters — many of whom are Bay Area college students or grads in child development and nursing — post their credentials, hourly rates, and location preferences online.  The ability to see who parents are connected with fosters trust and familiarity to help them decide which jobs to accept. To protect privacy, contact information is exchanged only after the booking is confirmed.

Available now throughout the Bay Area, UrbanSitter currently has 1600 members and 70 percent of parents who have used the site to book a sitter have come back to do it again. Sign up and your quest to find a sitter for New Year’s Eve just might be a breeze. Now wouldn’t that be something to celebrate?

This is a sponsored post written by Daisy Downs, co-founder of UrbanSitter.

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