Working as a Childcare Provider

Parent Q&A

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  • How to Become a Babysitter

    Feb 5, 2019

    Hi all,

    I feel silly asking this. I have raised three children, many nieces and nephews, started babysitting as a teen. I am a semi-retired attorney, incredibly healthy, mid-50’s and I love children. I sadly have no grandchildren and really miss being with little ones. Websites like Sittercity, etc. seem like scams.

    I don’t have recent experience because I have been doing other work; how can I offer my services? I am great with kids and they naturally like me. 

    Thanks for your help and suggestions,


    Perhaps you could apply to Swiss Cheese Childcare?

    My experience with them is as a parent - I have used them for years and am always impressed by the quality of sitters. I know that people use their sitters for all types of jobs, from typical evening sitting when parents go out, to help with morning drop off or afternoon pickups from school. Vicki the owner has been great to work with for me as a customer, I imagine she would be for the sitters too.

    If you’re mainly interested in time with babies (vs. making some extra money), the mama/baby yoga class at Yogalayam in Berkeley was mentioning they are looking for volunteer baby holders. The volunteers entertain and hold the babies and support the mothers during class. It is a wonderful and loving space and as a student I am so grateful for the space to practice and loving arms the baby holders provide. 

    You might consider getting involved with Swiss Cheese Childcare, a local babysitting agency. We've booked sitters through them for our son and they're a great company. Also, for what it's worth, I don't think SitterCity and Urbansitter are scams, I know people who book sitters through them regularly. You might also try posting something on your neighborhood Nextdoor offering your services. 

    We typically use Urbansitter to find nannies/sitters.  I would recommend setting up a profile there.  You could try NextDoor as well.  Trusted is another popular one. 

    You can try Nextdoor, it seems like people are looking for regular and occasional babysitters all the time. My daughter has gotten a great, regular babysitting job on, it is free to offer your services, it is not a scam. My co-workers look for babysitters on and on Good luck.

    I don't know why you think sittercity is a scam, a lot of parents use that or to find sitters. 

    I’d try and get yourself cpr certified. If you make your rates lower than the nannies with years of recent experience I bet loads of parents would be interested in someone who genuinely wants to spend time with their kids for an affordable fee. Maybe pay for a background check on yourself as well since you don’t have any recent child references. 


    People use a lot. It's not a scam, I've used it to find babysitters and so have most of my friends! There's also, also not a scam.

    Before putting yourself out there online I would recommend getting some current/recent experience. Personally I would not hire a sitter without at least one current reference. Do you have any friends or neighbors with kids who might appreciate some childcare- maybe at a discounted rate if they would agree to becoming a reference? Even if they did not want to join Urbansitter or to leave you a review, at least they could be a contact for someone to get a reference the old-school way. And then eventually as you get more jobs, hopefully you'd start to get reviews on whatever site you are using. For many parents seeking sitters, seeing several positive parent reviews on the website is enough, & they don't even bother calling anyone to check references the old school way.

    I'd also recommend getting certified in CPR, that's something I always look for.

    you might also look into working a daycare situation. There are daycares at many YMCAs for example, I'm not sure what sort of experience you need but it might be worth looking into. We really like the childwatch at the downtown berkeley Y

    This is just my take on it as the mom of a 2 year old. Maybe others have a different take.

    good luck

    I suggest Nextdoor. Perhaps you can find something close by. And people are more likely to trust people that live in their neighborhood because their are part of the community. 

    I would try posting your message on your local Next Door chapter. That will have two benefits - first, you’ll find babysitting jobs close to your home and second, I think in general people feel more trusting of local people who have been verified to live in their neighborhood and therefore could be easily “traced.”  As someone with two kids I’d love to have someone like you as a babysitter!  Hope that idea helps. 

    Try Bananas on Claremont Ave in Oakland.  They have many great caregiver support classes, as well as CEs and CPR.  They also have a childcare listing for providers.

    Hi Pat, I think posting on BPN is an excellent way to kick-start your sitting career! Otherwise word of mouth and UrbanSitter are how we’ve found most of our sitters. I’m interested in meeting you. I have a bright, active 8-year-old. 

    Urbansitter and are good places to post your availability and skills.

  • Hi - I’m looking for an attorney with experience advising in-home daycares or preschools. Planning to establish an in-home daycare and would like advice on tax, liability, licensing, and LLC/incorporation issues. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thank you!

    Bananas, an Oakland referral agency, holds monthly information workshops on how to open and operate an in-home childcare, including accessible local free resources. They will walk you through the process. Next, Community Care Licensing holds mandatory orientation classes for people who want to open a in-home childcare. Be sure to pre-register and pre-pay the $25 fee to attend by calling CCL at 510-622-2602 or going to Since Community Care Licensing is the agency that will license your child care, ultimately they are your best resource on how to proceed, including information on what liabilities you need to carry.

    I would advise you to attend the Bananas information workshop and then the CCL class before consulting an attorney.