Here's the truth — we all wish the world's greatest babysitter or nanny would come highly recommended through a close friend. Or even better, perhaps she'd fly in holding nothing but an umbrella and a bag full of tricks. Unfortunately, life just doesn't always work out that way.
So if you're in need of reliable childcare and word-of-mouth just isn't cutting it, you might want to consider signing up with a nanny app. There are a handful of really good, reputable sites that have worked out for lots and lots of families and childcare providers.
We've rounded up the top five nanny apps/websites to help you find the perfect sitter.
Since 2007, Care.com has been successfully matching families and sitters. On the website or app, you can find part-time or full-time child care, senior care, pet care and a housekeeper.
A basic membership is free for families, which allows you to post jobs. But you won't have access to anyone's contact information, which defeats the purpose of signing up in the first place. A premium membership is $37 per month or $147 annually. With it, you'll be able to contact an unlimited number of caregivers, purchase background checks and access references.
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Urbansitter searches your area to find the top-rated babysitters and shows the sitters who come highly recommended from your neighbors. It's very community-driven, and members take pride in being able to recommend the sitters they love.
According to the site, most requests receive a response within 15 minutes. Whether you're looking for someone full-time, part-time, long-term or short-term, Urbansitter has it all.
Just like Care.com, Sittercity is a site that matches parents and care provider, except a premium membership is free. The site has been around since 2001, so you're more likely to find sitters in your area with Sittercity as opposed to a site that hasn't been around as long.
You have the option to review a sitter and request background and motor vehicle checks. And you can specify if you're looking for someone part-time, full-time, specifically for date-night, before school or after school. You can also request someone with special needs or infant experience.
eNannySource is another solid site that connects parents with qualified nannies. While the site comes with a companion app (not available in the U.S.), it's mostly web-based. It offers comprehensive background services for anywhere from $19 for a basic check to $89 for the most comprehensive check.
You won't find part-time or date-night sitters here though — the site is only for families who are looking to hire a full-time nanny.
Sitter connects parents and sitters, but it works a little differently than the other sites. Parents are able to send messages to multiple potential sitters at once. The first person who accepts the offer gets the gig.
The service is free. First, locate a provider using the directory. You can filter results based on experience or services offered. Then connect with your matches via instant message or a phone call. You can make a short list of your favorite candidates to narrow down your favorites. You can also add the sitters you know from your contact list, or view your friends' sitters if they use the site.