Still, even families that can afford the rising cost of babysitting — a 2017 survey from babysitting website Care.com found the national average rate for an after-school sitter was $242, up a third since 2010 — don’t hire a babysitter because it’s such a pain to find a good one. That, in a word, sucks.
That’s also why babysitting apps are so important. They can be a godsend for those parents struggling to secure reliable, safe child care for their kids. Here are seven babysitting apps that make finding, scheduling, paying, and communicating with potential caregivers easier than it’s ever been. Date night, here you come.
Bambino uses your Facebook account to connect you with sitters your friends have used and recommended. It lets parents send a booking request to the sitters you’ve approved, building a list of those who are available and letting you choose the one you want. There are four different rates sitters can earn, from junior sitters (13- to 15-year-olds who are new to babysitting) all the way up to elite sitters (18 or older, lots of experience, background-checked). Timing is automatically tracked and payment takes place directly in the app.
Pricing: Download the app for free; booking fees are applied at the end of the booking: $1.95 for junior sitters, $2.95 for standard, advanced, and elite sitters
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
Sitter assumes you and your friends aren’t among the 16 percent of parents that hoard their babysitter’s contact information to keep friends from poaching, according to Care.com. 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 that prevents end of the night math and “Sorry, I don’t have any bigger bills.” It’s a win-win.
Pricing: $10 per month or $100 per year; free basic membership available (only includes booking and finding sitters through friends)
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. The company says it connects a family to a nearby sitter every nine seconds.
Pricing: $35 per month; free basic membership available
Sometimes what you need isn’t child care but just someone to take your kid where they need to be. Zum is a tech-forward way to arrange transportation for kids, from rides home from school to a carpool with their friends. You can set regular schedules for pick-ups and drop-offs at select schools in California, Arizona, Texas, Illinois, and Florida. And if you need it, you can add up to two hours of child care — either babysitting or chaperoning — before, after, or during a ride. Talk about flexibility.
Pricing: Prices start at $8 per kid for one-way carpool rides and $16 for one-way rides alone. Like ridesharing apps, the price you ultimately pay depends on other details, so the best way to get an accurate estimate is by using this fare estimator.
With 150,000 caregivers in 60 cities and an average response time (to last-minute requests) 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, and post reviews, all in the app.
Pricing: $35 per month, pay as you go; $20 per month or $100 per year with a subscription; 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.
Pricing: $5 per month or $15 annually; 60-day free trial; free, ad-supported accounts available to families with demonstrated financial hardship
In addition to a $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; $30 one-time set-up fee
The beauty of Bubble is that, like Sitter, it connects you to babysitters recommended by your friends ⏤ either by tapping into your phone contacts or your Facebook account. Even better: It’s free. All of the care providers in the system are identity- and 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 makes settling up easy.
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