The Ultimate in Parent Multitasking: Main Line Early Education Fairs and Sitter Speed Dating
Main Line Parent and UrbanSitter take multitasking to a whole new level with Sitter Speed Dating, one of the highlights of this weekends Early Childhood Education Fairs. The next generation of speed dating, this informal networking opportunity is a quick and easy way for parents and sitters to connect and explore a potential childcare relationship. The event is perfect for nannies and sitters looking to fill their spring and summer schedules (or simply pick up a few hours here and there), and for families that have changing childcare needs or are new to the area. Sitters and families will have a chance to speak with remembers of the UrbanSitter team, and learn how to keep the recommendations and referrals coming via urbansitter.com. If you havent yet heard about the online resource that moms everywhere are swooning over, well, you can thank us—and them—for passing along this virtual Little Black Book of babysitters. Theres a lot of handy information on the web about how UrbanSitter.com works, but we’ve got some great information for you right here (scroll down), thanks to an informal chat with Philadelphia’s community manager, Sarah Peppal. The sound bite we’ve been hearing from moms though, is that it’s a lot like OpenTable. (Brilliant, right?) Now back to that Sitter Speed Dating… just think of how much time you will save by popping into either the Wayne or Wynnewood Ed Fairs and getting to know a dozen or more potential sitters AND getting the scoop on myriad Early Ed and summer camp options all in one fell swoop. Like we said, that is the ultimate in multitasking. This family friendly meet-‐and-‐greet is just one of the ways Main Line Parent is helping families resolve every day issues. Bringing the leading schools, camps, and childcare providers TO parents, under one roof, is another. The Main Line Early Childhood Education Fairs are the easiest way to learn about the best preschool and kindergarten programs, camps, and childcare options in our area and to discover the best fit to help your child excel. For more information visit mainlineparent.com and join our Facebook community. And, to glean a little inside scoop about urbansitter.com … What factors do you think are most important to parents in choosing a sitter? Experience: Previous childcare experience is incredibly important. Beyond the number of years a candidate has been babysitting or nannying, its important to ask if he/she has experience with children your child’s age. If you have an infant, youll need a sitter that is comfortable changing diapers. If you have a toddler, youll be on the lookout for active sitters who like to take the kids to the park. If you have multiples, its important the sitter has cared for more than one child at once.
Qualifications: Ask your sitter questions to dig deeper into their qualifications—questions you might not think to ask like, “do you speak another language,” “do you know how to cook,” “are you willing to help with errands and household chores.” Also, remember to ask if they have their current child and infant CPR certification and first aid training certification. If you find a great sitter who isnt CPR trained, you could always offer to pay for a class -‐ or better yet, take one with her. Itd be a great excuse for you to brush up on your CPR too. Availability: Be sure to ask the sitter if they will be available on the days and times youll need her/him. Some sitters are only looking for occasional work on the weekends, while others may be up for consistent part time work. Set expectations up front, so neither you, nor the sitter is disappointed when a job is declined. Reliability: Lets face it; most babysitters are young adults who are still learning to be responsible. Look for a sitter who responds quickly to your emails or phone calls. Its a good indication that they will show up to your babysitting job on time. Also, be sure to confirm the sitters transportation situation -‐-‐ will you need to pick them up, or do they have a reliable way to get to your home? Personal Recommendations: Beyond your interview with the sitter, youll want to ask for personal references to hear first-‐hand from families they have worked for previously. Theres nothing more comforting to hear than another parents personal recommendation. Better yet, ask your friends and parents you know from your child’s school if they can recommend any sitters. By doing your due diligence upfront, youll find someone you feel you can really trust. …What’s great about our UrbanSitter.com is that we take this process of finding personally recommended sitters online, so you can quickly and efficiently find sitters through your personal networks. Once I log in, I can instantly see sitters my Facebook friends have used and reviewed—and also sitters that parents from my child’s school, swim team, or my local mommy group have used and recommend. In addition to reviews from parents, each sitter’s profile page includes information about their childcare experience, qualifications, on-‐time ratings, and even a calendar they keep up to date with their availability, so you can book them for an interview or job at the click of a button! What criteria must sitters meet to join? Who does the vetting? UrbanSitter is an online marketplace, where any babysitter may join so long as they agree to the Terms of Service. Vetting happens via the power of social recommendation, i.e., parents give positive recommendations and reviews of sitters, which in turn fuels the popularity of the sitter among the parent community. Babysitters also post their own credentials (childcare experience, CPR/First Aid training, coursework), and can apply for a background check.
How much does it cost to sign up/use? Do both parents and sitters pay? UrbanSitter is free for both parents and sitters to sign up and use. Sitters set their own rates and parents pay them directly in cash or via credit card. Parents who opt for the convenience of paying a sitter with their credit card are charged a $7.50 convenience fee per job. How many sitters are in the system here in Philadelphia? 100 sitters Are there mingling events for sitters and parents hosted by urbansitter.com? Yes, UrbanSitter hosts Meet & Greet events, where parents can meet sitters. Specifically, there are two events coming up in the Philadelphia area. We also host Speed Sitting events, where parents interview sitters in a fast-‐paced round robin similar to speed dating. You can find out more on our Facebook events page: https://www.facebook.com/urbansitter/events Are there privacy issues in connecting via Facebook? When you register, you are only sharing your basic Facebook information, which includes your name, photo, location, and “friends” list. In addition, we never post anything to your Facebook wall or timeline without expressed permission. The Facebook social network is an important part of UrbanSitter. The magic of the service comes into play when you can use social recommendations to make hiring a sitter easier than you thought it could ever be. Registering with a Facebook account enables you to: • Log in securely with just one click • Find trusted babysitters through your friends • Share and recommend sitters easily Parents know what questions to ask sitters, but what should sitters ask them? During an interview it’s always a good idea to ask questions to determine if youre a match. Examples are: • What are your expectations of me as a babysitter (watching kids, driving kids, errands, laundry)? • What should I know about your child? • What is your discipline style? • Is there anything a sitter has done that really impressed you? Or something you really didnt like? And, while you are “on the job,” it is also helpful to know the expectations: • What is the kids schedule for today/tonight? • How often would you like me to check in with you? • Do you have an emergency contact list? • Can you provide me transportation (or cab fare) if youll be home late?
If I’m a sitter, how can I make sure my rates arent too low or too high? On UrbanSitter, sitters can change their rates as frequently as they would like. By starting at a higher rate, sitters can lower their rates until they see job requests from parents increase. Sitters may also consult the Job Board to see rates parents are currently offering for different types of jobs. How can both families and individuals seeking childcare employment improve their chances of finding the best match? We designed UrbanSitter with this purpose in mind. Sitters can customize their profile with a multitude of credentials including background check, certifications, languages spoken, experience with various age groups and special needs, and willingness to do errands, cook, or drive the kids. Parents can then use our search filters to find a perfect match-‐-‐who is also available at the date and time they need them. Parents have the option to interview their sitters before scheduling an official job. We offer three types of interviews: over the phone, in-‐person, or working interview.