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Tips for finding a reliable babysitter this summer

Summer Colt holding the Yates family’s 2-month-old baby girl. Summer has babysat for the Yates family for the last year and a half in Castle Pines.


Summer is here, and for parents with young kids, the search is on to find reliable childcare. For many high schoolers and college students, summertime is an opportunity to earn a lot of money babysitting. Too often, parent expectations are not met when hiring a sitter from Nextdoor or Facebook, and it becomes a mystery to parents why some sitters do not feel obligated to do their best with the kiddos or to even show up to the job.

After speaking with a parent of two young kids and 15-year-old super sitter Summer Colt (she has babysat for more than 50 families in and around Castle Pines), here are five tips for parents to help secure a great sitter:

Verbal conversation and text etiquette

An initial phone call gets everyone offline and connected in an old fashioned but necessary way. Texting is optional thereafter, but if a sitter does not want to talk or is slow to respond, move on; this sitter may be unreliable.

Meet and greet

This is an opportunity to discuss the nitty gritty in person, i.e., hourly wage, kid’s allergies or medications, references and expectations while babysitting. A meet and greet should happen days in advance of plans so both parties can decide if the job is a good fit.

Summer explained, “The most common expectations from parents during a meet and greet are preparing meals, the amount of screen time allowed and cleaning up at the end of the night.”

Hourly wage

In Colorado, the average hourly wage for a sitter is $20.25, according to When negotiating the hourly wage consider the sitter’s experience, age, responsibilities, certifications and number of kids.

“For a typical date night with two kids, I will ask for $18 to $21 per hour. But rates should be negotiated based on what parents expect of the sitter,” continued Summer.

Write it down

Parents should not expect the sitter to remember important information about the kids such as medication doses, special diets, allotted screen time, bedtime routine or emergency contacts. Write important information on a piece of paper and leave the paper visible for the sitter.

Keep to the schedule

Parents expect the sitter to show up on time; likewise, parents need to be considerate of the sitter’s schedule and return home at the pre-arranged time.

Summer added, “Sometimes I have multiple sittings in one day and if parents change the schedule on short notice, it could mean I am no longer available.”

Whether finding a sitter online or through referrals, these tips will help weed out the unreliable sitters from the reliable ones. A healthy parent-sitter relationship is built with clear communication and mutual respect, just like any other relationship.


By Grace Caroline Roubidoux; photo courtesy of Summer Colt



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