Discuss: How to Find a Babysitter in Melrose (And What's a Good Rate)
This week, the Melrose Patch Moms Council talks about how to find a good sitter for your kids—and how much it should cost.
Each Wednesday in Moms Talk, our Moms Council of Melrosians take your questions, give advice and share solutions—and we want you to join in the conversation.
The Moms Council will discuss the question of the week beforehand, which we'll publish below, and then invite you to join in the conversation in the comments section, where we'll keep the conversation going.
(Please remember if you're signing up for a Melrose Patch account that our Terms of Service do not allow aliases. Also, we suggest using your full name for your Melrose Patch account. You may also sign in using your Facebook account.)
If you want to submit a question or join the Moms Council, e-mail editor Daniel DeMaina at email@example.com.
So grab a cup of coffee and settle in as we start the conversation with today's question ...
It seems really difficult to find quality babysitters in Melrose for a reasonable price. Where do you go for a good sitter and what's a good rate?
When I had my daughters, I envisioned having access to tons of young girls in the neighborhood who would be interested in babysitting to make a few extra bucks. Fast forward three and a half years and I'm still looking!
Our neighborhood has either young families like mine or older couples and pretty much no teenagers. I admit that I didn't expand my search much beyond our immediate block, but have spoken to enough "new to Melrose" moms to know that my quest is not unique.
Instead, I have relied on Sittercity.com for all of our needs, which has worked well for us. One the plus side, our sitters are older and more experienced, but tend to be more expensive. I still hold out hope of finding a teenager or two to add into the rotation and am hoping I learn some good tips on where to find them!
We've had a pretty limited number of sitters, and I'm always eager for suggestions on alternative means of finding them. So far, we've had decent luck with Sittercity.com, and as long as I remember to not let my membership run for too long, it seems economical, straightforward, and safe enough. I did recently hear of another babysitter through a mom friend, and we did find a winner on craigslist once, but that was via a well-written, well-presented, non-scary ad.
We pay an average of $15/hour, something that initially floored me but to which I have become blithely accustomed. (My, how rates have changed since the halcyon days when I babysat.)
When I was in need of a babysitter, I always went by word of mouth or a neighborhood teenager. Now having grown children and providing not just day care, I offer services for date night out (which I am not soliciting work, but trying to get to a point).
I signed onto a web site called Sittercity.com. Here, I put in a profile gave them a range of miles I would travel to and paid for and had a CORI evaluation done, so that potential parents could feel more secure that I had no criminal background. I feel the average price is somewhere between $10 and $15 per hour, this is what my teenage son is paid when he is called upon.
I also feel another good resource would be to check with the Middle or High School to see if they have a list of any potential babysitter. I know there are many babysitting courses offered at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital and maybe the Melrose Y, so they may also have a list of names. It would not be a bad idea to check your local pediatricians office for some babysitting advertising, and then without overstepping any boundries you could inquire about the potential sitter through your pediatrician.
So you want to know where to find good babysitters in Melrose? I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you. Just kidding…sort of. There's a reason it can be hard to find a sitter: once you find a good one you want to keep him/her for yourself. Hey, didn't we do a column on sharing a few weeks ago?
One of the things that drew us to our neighborhood in Melrose was that there were children of all ages everywhere. We had no idea that this would work to our advantage once we had our own kids and needed them to babysit. Like most new parents, we were nervous to leave her with anyone. But not wanting to live like hermits, we knew we had to get over it. We called around and lo and behold there was a willing 15-year old living right next door. She worked out great for a few years until she went to college (The nerve!) but luckily, she had a younger sister. And so it's gone on with every sitter we've had since then. When one leaves the hood, there's usually another (or 2 or 3) up and coming.
Because of the varying ages in our neighborhood, we have our night sitters (up till midnight), our day sitters and mother's helpers. I usually do $5-6 for mother's helpers, $6-8 for actual alone babysitting and then increase it by a dollar as the years go on (or by age). By the time they are 18 typically we give $10-12/hour. Beyond that anywhere from $12-20 seems appropriate for an adult.
I have never tried sittercity.com but I have heard good things about it. For us, the word of mouth method has worked out great. But don't ask me for my sitter's name. I'm pretty sure she's busy, at least until she graduates.