Remember when it used to be stressful and time-consuming to find a reliable babysitter who would come to your house and look after your kids, so that you and your spouse could leave that house and spend some time alone together out at the movies or a bar or a restaurant. Those days will return, but for the moment, the whole notion of childcare has been turned on its head, with millions of parents doing double-duty as remote workers and homeschoolers, and as many childcare workers suddenly struggling to make ends meet.
To bridge that gap, babysitting apps like Sittercity and Care.com have introduced “virtual babysitting” services — as before, these babysitting apps and babysitting websites help you sort through candidates and find a vetted, experienced babysitter in your price range. The key difference: Rather than coming to the house, they’ll spend a few hours online with your kid, going over homework, making crafts, playing games (with free access offered, in some cases, to first responders and seniors during the COVID-19 crisis).
Virtual or actual, when you find the right babysitter, a new kind of magic enters your life (they’re like unicorns that way). After all, having some alone time is very necessary, and if the in-laws aren’t up for daily marathon FaceTime sessions, a babysitter is an absolute must. Today there are lots of nanny websites and apps touting babysitting services, so we’ve found ones we can recommend: Each one makes finding, scheduling, paying, and communicating with potential caregivers easier than it’s ever been. Date night, here you come.
Seeking sitters but can’t deal with legwork? 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
When it comes to babysitting websites, this one is a behemoth: It’s 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 the site and its companion Care.com app to find babysitters. Both tools 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
If you’ve ever thought, “There must be babysitters near me needing work, but how do I find them?” Bambino might be your new BFF. This popular babysitting job app 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.
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. Whether you’re looking for a teen babysitter, college sitters or a seasoned nanny, 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)
The beauty of babysitting job app 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.
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.
In addition to a $30 set-up fee, Seeking Sitters, which offers more than just babysitting services, 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
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.
Every product on Fatherly is independently selected by our editors, writers, and experts. If you click a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.