UrbanSitter: Quality Child Care, Online Convenience (and a Giveaway!)


Finding great babysitters is a high priority for many of us parents. As much as we love our kids and enjoy spending time with them, we also relish our grown-up time and getting out sans babes in tow now and then. There are also those the non-leisure occasions that we might need quality child care for our most precious little people. Either way, we want to know they are in good hands when we’re not around, and even better if we can come by that conveniently.

So, when UrbanSitter contacted me recently to tell me about their service and offered an opportunity to try it out, I happily took them up on it. UrbanSitter, which is relatively new to the DC area, links parents and babysitters through a convenient online interface that’s also available as an app. But what makes it unique from other online babysitting services is its social feature that connects users to sitters through people they know using Facebook connect. You can also see sitters’ availability on a calendar, read reviews from others who have hired them, and pay using a credit card. That last part was especially appealing to me — I can’t even count the number of times we’ve gone out of the way to hit an ATM on the way home to get cash for the babysitter or wasted checks because it took a few tries to write ledgibly after a fun night on the town (you know I mean).

While we have a regular sitter who we love and trust, she’s not available every single instance that we need her, and we’ve found ourselves scrambling for other options or even foregoing plans to go out. UrbanSitter sounded like something that needed to be part of my life.

My foray into the service started out easily enough. I signed up for free, connected through Facebook, then simply followed the very clear instructions on getting started — as in, there’s a distinct toolbar at the top of the home page that says “Find a sitter for…”, and I just inserted my area, the date and time I needed, and number of kids. After hitting the search button, the results page came up displaying a list of babysitters. Since it was my first time using UrbanSitter, a fairly lengthy list of all of the area sitters came up. However, as you use it more, there are options to view them by sitters you know (either from hiring or corresponding with them), sitters your friends know (which includes your friends signed up on the site as well as babysitters you’ve hired), and sitters you might like (based on similarities to other sitters you’ve hired).

You can sort the list by a number of different criteria and check off preferences such as languages they speak, experiences with specific ages, and even whether or not they accept credit cards. I sorted my list by number of reviews, so I could read about others’ experiences with sitters.

Their profiles include a paragraph with general background information — child care experience, education, jobs they’ve held or currently hold (some work full- or part-time and babysit on the side), and their babysitting philosophies (activities they like to do with kids, how they approach the job, etc.). You can also view more information at a glance such as rates, whether they’ve had a background check, languages spoken, whether or not they smoke, locations where they prefer to work, and more.

I made my first selection based on positive reviews and because it sounded like she might live close to me. However, it turned out someone had booked her just minutes before, so she was not available. The next sitter I tried (for the same reasons) was also not available. The third sitter, Meghan, did not live as close, but had many great reviews, and she was available. I clicked a button to request an interview, she responded almost immediately, and we exchanged messages and phone numbers online, then had a nice chat on the phone before officially booking the sit.

One thing to note is that you can schedule to interview or you can go ahead and book right away. Apparently, I kind of did both… I scheduled the date and time I wanted her to babysit, but asked for the phone interview first. Little did I know I was actually blocking that time for an interview. But Meghan was very gracious and pointed it out when she came to babysit the next evening and helped me correct it.

As for the sit, all went very well. She was friendly, asked about everything I would have expected — evening routine, bedtime, allergies, contacts — and made us feel like the kids were in trustworthy hands. We checked in during the evening and got a nice report from the home front and an offer to load the dishwasher. And when we returned later that evening, she confirmed the hours on her phone app, and I simply went on the website and paid with my credit card. (All checks intact, thank you very much). The kids gave a glowing report the next morning, too.

If you, too, are looking for a convenient and efficient way to find quality child care, whether it be the occasional sit or a full-time nanny, I highly recommend UrbanSitter. And tell all your friends, too… the more that are on it, the more you can share sitter experiences and get recommendations conveniently through your own social network.

So, who’s ready for a date night?

GIVEAWAY: Want a chance to win $80 in credit to use on UrbanSitter? Leave a comment below telling me your favorite place to go for a date night. To be eligible to enter, you must sign up with UrbanSitter and you need to “like” KidFriendly DC on Facebook. This giveaway will run through the weekend, and a winner will be drawn and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by UrbanSitter, and I received credit from them to use toward our babysitting experience. However, all opinions express are entirely my own, and I only promote services and activities that I sincerely believe in and/or think would appeal to KFDC readers.


