4 Steps to Finding a Super Babysitter

1. Do Your Homework

Assuming your mother's not available and your daytime caregiver doesn't do weekends, look close to home and ask relatives or friends if they'd like to help out. If they're unavailable, check with local colleges and high schools for students who may be interested.

"Community education programs can often be a good resource because they keep lists of people who have taken a babysitter-training course," says Tracy Sawicki, senior director of the American Red Cross in Buffalo and director of the chapter's babysitting course.

Word of mouth can also be a great way to find good help. Suzanne Conrad, mother of two from Findlay, Ohio, found success through a coworker. After mentioning her search, she learned that a colleague's child had completed the Red Cross course and was looking for work. "It turned out well," Conrad recalls. "She's wonderfully interactive with both children, always entertaining them."

Local churches can also be a good place to uncover a hidden gem. Lisa Kindwall, mother of five from Seabrook, South Carolina, found the right fit while observing the teenage volunteers who cared for her church group's children during meetings. "I was fortunate to meet two 15-year-olds who I now use regularly," she says.

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