Other Care Resources

Caregivers/Tutors/Odd-jobbers

Babysitting resume

Whether you tailor an existing resume, use a customizable form, or summarize your experience in an email, you should be sure to mention your babysitting experience, childcare and safety training, and either provide or be prepared to provide references. The Red Cross has an example of a customizable resume form on page 18 of their free guide, the American Red Cross Babysitter's Training Handbook.

Health and safety training

Actively preparing for babysitting jobs will make you a more qualified sitter and may make you more marketable. In addition to its Babysitter’s Training Handbook, the American Red Cross offers Babysitting and Child Care Training, including first aid and CPR, both online and in classroom-based courses. Care.com also offers a list of resources and ideas for finding babysitting training.

Background checks

Not all parents will request a full background check, but some may wish to do so. Background checks generally include a search for criminal convictions (in Massachusetts, this is known as a Criminal Offender Record Information, or CORI check), verification of the basic facts of your education (dates of attendance, degrees earned, etc.), and a driving history. It may also include a check on your credit history. You will be asked to provide your name and several previous addresses, as well as your social security number. A potential employer will use an agency to conduct a background check, and must get your permission to do so in writing. You can read frequently asked questions about CORI here.

Getting started in a babysitting job

Two-way communication between a sitter and parents is critical to a successful working relationship. Before you accept a job, parents should make clear whether you are expected to prepare meals, do the dishes, or any other non-child care chores. Parents should always provide you with a list of emergency phone numbers and basic information about their children’s personalities, habits and schedule. The American Red Cross offers sitters a comprehensive Family Interview Form which provides questions that can guide sitters as they discuss expectations with parents.

Households Looking for Help

Connecting with the Harvard Community

Staff and faculty at Harvard can visit Harvard’s Work/Life Conversations section to seek information and share tips and best practices regarding child care. Other members of Harvard’s communities can go here for information on how to connect with other parents.

Interview question guides

Many sites suggest questions for you to ask at an interview (e.g., Care.com interview guide). 

Establishing a pay rate

Various web sites offer rate calculators (e.g., Care.com calculator), but talking to other parents may give you a better sense of the going rate in your area.

Background checks and interviewing services

If you have found a candidate on your own but would like assistance in making sure this is the right person for your family, American Nanny Company offers Harvard affiliates discounts on services, from background checks to reference checking and interview support. American Nanny Company will provide a la carteservicesfor candidates you identify, at a discount for Harvard affiliates. Visit this page and scroll to the bottom for information.

Health and safety training for your babysitter

The Red Cross offers online and classroom-based training for babysitters, as well as a free guide to best-practices in babysitting.

Preparing your babysitter

Babysitters need to know your rules, your contact information, your children’s medical issues and detailed schedules. Guidelines and printable samples for babysitter checklists are available on several websites: (e.g., BabyCenter.com checklistCare.com checklistSittercity.com checklist).

Communicating with sitters

If you hire a nanny, you may want to draw up a formal contract (e.g., Care.com sample template). If you have a babysitter on an occasional or irregular basis, you may not need a contract, but it’s still a good idea to communicate your expectations clearly, even if it’s in the form of an emailed letter of agreement. Beyond the checklist approach, you should address briefly your parenting philosophy, your approach to discipline, expectations surrounding cooking or cleaning, and any other parameters you wish to establish. Finally, assessment of your child care arrangement should be ongoing. 

Resources for Harvard benefits-eligible faculty and staff

For more on child care resources and benefits available to faculty and staff at Harvard, please visit www.hr.harvard.edu/childcare/. Harvard’s Office of Work/Life can connect you with resource for back-up childcare, limited financial aid for defraying the costs of childcare, and more.

Legal and financial matters

If you hire a babysitter on an ongoing basis, you can expect to have legal and financial responsibilities.  These take some time to prepare, so it’s a good idea to start early. Care.com offers a service called Homepay that can help Harvard affiliates manage these responsibilities. It is always a good idea to check with your own legal or financial advisor to understand your individual responsibilities.