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What To Expect When Planning Your After-School Child Care


It’s almost time for a new school year, and with back-to-school season comes a whole new set of schedules and routines. After helping hundreds of NYC families find after-school babysitters and nannies every year, we’ve found that there are lots of different approaches and possibilities depending on your family’s unique needs. Here are some pro tips for figuring out the perfect after-school babysitting setup for your family. 

 Group of happy elementary school kids.


Tips for setting up your after-school child care:

In-Home Child Care for Two Full-Time Working Parents

If both parents work full-time, it’s best to have one reliable and consistent full-time nanny (with a reliable backup plan in case your full-time nanny is sick). Having one trusted nanny is easier than managing multiple people on top of everything else you’re doing. When hiring a full-time nanny, it’s important to structure the position in a professional way: establish regular working hours, make sure that your paying your nanny legally and consistently, and provide paid sick days, paid vacation time, annual bonuses and raises, and if possible, health insurance contributions and travel reimbursements. If you have needs outside the scope of what you’ve originally laid out, its best to discuss those with your nanny and possibly hire additional help (like housekeepers or on-call babysitters) so that your nanny’s energy can be put towards the health and development of your child. 

In-Home Child Care for Parents Who Work Part Time

If you work part-time on a consistent schedule, a regular part-time babysitter can be a wonderful and reliable addition to your family. Just like for a full-time nanny, having a consistent schedule with a regular weekly income is the key to having a consistent and committed person. Also, with a part-time job comes a part-time income, meaning your babysitter will likely have other forms of income during the hours they aren’t schedule with your family, or may have other commitments outside of your family. If flexibility is important to you, you could consider offering a higher rate, or having several babysitters in rotation (see the below section for more about that). Be sure to also check out our blog post about hiring a part-time babysitter!

In-Home Child Care for Parents With Flex or Ever-Changing Schedules

If you have two working parents with scheduling flexibility, it’s very possible to piece together a babysitting schedule with several part-time or on-call babysitters. There are lots of benefits of having several different  babysitters. Beyond the convenience of having a handful of babysitters covering different parts of your schedule, you also have the potential for built-in backup babysitters for date nights and school holidays, or times when one sitter is sick or has an unexpected schedule change. You also don’t need to guarantee regular income for on-call babysitting, which means you’ll only pay for what you need. It’s important to have realistic expectations going into a flexible schedule, since it is unlikely that you’ll find one qualified babysitter who is available for an ever-changing variety of days or times.  

Hiring a babysitter without a set schedule: 

If you’re not sure about your schedule yet… that’s fine, too! You may still be figuring out after-school activities and classes for your kids, or unsure about your own schedule for the year. If this sounds like you, your best bet is to work with an agency partner (like SmartSitting!) that can help you schedule on-call babysitting as your needs arise. Agencies should help you find a few after-school babysitters who are available during the times you need them, and who are flexible, adaptable, capable, and comfortable under time constraints. Your babysitters should be able to go from a simple after-school pick up on the Upper West Side to navigating a swim class in Brooklyn on time even with the subways delayed. It is very tricky to nail down a regular babysitter without a regular schedule, and even with the best intentions, you will often need another set of hands (or two) available to you.


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It may seem like a lot to think about, but the great news is that there are plenty of different options and lots of qualified babysitters and reputable agencies in NYC. SmartSitting is a highly selective agency placing the top 6% of applicants with hundreds of families each year. Learn more about us here


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