Oh the reliable, trustworthy, go-to babysitter. Parents seem to always be on the lookout for that unicorn in their life...a Mary Poppins, if you will. While this mythical beast may be impossible to find, the next best thing can be a reliable, trustworthy babysitting resource who can help you find the perfect match for your childcare needs (daily, date nights, or the occasional "me time" moments). We do a lot of coverage here of fun things for you to do with your kids—100s of things, in fact. From outdoor adventures to indoor playspaces, and everywhere in between—but when you can't (or would rather not) take along your kids, who can you count on to make sure they are well cared for?
Fortunately, there are a ton of great resources to help you find coverage, from daily to last-minute. And we are happy to be your one-stop-shop for finding the babysitting service that works for you.
ABC Nanny Source: By working with a specialized placement counselor, ABC Nanny Source makes sure that your childcare provider is a good fit for your family and lifestyle. They've recently expanded into Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and throughout PA which is great if you do any local travel and need an extra hand. Note these services are largely focused on a full to part-time nanny rather than the occasional sitter.
MBR Nanny Network: a trusted local resource for full and part-time childcare that has gone nationwide. MBR prides itself on being a reliable resource both for the families and the nannies they employ. With more than 15 years in the business, they are incredibly experienced at selecting the best fit for your family. Plus they do all the background checks and each of their skilled nannies has to have a minimum of five years experience.
My Fabulous Mama: A trusted resource for prenatal needs and early post-partum needs, My Fabulous Mama also offers nanny placement services. They specialize in placing full-time, part-time and temporary nannies for busy professionals in Center City, South Philly and the surrounding areas of Greater Philadelphia. All nanny sourcing services begin with an initial in-home consultation so they get to know exactly what your family needs.
Nanny League: If you are looking for Mary Poppins, you just might find her here, but she won't come cheap. This nanny-matching service connects "high-profile families" to "college educated, highly competent, creative, and nurturing individuals." Their services range from full or part-time nannies, a babysitter membership, as well as tutors.
No-Libs Nanny Network: This hyper-local service started by a mother-daughter team provides babysitting care by the hour in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Nanny Network: With more than 30 years connecting families to in-home childcare, they have more than 400 vetted candidates, so you are sure to find the perfect match for your family.
Sitter Select: Started by two local moms, Sitter Select has dozens of sitters, all of whom are CPR-certified and have full background checks. They match families with childcare specialists based on the specific needs of your family. Services range from a last-minute babysitter, Postpartum Doula for the first three months, to full-time ongoing care.
Your Other Hands: This local resource has been around since 1998, connecting parents to sitters for full to part-time care, emergency and date night services, and even hotel babysitting (if you have friends traveling in town this is a great find!). They also offer same day care if your previous care plans fall through.
College Students: Home to more than a dozen universities and colleges, it's not hard to find a local student to hire for a less permanent solution. You can connect to nursing students at Penn via firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also connect to students across via Uloop.com, although posting a babysitting gig is fee-based.
National Services: The City of Brotherly Love is served by many of the national sitter companies including: Sittercity, Care.com, and Urbansitter provide services for any range of babysitting to full-time caregiving needs (often including for your pets as well!).
Sitting Around: This national service actually taps into local sitting co-ops, providing you with access to community-based childcare.
Hyper-local Parenting Sites: There are a lot of great listservs in neighborhoods and suburbs of Philadelphia (such as nolibs babies and pennsymoms) and local neighborhood Facebook groups, such as Babysitters Club of the Main Line. My neighborhood Facebook parenting group even has a list of local sitters, so get connected! Not sure where to start? Ask the parents at the playground which groups they belong to.
Top photo courtesy of Christine M.