The Sitter Cafe Blog

A Conversation About Child Care
and the common challenges faced by parents

Thursday, August 9, 2007

for posting at The Sitter Cafe

It may seem easy and obvious, but we have found that many parents simply do not place ADs that effectively communicate their child care needs to the correct group of sitters or nannies. Please take a few minutes to review the information below; It is certain to help you craft an AD that generates the types of responses you want.

  • About Your Phone Number and Email Address

    It's never a good idea to put your telephone number or email address in an AD or Job Posting. Your subscription to The Sitter Cafe includes a secure, private email messaging system that allows sitters to REPLY to your ADs privately, and anonymously.

    A sitter may become very uncomfortable when your AD asks them to reply outside of the secure messaging system provided. Since it might force them to reveal personal contact information, sitters may be reluctant to reply to your AD if you request direct communication immediately.

    Parents and sitters use the private messaging system to communicate anonymously until they are comfortable with each other. This is particularly important to high school age sitters as they are taught to use extreme caution when communicating online.

    An additional benefit of using The Sitter Cafe secure messaging system is that all of the replies you receive from sitters are safely stored in your Sitter Cafe mailbox and are available to you from anywhere you have internet access.

    Keep in mind that you may always make your own email address and/or your telephone number available to sitters who read your AD by changing the COMMUNICATION PREFERENCES from your control panel. That way, when a sitter view's your PROFILE they will see the communication options that you prefer, in addition to being able to use our internal messaging system.

  • Timing Is Everything

    If you wait till the last minute to place an AD sitters will not have the opportunity to receive your email and respond in time. While many sitters check their email once a day, it can take others up to three days or more to review the messages in their mailbox.

    If you advertise for a position months ahead of time, great sitters who might otherwise respond to your Job Posting will ignore it because they are either not thinking out that far into the future, or simply do not know what their schedule will be three months from now. School schedules, sports commitments, band practice, other jobs - all of the things that make up the busy life of students and young adults have to taken into consideration.

    Put yourself in the shoes of the care provider when you decide to place an AD for a job; what would you want to know about the position - and when would you want to know it!

  • Understand what you're looking for and how to communicate your needs:
    A MOTHER'S HELPER Lives out and works for a family to provide childcare and domestic help for families in which one parent is home most of the time. May be left in charge of the children for brief periods of time. May or may not have previous childcare experience.

    A BABYSITTER is defined as someone who provides supervisory, custodial care of children on an irregular full-time or part-time basis. No special training or background expected.

    An AU-PAIR is a foreign national, usually high-school or college age, visiting the United States through the US Cultural Exchange Program for up to two years to experience American life. Lives as part of the host family and receives a small stipend in exchange for babysitting and help with housework. May or may not have previous childcare experience.

    A NANNY is employed by the family on either a live-in or live-out basis to undertake all tasks related to the care of children. Duties are generally restricted to childcare and the domestic tasks related to childcare. May or may not have had any formal training, though often has a good deal of actual experience. Nanny's work week ranges from 40 to 60 hours per week. Usually works unsupervised.

    Your Ad should state the hours of the job and the range of the pay rate. Even if you are very flexible, few adults (college kids) are going to answer ads that are vague about hours and salary. Care providers are looking for work - not something to do with their spare time. Put yourself in their shoes and think 'what would I want to know about the job?'.
  • What A Sitter Needs To Know From Your Ad:
    • Days Per Week
    • Number of Hours Per Day
    • Start time and End time
    • Hourly Salary
    • Do I Need A Car
    • Ages and genders of the children
    • Are There Any Pets to Care For
      (many people are allergic - especially to cats)
    • Do the kids have any special needs
    • Basic job responsibilities
    • Start Date
    • End Date
    Sitters do not need to know from an AD that you are a single parent or that your home is 'wonderful' or that your kids are delightful. Leave that kind of personal information out of your ad.

    Personal information should be shared with a sitter only once you are comfortable with them. Be Smart - Be Safe!

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