New York City, especially now, can be a challenging a place to find a sitter. We’ve got some tips for you, and a list of resources to help you find childcare.
During the coronavirus pandemic in New York, large numbers parents of all income levels need emergency childcare help desperately. If you need an emergency babysitter right now, find a babysitter on our babysitting board.
But first, some advice
Regardless of where you live, the best way to find a babysitter is to find one BEFORE you need one. Being prepared by searching ahead of time for a great babysitter (or a few!) in your back pocket is the best way to ensure that you will end up with a sitter who’s a great fit for your family.
And once you secure a sitter, be sure to stay at the top of her list by paying her competitive rates for the NYC babysitter market.
Tips for finding a great babysitter in and around the greater NYC area
1. Use your network
Even if you haven’t yet found that perfect sitter, one of your friends must have one, right? When it comes to leaving your kids at home with someone you don’t know very well, there’s no better feeling than using someone who comes highly recommended by someone you trust—someone in your inner circle. So chat up your closest friends—and their closest friends! And even your neighbors and those in your faith communities— to see who they’re using. And if she’s booked, no worries—see if she has someone she’d like to recommend! Also, consider your neighbors and those in your faith communities as potential resources.
2. Use a sitting service
New York City has a number of established babysitting services to choose from when you’re in a pinch. And even though the personal touch may be lacking, you can rest assured that most services perform background checks on their sitters these days, and many require them to go through mandatory childcare training as well. Below, we’ll take a look at a few babysitting services in NYC to consider.
- Search our Babysitting board
- Sensible Sitter – with several locations across New York City, and even in the Hamptons, Sensible Sitter is an online service that matches families with fully vetted sitters. According to their website, “The vetting process includes background checks, reference checks, in-person interviews, and family rating system.”
- Pinch Sitters – What began as a niche on-demand babysitting service for Park Slope parents has over the years expanded to pretty much all of NYC, including Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. Pinch Sitters operates using a flat fee per hour, which eliminates any mystery about what you’ll be paying for a sitter. And they can always be counted on for emergency/last-minute placements.
- Hello Sitter – a relative newcomer to the NYC babysitting market is Hello Sitter, an app-based service started by a NYC mom who was frustrated by the lack of quality, on-demand babysitters. The app allows you to sign up and search for available sitters based on location when you need one, and your family’s specific needs.
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3. Take extra precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic
Even though you may be practically desperate get childcare, the most important thing is to keep you and your family safe. One measure towards protection is for the following questions to be asked:
- Have you been diagnosed with coronavirus or traveled to a CDC-designated Level 2 or Level 3 area within the past 14 days?
- Have you been in close contact (e.g., shared a household or room or been together for a period of time) with anyone who has a confirmed case of coronavirus or is showing symptoms?
- Would you have to take public transportation to work?
- Has anyone in your household been diagnosed with coronavirus or traveled to a CDC-designated Level 2 or Level 3 area within the past 14 days?
- Has everyone in your household been symptom-free for 14 days?
- If someone in your household has recently recovered from coronavirus, do you have proof of medical clearance?
Christin Perry is a freelance writer and editor living in the DC area. She specializes in the lifestyle genre and her writing has been published by The Knot, The Bump, and LittleThings.com.