I have some uncertainty about leaving my children with someone I don't know?
Many parents have these feelings when they leave their children with a babysitter they don't initially know - and then afterwards wonder what they were concerned about! You wouldn't be the first or last to have felt this when leaving your children at a playgroup, nursery or daycare centre. Our sitters have chosen to work with children because they enjoy it and you'll find that they are quick to put you and your family at ease. What Sitters' clients have found is that their family soon gets to know a small group of babysitters from their area.
How do you select the childcarers?
All Sitters approved childcarers have at least 2 years' professional childcare experience. They are vetted in a three stage process including a detailed application form, an interview and reference checking. We look for knowledgeable, experienced childcarers who can demonstrate a long term commitment to childcare.
What do you mean by professional childcare experience?
All Sitters childcarers have experience in professional childcare employment. The majority are registered childminders, qualified nannies or nursery nurses, as well as teachers, teaching assistants and paediatric nurses.
Do your childcarers have experience with newborn babies and infants?
Yes - many Sitters' childcarers have years of experience working with newborns and infants. You can rest assured that we will only ever offer your bookings to childcarers who have the relevant experience for your family.
Can I meet the babysitter beforehand?
We suggest that on your first sitting you arrange for the babysitter to arrive 30 minutes before you leave. You can then introduce her to your family and be in a position to see how well she relates to your children. If the children are ready for bed she could read them a story or if they are older you could start a game together. Our experience is that when you introduce your babysitter in this way children soon feel comfortable.
It is usually not practical to meet a sitter before you need her to babysit, as she may not be available when you do need a babysitter. However, if you are very nervous about leaving your child for the first time, why not make your first evening out very local and arrive home early?
Our sitters have been carefully selected and have experience working in the childcare professions. They have chosen to work with children because they enjoy it - you'll find they are quick to put you and your family at ease.
Are all Sitters babysitters DBS checked?
The majority of Sitters babysitters have experience working as Registered Childminders and have been DBS (formerly CRB) checked as part of their OFSTED registration. Nannies working for families are not required to obtain DBS checks and for this reason we are very thorough in following up references with previous employers.
Are Sitters childcarers insured?
For your complete peace of mind, when you book childcare through Sitters.co.uk your babysitter is covered by Sitters' insurance, including cover in the unlikely event of any accidental damage or injury caused by a childcarer during your booking.
Can I have the same babysitter each time I book?
Wherever possible your bookings will be offered first to your Top 3 Favourite sitters (you can let us know who your top 3 favourite babysitters are via your online account). One of the strengths of Sitters' service is that we will always endeavour to find you an experienced and reliable babysitter, local to you. Many of our childcarers have commitments to their own families and it may not always be possible to supply the same babysitter on every occasion. In practice families find that they get to know two or three local babysitters who cover most of their bookings. We'll send you an email as soon as we've filled any bookings you make - with details about your Sitters childcarer.
Can Sitters provide care for my children during the day?
Absolutely! Our sitters are available for daytime childcare in your own home. We all have times when we have to attend an appointment, meeting or function where it's easier if children are looked after at home. Perhaps you need to work from home and could do with an extra pair of hands to take care of your children? Many parents find this service particularly useful during school holidays and as emergency cover at home when other childcare arrangements fail (if your childminder falls ill, or if your child is unwell and cannot attend school/nursery).
Do you provide sitters for school pick-ups?
We regret that we cannot provide Sitters childcarers to collect your children from school or after-school clubs. The primary role of your Sitters childcarer is to look after your children and keep them safe within your home - rather than act as a chaperone.
Do sitters stay after midnight?
Most babysitters are prepared to sit until close to midnight or occasionally even later - we always suggest that when you make a booking, you state the latest time you are likely to be out until (so that your childcarer is prepared). If you plan to be home later than 3am then your booking is classed as an Overnight booking and you will need to provide a suitable bed for your childcarer.
Can you provide care for my child who has special needs?
Although some of our childcarers have special needs experience we are unable to guarantee that we have sufficient carers with the right experience in your area.
How do I pay the childcarer?
It is your responsibility to pay your childcarer for her time at the end of the booking (you should ask your sitter whether they would prefer payment by cash or cashless transfer). Sitters.co.uk are not responsible for paying the childcarers. Recommended hourly rates for childcarers in your area can be seen on our Cost page. Sitters carers are unable to accept Childcare vouchers or Child Tax Credits as payment.
How much notice do you need if I want to book a babysitter?
We'll always try to meet last minute needs - even if we're given as little as 2 hours' notice. However, thankfully, most bookings are made with three or more days notice and we're quite happy to take your bookings two or three months ahead. The more notice you give us the better your chance of booking your preferred babysitter before someone else does. As soon as we've filled your booking - we'll send you an email telling you about your babysitter and confirming the time and date of the booking.
Do I have to pay the babysitter for travelling time?
No, although we do recommend that you pay them for a minimum of three hours per booking and that you round fractions of an hour up to the next quarter hour. In most areas of the country, our sitters have their own transport. However, in London most sitters rely on public transport - so if you arrive home later than agreed and no public transport is available, you would be expected to contribute towards the sitter's taxi fare. Sitters carers are unable to accept Childcare vouchers or Child Tax Credits as payment.
Why is there a minimum booking of three hours?
We have to ensure that childcarers are willing to give up their day/evening to look after your children. In our experience the combination of the hourly rate and the minimum booking of 3 hours provides the balance required to ensure our professional childcarers are prepared to attend your bookings.
Is there a maximum number of children per babysitting?
There are limits as to what we consider safe. Under usual circumstances if there are more than 2 children under three years old or more than 5 children in total a second babysitter is required. Please remember that membership of Sitters is for the care of the children of one household per membership. A separate membership is required for each additional family whose children are present. However, a second babysitter is only necessary when the above guide numbers are exceeded.
Why do you charge both membership and booking fees?
The simple answer to this is because it's the fairest way of charging families for the service provided. Some families use Sitters' service every week, others may only call on us 4 or 5 times a year. Your membership covers the fixed cost of attracting, interviewing and reference checking sufficient childcarers to provide a reliable service in your locality. And booking fees cover the variable cost of scheduling a babysitter for you when required.
Can I cancel my membership at any time?
Of course - you can cancel your membership any time by clicking here. Membership cancellations are always acknowledged by email and are effective on receipt.