SHERIDAN — With school ending in a few weeks, the perennial summer question of “who can we get to baby-sit?” enters the minds of parents.
Obviously, the choice of who to hire to watch and care for your child is an important one.
Although websites and social media have made it possible for baby sitters to post their resumes, availability and other information online to a large audience, the best and most popular way to find a reputable, reliable sitter is old fashioned word of mouth and recommendations of friends.
Melissa Rieger, mother of 3-year-old Parker, said although she and her husband have only lived in Sheridan for a couple years, they have used friend and family connections to find reliable baby sitters.
“I think there are lot of distractions these days,” she said, noting she is particularly concerned with young people who spend their time emailing, texting or calling on their phones, rather than interacting with Parker.
“I am guilty of that myself but I think the phone is a bad deal,” she added. “And sitting in front of the TV is not baby-sitting either. I prefer a baby sitter to go do something with him.”
Sharie Prout, a mother of two children — Cyrus who is 3-years-old and 2-month-old baby Abby — said she too cultivates the advice of friends and acquaintances that can provide good references for sitters.
“I go off recommendations of friends,” she said.
“I am kind of leery of who I let around my kids. Plus, my kids are so little, how could they tell me if something wasn’t going right?”
The decision on what to pay a sitter can be a tricky one. Again, like getting good references and potentially new jobs, good sitters who play with the kids and have a good time with them, are reliable and show up on time, often are paid more.
“I ask them what they want because a lot of times they have a pay scale,” Rieger said. “I think it goes by how many kids there are and how many hours you will be gone. And some children are more difficult than others, too. There are so many things that factor in. But if Parker has a good time, I am willing to pay more.”
According to UrbanSitter.com pay rates range from $10-14 per hour across the country.
Prout said she too was unsure about what to pay for baby-sitting when she first needed the service. While she does not utilize websites or social media to find baby sitters, she is a member of an online website for parents and she has followed discussions in the group about what is an appropriate hourly amount.
“Somebody posed the question, ‘how much do you pay for a baby sitter?’ and there were a bunch of answers thrown out and I decided from there,” she said.
Prout said while her stepson Lane has been one of their first choices for baby-sitting the past couple years, the recent addition of the new baby makes the job much more complex.
The added responsibility of an infant, in addition to a toddler, can be intimidating.