How often have you run into the dilemma of not being able to find a babysitter or nanny? When this situation arises it can cause desperate decision-making and panic. The fact is most parents have found themselves without backup childcare options at one time or another.
I have spoken about my strategies for sourcing and interviewing nannies and babysitters on my blog. This post is more of an in depth look at the strategy behind my results — covering the most important aspects of building nanny and babysitter contacts. Using my 4 step process, I grew my nanny and babysitter contact list from 4 to over 20 in just one week. And, you can do the same.
How I Found 20 Babysitters in a Week (My 4 Step Process)
One last thing to keep in mind — once you know the steps of my strategy, you can have friends and family help you. Take it to the next level, ask your social media contacts to join in the search. By learning the process and then leveraging others to help, you will yield even greater results.
Step 1: Always be looking
Always is a reminder to always be looking for nannies and babysitters; even when you think you don’t have a need. If you hear about a lead, any lead, contact them. I cannot stress the importance of this step enough. At the very least, save their information for when you need it. And, when you contact them, find out if they would be able to help you out on an on-call basis.
As you read this, you are probably aware of other people who need childcare help; friends, neighbors, family members. We’ve all pulled together to find help for others. My point is to be as good to yourself as you are to others. Keep your eyes open for new leads when they present themselves whether you need them or not. And, for goodness sake, get their contact information.
Step 2: Build your team
We’ve heard the saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket“. Yet, when it comes to babysitters or nannies, that is exactly what we tend to do. People tend to see childcare need as one big need. We incorrectly assume it is easier to only have one solution for childcare for our family. One is simple…right? WRONG. When it comes to childcare, I would strongly encourage you to break your childcare needs into pieces. Consider my current needs and how I have broken them up:
- Driving: I need someone to drive the boys to their evening basketball practices so I can continue to help the other kids with their homework and help them stick to their bedtime routines.
- Date Night: I need someone who has either a Friday night or Saturday night free so that Phil and I can go on our regular date night.
- Special Events: I need someone for the special events we have this month. Work gatherings, weddings, Mom’s Night Out, Book Club, etc.
- Travel Coverage: I need someone to help me get the kids to their activities when Phil is traveling
- Errands: I need someone to help me take kids on errands. New shoes, school supplies, socks & underwear, etc. (Incidentally, this is a great way to maximize daytime babysitting help).
From my current example, you can see that I have 5 different needs meaning I have 5 different helpers to meet my needs. You should get into the habit of regularly scheduling a team of people to meet your childcare needs.
There are many benefits to building a team of nannies and babysitters. When you have multiple options for help, you stay in control. And, I’ll tell you a little secret side effect, the babysitters and nannies perform better when they know they are part of a team. The great characteristics or performance of one babysitter can be a benchmark for the next.
Without team effect, it’s easy to have power dynamics shift from you to the nanny. When you rely on one person to meet all your childcare needs, eventually you may find yourself playing the role of a desperate parent at the mercy of your only nanny’s schedule. This slippery slope can lead to all kinds of settling I won’t go into in this post. Bottom line: the best approach to child care is (in my opinion) a team approach.
Step 3: Leverage your current babysitters
By asking directly for the help that I need up front, I can end the night with an additional 3-5 names for future contact. Being so direct may seem uncomfortable but it really doesn’t have to be a big deal. Most babysitters have smart phones and they will have additional contact information ready on demand. Why let those good leads walk away? I probably ask directly for additional help from my current pool of babysitters at least once a week. If you do this regularly, rather than just when you have run out of options, you will always have a steady, vouched for, pool of babysitters and nannies to call upon.
Step 4: When you have no leads, look everywhere
- coffee shops
- church child care area
- high school basketball games
- piano teachers
- summer camps
- hair salons
We are hardwired to help us problem solve. If I share that I am looking for childcare help at the library, on the golf course, or at a restaurant, the odds are good I’ll end up with some kind of referral.
Repeat as necessary
That’s my 4 step strategy for finding babysitters and nannies it’s how I found 20 babysitters in one week. You should now be set to find those contacts and build a team. If you have any questions about sourcing or hiring good babysitters and nannies, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments section below.