Whether your work schedule changed, your nanny turned in her notice, or you simply need a last-minute sitter, searching for child care when you’re juggling a busy life can be time-consuming. If your sitter search needs to happen between managing your kid’s after-school schedules, keeping your career on track, and attempting to have a social life, follow these steps:

Step 1: Know what you need.

It’s tempting to hop online and start combing Sittercity for candidates, but doing a little bit of homework can help make your search quicker. Clarifying your family’s needs first will help you narrow down your options and find sitters who are more likely to be the right fit. Ask yourself these four questions:

What’s our family’s schedule? Are you looking for an occasional sitter, a full-time nanny or an after-school caregiver? Write down the regular days and hours you’ll need your sitter to be available as well as any other scenarios that are likely to pop up, such as occasional weekends, date nights or even business travel that will require overnight availability.

What qualifications am I looking for? Is it important for you to have a seasoned sitter with experience working with multiple families and ages? Or are you comfortable hiring someone who’s a little green? Do you want to find a sitter with a certain level of education? In addition to CPR training, do you want your sitter to have specialized skills?

What are my expectations of this sitter beyond basic child care duties? Will she need to drive your kids to after-school activities? Do you want her to start dinner on the weeknights or do light housework while the kiddos are napping? Are you in need of someone who can tutor your child in a specific subject or even just help out with homework? Think about your family’s unique needs and what might set a sitter apart from the pack.

What sitters have clicked with your kids in the past? Every kid has a favorite sitter. The question is—why? Is it a calming character or boundless energy? If you’re new to finding child care, think about past caregivers that you’ve been drawn to. What made them special? Consider the personality traits that would be a good fit for your family.

The more specific you can be when answering these four questions, the more likely you’ll find sitters who are worthy of an in-person interview. Once you’ve done your homework, it’s time to move on to step 2.

Step 2: Use the resources available to you through Sittercity.  

Now that you know exactly what you’re looking for in a sitter, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Sittercity has simple tools to speed up your sitter search.

Narrow the candidate pool. Sittercity’s innovative search function allows parents to narrow their results based on specific needs. Not only can you search by years of experience, type of child care experience and education level, you can choose to search based on more specific criteria, such as whether the sitter is comfortable with pets or has her own transportation.

Reach out directly. Don’t miss out on a great sitter because you waited too long to contact her. Get full access on Sittercity and you’ll be able to contact potential candidates directly, making for a smoother and faster process than waiting for the right sitter to respond to a job posting.

Conduct an interview. No matter how fast you need to find a new sitter or nanny, nothing really gives you a sense of someone’s personality and fit for the job as an in-person interview. But you can leave the prep work to us: Sittercity has created an interview check list for those all-important one-on-one conversations.

Hire a sitter with confidence. With a premium account on Sittercity, you can run background checks, and read reviews and references, which means even if you’re short on time, you can be confident that you’re hiring trustworthy and dependable child care.

Ready to find a great sitter?

Join Sittercity

As a former nanny and oldest child, Alex recognizes the many challenges that both families and sitters face on a daily basis. As a Sittercity team member, she's thrilled to use her skills and experience to make child care finally work.