I've never really needed a babysitter before (mostly because my social life has been crap) but have had a few occasions where I've had to decline invites due to lack of a sitter. My mother in law is the only person willing and able to babysit for me but she has a busy life herself with other grandchildren and so isn't always available.
Hence I need a sitter. I'm really stuck as to how to go about finding one. I've exhausted family and friends and none are able to, plus it usually is family events when I need one.
So how do people generally find sitters? I looked at online sites but I don't want to have a range of people caring for my kids, just one regular sitter that they can get to know.
Should have added. One of the biggest problems I've come across is the fact my children have a large age gap, so I have an 11 year old and a 1 year old. People who have been happy to have the eldest have not felt comfortable with the little one and when I asked at the local nursery a girl agreed to watch the baby but said she didn't feel experienced enough to watch my eldest as well.
Talk to people - friends, neighbours, colleagues. Between them they will either have teen/adult children willing to do it, or will use a babysitter themselves who they will recommend to you. You just need to put the word out that you are looking.
I am a newly registered childminder and struggling for business at the minute.
Someone has put a note on netmums that they live in my local area and looking for a babysitter on an adhoc basis usually evenings weekends.
I've replied and going to meet the family tomorrow. I will take my references, pvg (think crb in England) and my reg certificate. Will show my training certificates etc.
I am only charging £5 an hour as need the business and actually will earn more than I do per hour from childminding at the moment.
The point of my post is to advise you to try putting a note up on netmums. You maybe lucky and get nannies or childminders who apply. Nothing wrong with anyone else who replies to you. Just easier to check credentials etc. if it is a registered child care worker who replies to your post.
I found a babysitter by advertising on nannyjob. I was looking for a nanny and interviewed a few people. One of the ones who wasn't really suitable because of the hours she was able to work is great for babysitting. If you are able to advertising might be a good option particularly if you are concerned that you want to find someone who is happy with the ages of your children. It might be a bit more hassle to interview and check references and probably depends where you live how many responses you might get but in my experience it was a good way to find a good flexible babysitter.
I would email local childminders asking if they offer babysitting service. Many do. Be prepared to pay at least NMW. I charge £7/h but know sitters 2 miles away who charge £10 and are not short of business.
We were in the same position as you (all our family live over 200miles away). I did try asking locally but could not find one. In the end we signed up to the Sitters agency. We had several baby sitters through them and they were all great. We especially liked one called Susan, so always requested her when making a booking. If we booked far enough in advance we always got her, if it was a last minute booking we sometimes got someone else. It was expensive but was a life saver at the time.