Living far away from family means that dependable and affordable childcare can be hard to find. With that in mind, the website SitterCity.com offers free memberships to military families with DEERS validation. The program is funded by the Department of Defense.
Hiring a babysitter from the internet might seem downright scary, but you may actually have more concrete information than you get from a personal referral.
For example, many SitterCity babysitters have had recent criminal background checks. Additional motor vehicle record checks might be available, as well. The site also offers the option to leave reviews for sitters, so some profiles may have several testimonials. Sittercity allows you to search for pet sitters and house sitters, too.
Profiles typically include photos of the sitter, any available background checks, a statement from the sitter, his or her rates, prior experience, the types of tasks they are comfortable with, references and reviews. You can contact the sitter through an e-mail system on the web site. Most sitters appear to ask for between $10 and $15 per hour but are often open to negotiating rates.
Regardless of background checks and testimonials, SitterCity recommends that you perform a web search using the name of your potential babysitter, conduct a phone interview, conduct an in-person interview and check with references.
Using SitterCity is also convenient. You can search for babysitters in your zip code or post a “job” listing that sitters can apply to. You can also search in other zip codes; My husband and I have used SitterCity to find babysitters for vacations and weekends. We have used SitterCity babysitters for our vacation in Hawaii, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia. I only selected sitters who had both background checks and reviews. Then, I conducted skype interviews since we couldn’t meet the sitters before hand. We’ve always had a great experience with our sitters and enjoy the freedom that having a babysitter allowed. Consider having a “back up” babysitter for out of town trips so you’re not scrambling for a last minute replacement if your original sitter doesn’t show.