Now that you have children you need to choose childcare and you aren't quite sure how to do that. Should you get a permanent nanny, a part-time babysitter, go through an agency, or go to a website that provides listings for babysitters? It all depends upon what your needs are. It isn't a simple answer and the first thing you need to evaluate is what your family needs are in regards to babysitting.
You need to decide what your needs are as a family and what quality babysitter is necessary. Obviously older children have fewer needs therefore your babysitter may not need to be a babysitter that needs to be as interactive with your children since they should be able to be able to know what they like to do and self-entertain. However they will need guidance as to when too much screen time etc, also do you just need transportation? Why would you pay a babysitter for 4 hours when you only need someone to pick-up and drop-off to after school activities or just home? All of these plus others are needs you need to evaluate. A high schooler (that is normally cheaper) could be the answer.
Here is a chart that may assist you to know what will be the course of action for your family:
|Benefits||Get a babysitter on your own||Use an agency||Transportation only||Use a service that lists babysitt-ers or nannies||Pre-School|
|Affordable ($15.00-$25.00/hour)||X||X depends on agency||X||X|
|Childcare on the fly||X (possible)||X more access to more babysitters||X (possible)|
|Pool of childcare providers at your finger tips||X||X|
|Direct Contact with the caregiver and vetted||X|
|Provide Tax information and handles it for caregiver||X||X||X|
|Safe and Secure environment||X||X||X||X|
|On-call childcare||X (possible)||X|
|Sick and snow day coverage||X||X|
|Nighttime care for dates etc||X||X||X|
|Socializing with other children||X|
There are always other things you will need to consider but keep this guide to help you begin the evaluation of what you will need as far as childcare. Usually it isn't a one size fits all answer. Each family is different so keep in mind what your needs are and that you may need more then just one form of childcare; for example, you may get a babysitter on your own and choose to have an agency to fill in when that babysitter or nanny can't be there due to illness etc. If you need more then just transportation just getting a transportation agency probably isn't the correct way to go either but if it is the only thing you need for your children because they are old enough to be on their own but still too young to drive themselves to after school activities etc. they are a fantastic source.
The last thing you need to consider is to trust your gut. If something isn't sitting right with you in regards to your childcare provider listen to it! Even if the kids love the caregiver but you just feel like something is not quite right you need to figure that out. I've learned that rarely is my intuition wrong and when I interview someone that doesn't seem up to snuff with my standards and I hire them anyway 90% of the time my intuition was right.