How to Find a Summer Babysitter

Choosing a sitter

According to a Pew Research Study, 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18 have two parents who work. So who watches the kids when they’re not in school? Enter the summer babysitter.

Summer babysitters have become a mainstay among families with school-aged children who aren’t old enough to be left home alone during a normal workday. Or maybe parents simply need a hand getting their kids around and feeding them in between. Or maybe the family’s usual babysitter or nanny is going on vacation.

Need to find a summer sitter of your own? Here are a few things to think about as you start your search:

Make the most of local resources
Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to find a babysitter, but there are plenty of organizations out there to help, too. Many libraries host regular reading groups, YMCAs offer day and weeklong camps, and don’t forget to check out the summer child care programs offered by local churches — they’re often unadvertised and cost much less during the summer than other times of the year. Another great resource to check is Child Care Aware, a non-profit information hub that offers a state-by-state searchable database for parents looking for child care resources and related organizations.

Co-ops, swaps and exchanges
Remember when you were growing up and all the kids would gather at a neighbor’s house to play? Well, babysitting co-ops are kind of like that, but with a tad more organization. They’re getting popular again, with good reason: They’re great for sharing advice and tips, swapping parenting stories, getting to know other local parents and setting up playdates in a nice, casual setting.

There are also lots of Facebook parenting groups and established Meetup groups offering these types of exchanges. Some babysitting co-ops run on a points-based system while others offer even time exchanges. It’s all about finding one that works for you — and if you can’t, maybe start your own with friends and neighbors!

Teachers and students
College students that specialize in childcare or educational studies make great summer sitters, so do teachers who are on break. In fact, many teachers supplement their paycheck by offering private tutoring during the summer months and lots of students like to earn extra cash and Early Childhood Education (ECE) class credit for babysitting and tutoring during break. Don’t be afraid to as your child’s teacher what their summer plans are. Maybe they’re looking for some extra work during summer break or can recommend another teacher or teacher’s aide who is.

Consider having a teacher or college student come and tutor your child on a subject they’re interested in one day a week during the summertime to keep their minds sharp and fight summer learning loss. Or if your children are a bit older, you can hire a teacher or college student to help them prepare for the ACT or SATs. Scan local and community college job boards for options or browse through our database for summer sitters who have backgrounds in education. Just make sure you start to ask around early. By the time the end of June rolls around, most summer tutors have already made commitments.

Do you need a summer sitter or mother’s helper?
Some families, even though they may not work during the day, still need a helping hand with their children and daily housekeeping. Whether it’s because there are multiple children of various ages or there’s a newborn that requires most of mommy’s time – a mother’s helper could be the answer. Preteens make great mother’s helpers and can be paid less than a babysitter.

Some things to consider: Do you want a fun teenager that can take your kids on daytime excursions like to the park for a picnic? Or do you want to walk in the door after work to a nice, tidy house and dinner on the table? Your expectations and your children’s needs will help you decide the right type of sitter, and the questions you ask during the interview process will help ensure you find the right fit.

What do I pay a summer sitter?
The pay rate that you and your sitter settle on will depend on a few things. What are the types of duties they will need to perform? Are they responsible for driving your kids to and from their activities, how many children will they be responsible for, and how many hours per week will all factor in to what you pay your sitter. A guide to use in estimating pay by age is:

  • Around $10/hour for 14-15 year olds
  • $12-$15/hour for college students
  • $15-$20/hour for adults

The above pay scale is based on a two-child household, so be sure to adjust it to your family.

Do I need more than one summer sitter?
It’s a good idea if you can swing it. Many babysitters have limited availability, especially during the summertime. It’s a good idea to keep a list of backup babysitters on hand in case of an emergency. This can be a list of babysitters you’ve already used, family members living nearby, and even select friends who are willing to step in as a sitter from time to time.

Ready to find your summer sitter? Get started today!