We have been relocating this week, and will be doing so for an additional week, to a town about forty miles south of where we have been living. While moving is a task all in itself, the biggest problem that I´m facing right now is that I have a multitude of writing projects going on and, now that we´re moving, no babysitter to help out a few hours a week so that I can get them all done.
As most of you know, finding childcare is an arduous task. Unless you have a friend or family member that babysits or knows someone who does, you are faced with locating potential sitters, interviewing them, and hoping to find someone that not only clicks with you and your child(ren) but who can also provide excellent references and who can work the hours that you need.
Since I´ve known about this move for a few weeks, I´ve been searching in various spots to find someone to interview by the time we are settled next week. I´m lucky in that we are moving to an area near a college. If you live by a college, you´ll find many students interested in picking up additional money. Oftentimes their schedules are flexible and some are even education majors, which is always a bonus; you know that they have had some basic childhood training and that they love children.
But where can you find potential babysitters if you are moving to a new place or you don´t know anyone where you live? I´ve found a few resources I wanted to pass along to those of you who are seeking childcare, whether it is for while you are working or for those occasional evenings that you and your husband decide a childless dinner and movie date night would be nice.
1. Ask around. If you are new to the neighborhood, find neighbors with children and ask if they can refer anyone. Ask your family and friends, and even coworkers, if they know of someone. Word of mouth is such a great way to find someone, though this is not an option when you are moving to a new place and don´t yet know anyone.
2. If you belong to a church, ask other members. Some churches print up flyers that include "ads´ from both teenagers and adults that babysit or provide childcare.
3. Call the colleges. Many times, students will display ads. One of our local colleges offers a website service. Babysitters are listed on the website and for a small fee you can access their names and contact information. Also, some colleges have onsite childcare. For a fee lower than that you would pay at a regular sitter, you can drop off your child. This is run like a regular daycare with the students doing the caregiving and the teachers overseeing the classes. In our city, the waiting list is quite long, so if you find something similar in your own city you will want to check into that long before you need childcare.
4. If you live in a city that has a listing on www.craigslist.com, check out the childcare listings. Many sitters can be found on this site and the listings are free to check. Remember, though, that these are not screened people. You will have to do all of the screening and reference checking yourself. As with using any service online or even in print media, keep in mind that anyone can post an ad. (Not to scare you, but you have to keep this in mind as you search for a sitter using a service that does not screen or do background checks for you).
5. I have not used this specific service, but a friend of mine recommended www.sittercity.com. For a fee you can search potential sitters by your zip code. Information provided will tell you the sitter´s names, reviews, and qualifications. You can also see the times that they are available and whether or not they have transportation. Again, this site does not screen the babysitters; this last step is up to you. But they do offer tips and advice for making the process safe and easy, along with a job checklist and suggested interview questions.