Online babysitting giant Care.com recently released the results of their annual Babysitter Survey, which found that the national average rate for babysitters in 2017 was $13.97 an hour — a whopping 26 percent increase from 2010. Not surprisingly, the survey also found that cost was the number one reason families don’t hire a babysitter; the number two reason? Finding the right sitter is a time-consuming, stressful pain in the ass. But it is worth it to have a moment to yourselves.
To help you find the right sitter, here are 9 apps and services that make finding, scheduling, paying, and communicating with the best possible caregiver for your little angels easier than it’s ever been. As for the cost, until someone creates a hard bargain-driving A.I. to negotiate for you, you’re on your own.
With 150,000 caregivers in 60 cities and an average response time of three minutes or less, UrbanSitter is the Uber of babysitting websites. One simple interface powers the entire process for parents and nannies. As long as you’re willing to pay the monthly fee, you can search by availability and browse categories like experience, pay rate, and background to find a match; book jobs; make payments; post reviews; and repeat.
Pricing: $34.95 per month, pay as you go; $19.95 per month or $99.95 per year with subscription; Free basic membership available
Sittercity has so many caregiver profiles — more than 1 million nationwide providing babysitting, nannying, pet sitting, senior care, tutoring, housesitting, and housekeeping services — that they decided it’d be easier for them to bring the results directly to you. Post babysitting jobs and you’ll get notifications from sitters matching your criteria who you can vet through the company’s four-step screening process. That process includes references, reviews, interviews, and background checks. According to the company, 4,000 new babysitters join the site every day.
Pricing: $35 per month; Free basic membership available
Sitter assumes you and your friends aren’t among the 16 percent of parents who Care.com says hoard their babysitter’s contact information to keep friends from poaching. The app enables you to create a private network of other parents and trusted babysitters, so you can find new sitters quickly, based on your friends’ recommendations. When you need a sitter, send a single request to your trusted network (even ones that don’t use the app) and the first to commit gets the job. Sitter also includes a timekeeper, calculator, and in-app payment functionality, so no more end of the night math, but also no more “Sorry, I don’t have any bigger bills…”
Pricing: $10 per month or $100 per year; Free basic membership available
This babysitting website takes aim at both the expense and stress of finding a reliable babysitter by rethinking the whole enterprise. When you create a profile on SittingAround, you’re then able to join “co-ops” of parents in your neighborhood who exchange sitting for sitting rather than for cash. Aside from the savings, you get to embrace the whole “it takes a village thing” and actually talk to your neighbors. The service is free to sign up for and use, although for a fee you can access priority support and turn off the ads.
Pricing: $5 per month or $15 annually; 60-day free trial
The beauty of Bubble is that, like Sitter, it connects you to babysitters who are recommended by your friends ⏤ either by tapping into your phone contacts or Facebook account. Even better, though, it’s free. All of the care providers in the system are identity/background checked ⏤ although there’s also a feature where you can ask your friend to “vouch” for them, just to play it safe ⏤ and the secure in-app payment system ensures you don’t have to hit the ATM at the end of date night
In addition to the one-time $30 set-up fee, Seeking Sitters is different in that involves individual local franchises helping families find “one-time, full-time, part-time or last-minute babysitting needs.” All you do is submit an online request for a baby, pet, or house sitter, and they tap into their local network of certified caretakers and send somebody over. Subscription plans are monthly or pay-per-use, you handle all payments directly with the sitter, and you can also gain access to other Seeking Sitters locations when you travel.
Pricing: $6 per month for unlimited requests; $29.99 one-time set-up fee
Formerly known as CluckCluck, this babysitting app is a tactical combination of task manager, emergency contact list, messenger, and payment system created, unsurprisingly, by two lawyers. Similar to some of the above-mentioned apps, you can send a single message to multiple trusted sitters to book them. What’s different is you can create a profile for each kid so the babysitter knows to pay special attention to Johnny’s reading or Jenny’s soccer skills and log said attention accordingly.
If your kids are with a nanny for portions of the day or they walk to school, or if you inherited the “Text me when you get home” gene from your mother, you want Family Locator. You can designate safe and unsafe zones and get instant alerts when the kids enter one, see all your family members’ locations on a map in real time, and tap an SOS button to get your kid’s GPS location instantly if they get lost.
The largest online provider of caregivers (including babysitters, nannies, special needs, tutors, senior caregivers, pet sitters, and housekeepers), more than 25 million people in 20 countries use Care.com and the site’s companion app to find babysitters. Both let parents find, review, book, and pay babysitters, and its new streamlined, three-step “Date Night” engine makes it even easier to get out to see your one blockbuster movie a year.
Pricing: $37 per month or $12.25 per month for 12 months; Free basic membership available