Filed under DC, Free, Giveaway, Professional Service

32 Responses to UrbanSitter: Quality Child Care, Online Convenience (and a Giveaway!)

  1. Our favorite spot to go for a date night is Volt in Frederick. It’s a hike to get there, but the food is incredible and always worth it.

  2. Nellie Baggett

    We just moved here and my husband deployed 6 days after. My favorite spot for date night is where ever I can get an hour to myself! Can’t wait to finally find a sitter!

  3. Heather

    We moved here in September with our newborn, and our first “date night” was to Dukem Restaurant. I’d go there again in a heartbeat.

  4. Allison

    Anywhere I can eat food that I didn’t have to cook 🙂

  5. Shannon

    This post is very timely. I’m currently researching sitter services and only browsed care.com since it’s advertised on tv. I signed up and liked your Facebook page. I’m looking forward to finding quality and dependable sitter services for telecommute days and an occasional date night with my husband.

  6. Evelyn Garcia

    My faviorate date night includes the following activities, sometimes in this order: Thai food because i have mad dairy & gluten allaergies a
    – thai food makes it so easy to eat put: a movie at my beloved local amc because they have super comfy reclining chairs, and a pit stop for a glass of wine/tea before we go home.

  7. kathleen kiley

    I love going to eat at Equinox in dc.

  8. Jennifer

    We’re getting ready to move to the area this summer and have no clue how to find a good babysitter. Thank you so much for posting this! Our favorite date night is sushi because we don’t get to have it very much with our finicky kids.

  9. Melissa May

    We just moved here back in January and we love Ping Pong Dim Sum. One of my favorite spots. Currently, we are trying to find a great sushi place in the D.C. area.

  10. Theresa

    I LOVE going somewhere that we can walk around (Old Town Alexandria, Georgetown, etc.) and then have dinner afterwards.

  11. C Szathmary

    We live on U Street so our favorite place to go out is U Street. There always seems to be a restaurant/bar/club/show we haven’t had a chance to check out.

  12. C Carroll

    Single mom who is relatively new to the area. Definitely still trying to figure things out. So far I have enjoyed hanging out with friends on U Street, Clarendon, and the National Harbor.

  13. Sarah Jordan

    Acqua al 2 at Eastern Market! Amazing neighborhood location, delicious food, and a very festive, romantic atmosphere.

  14. Victoria McKenney

    Anywhere we can go to have an adult dinner and conversation without being interrupted for a few hours is a treat!

  15. dawn

    Out to dinner..date night happens so rarely we could really use this!

  16. Erin W.

    Eating a meal without my 3 year old climbing all over me is a treat that is hard to quantify with a specific dollar value. My husband and I love dinner and a play date nights in DC!

  17. Sarah

    A nice dinner at brasserie beck

  18. Carri

    We actually just moved here so we would love to do some dates at the local museums without the kids!

  19. Lisa D

    What is this “date night” of which you speak? lol. We like to go to the climbing gym together in Rockville and get a workout.

  20. Jennifer Park

    Restaurant Eve!

  21. Cate Clark

    We have a 3 month old, so any date night would be a great and welcome change! I’d love to go to have good sushi at Sei.

  22. When the weather is nice we love to go paddle boating or hiking.

  23. Anita Molina

    I will check this out. We’ve definitely found ourselves needing a sitter only to find our routine sitter isn’t available. This could prove invaluable! As always, thank you for the information.

  24. Anita Molina

    Fave place for date nights, il raddichio in Arlington.

  25. Elizabeth Ehrhardt

    The grocery store. I mean, downtown DC. Jaleo is always fun with their profusion of pitcher of Sangria.

  26. Maria

    We have a two year old daughter and haven’t gone to a date ever since she was born for she’s always with me. Before we used to love having picnics at a garden under the stars at night. And just talk and talk about anything!

  27. colleen

    Ray’s the Steaks!

  28. Liz

    Walking the mile to Cleveland Park for dinner at Ripple, then walking home on a lovely spring evening.

  29. Aditi

    Zaytinya in DC-wonderful food always and The Source at the Newseum was great!

  30. Allison B

    Love Beau Thai in Mount Pleasant. Great addition to the neighborhood and work the trek up for it if you live elsewhere in the city.

  31. Susan M.

    A movie and dinner …Vermillion would be nice!

  32. Love Beau Thai in Mount Pleasant We have a two year old daughter and haven’t gone to a date ever since she was born for she’s always with me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *