How to find childcare for 4 hours/week


I am in need of some advice. I am returning to school soon and I’ve arranged most of it to be online. However there is one class that requires in person meet ups. My MIL originally agreed to care for my infant but has ultimately chosen to to do so anymore. This leaves me in a dilemma because I only need short term care once a week for about 4 hours maximum. This is not enough work to entice a nanny/babysitter or to enroll him in daycare. My ideal situation as of right now is maybe finding a family who needs ocasional care as well, where we can exchange “babysitting” days.

Is that even feasible? Any who, I’d love to hear feedback or hear from families whom might be interested in this type of short term arrangement. Thank you.

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You can also try UrbanSitter. 

As someone who had babies during grad school, I strongly encourage you to get more than 4 hours/week of childcare if you can possibly afford it!! That might be all you need right now to attend class, but there will also be assignments, meetings with faculty, possibly meetings with classmates, etc. And you didn't mention the age of your infant but you have probably already seen that they change rapidly. There might be stretches now when you can do stuff while baby sleeps, but that will change, and of course you need some time for showers, meal prep, etc!

But to answer your actual question, I think you can likely find a college student to babysit four hours/week (or maybe even a high school student depending on the schedule you need, if you are comfortable with a teen sitter). Try posting on the college job boards.

I did do the exchange with another family for my first semester post-baby and that worked pretty well. Your college/university may be able to connect you with other student parents and I guess posting in the BPN childcare digest is a good option too but might take a while.

I think if you post here with the specific dates and hours, there are plenty of folks, including college students or other parents, who might be interested in an arrangement like this.

We do not fall into the category of needing occasional care, but just wanted to say that if you don't find another family to 'trade' childcare with, or would be good places to look for a recurring babysitter, if you have not checked there already. I know it's not a lot of hours, but the fact that it's recurring/predictable for some period of time could be a draw. Of course I see the appeal of a barter with another family, but worth considering if that does not work out!

Hi there,

Have you tried posting on I have needed several short term arrangements and have always found success on I don't know if you're close to the university at all, but I've also found success posting on Craigslist specifically asking for students who are interested in a short term low hour job. Currently, we found a wonderful student to hang out with our daughter for just an hour and a half 3 mornings a week. If you're patient, you can definitely find someone great using those resources. Good luck! 

Hello! I am in nearly the same boat! I love your idea of finding a family to exchange with. We are pretty Covid-cautious, so I'm not quite sure how to work that out but seems like a live chat would be best? A little info about us--my husband is a historian in a fellowship but looking for a FT position. I studied psych and now do life coaching but mostly mom-ing to my 3 year-old and 4 month-old. My 3-year-old is in a Covid-cautious preschool part-time. Let me know if you'd like to talk further! 

I had a baby while in grad school and also highly recommend more childcare. Even if your classes are online, if they are synchronous, what will you do if your baby is crying nonstop for an hour (this happens, ask me how I know)? Even if they are asynchronous, you will need time for them and your homework, and your baby's nap schedule may be unpredictable and ever-changing. If budget is a concern, I'd suggest making the effort to find a family to swap with. We started a small babysitting coop when my kid was a baby and it is hands down the best parenting decision we have made. It can take effort to find the right family who you trust with your kid, but so worth it. Your other option is a babysitter or, if you're going to be in the house you could even get a mother's helper (usually someone younger and less experienced, but fine if you are around in case they need you, and cheaper).