When you join the babysitters club, a whole new world of child care becomes available. Babysitters can provide regular care, last minute care, temporary care, and special event care. Whether you're looking for after school assistance, emergency back-up or a cosy date night, there is a sitter to suit your circumstances.
A babysitter can be booked through a professional agency or may come recommended by family, friends, neighbours, and colleagues.
Both are good options, and to help you decide whether to use an agency or find a babysitter yourself, we've put together this table pointing out the benefits of each approach:
|Benefits of Agency-Booked Babysitter
||Benefits of Finding Your Own Babysitter
- Easy and straightforward to find a babysitter
- Babysitters are screened, trustworthy, reliable, reference-checked, and safe to work with children
- 365-day availability, day and night
- Offer a variety of booking options, including regular bookings, one-off, hotel (for that out-of-town wedding), temporary cover (to fill in for a sick nanny) and last-minute bookings (for that spontaneous plan or emergency situation)
- Provide experienced babysitters, including those who are comfortable looking after four or more children, have First-Aid certificates and are used to accommodating families' special needs
- Offer an opportunity to ask the babysitter questions about their experience, emergency procedures and entertaining/disciplining your child
- Can offer you the same babysitter on different occasions
- Help you navigate any complaints
- No agency booking fee or cancellation fee and may come at a cheaper hourly rate, depending on age and experience
- May not have a 'minimum hours per booking' limit, meaning you can hire them for less than three hours
- Interviewed and reference-checked by you, so you get a sense of their experience, character and child care approach before booking them
- Are usually located near you, for convenience and peace-of-mind
- Come recommended by someone you trust
- May have an existing bond with your child, e.g. they live next door, so that your child feels immediately comfortable
- May have child care experience, e.g. they might be a child care worker or retired teacher who does casual babysitting
- May represent a 'win-win situation', e.g. booking a friend's teenager means you get affordable child care and the teen earns some money
CareforKids.co.nz contains information, advice and practical materials that will support your babysitter experience.
Our Overview on Babysitting is a great place to start. Before booking your babysitter make sure print off our Babysitter Checklist and have our Parent/Babysitter Notes form on hand for when they arrive.
All you need to do is leave the house and take full advantage of those child-free hours!