You’d think it would be a snap to find a great babysitter in the city that never sleeps. But New York City, with its streets bustling with people nearly 24/7 and crowds at every turn, can be just as challenging a place to find a sitter as any small town.
Think about it; despite the busyness of this amazing city, there’s often little connection between people—even those who cross paths daily—simply because of the busyness and anonymity. So how should NYC parents go about finding a babysitter? We’ve got some great tips for you, and a list of resources to check out as well.
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.
With that said, here are some 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!—to see who they’re using. And if she’s booked, no worries—see if she has someone she’d like to recommend!
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.
- 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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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.