Where to find and what to pay babysitters in Lake County


For many of us, the first few years of parenting are so overwhelming that we don’t have time to even think about going out in the evening. But eventually, most of us get to a point where we want to get out, without the kids, for a fun evening with our significant other. That’s where the trouble begins, how do you find a sitter, how much should you pay, should they be certified? I took an informal poll of friends and Little Lake County readers to find out what families in Lake County do for babysitting.

Where to find a babysitter in Lake County

Where to find a Babysitter in Lake County

So, where do people go to find a reliable babysitter?  Many people go directly to babysitting websites such as Sittercity.com or Care.com. These sites screen all caregivers, show their qualifications, and allow you to contact them. They typically have a fee to join, and it’s very similar to a dating website. I have personally found a sitter on one of these sites as the fee was covered as part of my husband’s work benefits. I found the sitters to be a bit more expensive and not always as ideally located, but it did allow for many options.

Neighborhood families are often the easiest babysitters to find. High school and college kids who live near you are often eager to make extra money and stay close to home. My friend Corin suggested asking counselors at Vacation Bible School or summer camp. They are around children and typically comfortable with kids. You can also check with local colleges for job boards and bulletin boards. If your child is at daycare or preschool, some teachers are willing to babysit on evenings/weekends. {Editors Note: While at the Lake Zurich Farmers Market, one of the smart moms at our booth said that some school directories also publish babysitters or have a list available. If you are near a college campus, some sorority groups maintain  sitter lists for alumni that you can get on as well}

Finally, if you have friends who live nearby, ask them for babysitter recommendations. Often they have someone they trust and would be happy to share. But beware, some people get very protective of their babysitters and do not like to share, for fear of losing availability!

Once you have found a possible sitter, I highly recommend asking them to come to your home, meet your children, and interview with you. You need to make sure they will be a good fit. Ask them to bring references and if they have been certified. Many local park districts offer a babysitting class aimed at middle school and high school kids to teach them everything they should be aware of when babysitting). Bonuses would be CPR certification and experience working with children. If you think it seems like a good fit, the interview is the perfect time to layout your expectations. Do you want the sitter to clean everything up (dishes, toys, etc.)? Will you allow them to watch television with the kids, are they allowed to talk on their phones and text, can they eat your food? Most importantly, set precisely how much you pay per hour, so there is no confusion.

What to pay a babysitter in Lake County

What to Pay a Babysitter

Speaking of pay, just what exactly should you pay your sitter? I was so nervous when I first hired a babysitter and ended up with a 26-year-old reading specialist. She was excellent, but her price tag to watch my two kids at the time ($14/hr) was hefty, especially when they spent most of the time sleeping. I have since found some reliable neighbors in high school who watch all four kids (although the twin toddlers are sleeping the whole time) for only $8/hr. But with a young sitter, I try to stay close to home if one of my kids has a problem.

The most common answer I received from my poll was $10/hr for two kids. My friend Katie pays $10/hr for her two kids but sets a cap at about $60. So if they are sitting for 7 hours but sleeping the last two, they only get $60. Others pay a lower hourly rate if the kids are sleeping most of the time—age, experience, and the number of kids factor into what you need to pay a sitter. If you find a sitter you like, let them know what you are willing to pay and any limitations you will set based on sleeping time versus awake, cleaning help, or time caps. In the end, most sitters will work with you to get the job, so don’t be afraid to set your price and see what happens.

And if your budget doesn’t allow for a babysitter, ask a friend about babysitting swaps. You offer to babysit friends’ children (at their house like a regular babysitter) in exchange for your friends doing the same for you on a different occasion. Or, as your kids get older, swap sleepovers or sleep under. Your kids go to a friend’s house for the night or just until bedtime, and you get a chance to sneak out for dinner. Just make sure you return the favor.

Babysitters in Lake County (infographic)

Whatever option you choose, make sure that you carve some time away from the house and the kids to get out with friends and your significant other. Not only is it a great break for you, but it’s also a learning experience for your kids.  Having a sitter you can trust allows you to get out, but it also gives you peace of mind of having someone else that can help you if you are in need.

How does your sitter experience stack up? Where do you find one and more importantly what are you paying?

Where to find and what to pay babysitters in Lake County
About Maureen Collier 30 Articles
Maureen calls Vernon Hills home and four children call her “Mom.” With her children (boy 2/06, girl 9/07 and twin boys 6/12), Maureen is a busy Stay-At-Home Mom, who dedicates herself to modeling an active lifestyle for her family.


  1. This was a great article for me personally and professionally! Might I also suggest a sitter alternative like our GPD PNO (Parent’s Night Out). While each family has their own needs, this is a great affordable plan-ahead option with dinner! Children will spend a fun evening engaging in age-appropriate activities, games, crafts and other amenities within the Gurnee Park District Hunt Club Park Community Center. Pizza and juice will be served for dinner. Children six years and older can also enjoy the climbing wall. Each night has a fun theme! Registration required.

    Infants will not be fed by staff. All other children must be self-feeding or fed prior to arrival.

    12 mos. – 3 years old ~ 6:00-8:00pm
    4 – 11 years old ~ 6:00-9:00pm

    Saturday, September 13
    Saturday, October 11
    Saturday, November 15
    Saturday, December 20

    Here are some direct links to info and registration: http://www.gurneeparkdistrict.com/special-events#pno

    https://register.gurneeparkdistrict.com/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/wbsearch.html?xxmod=ar&xxkeyword=night out

  2. I love the concept of a babysitting swap, but typically, most friends don’t want to swap with us because we have 4 kids! & people that have a larger family, bringing that many more kids in can be chaos…
    Any suggestions for larger families with no money & no hope… I mean help?!

    • Shara

      I am in the same boat! 4kids and no money, because four kids (ha!). We do date nights in on Fridays when the kids are in bed. When we want to go out we rely on help and trades during the day when the two older ones are in school. It’s much easier to find a babysitter for the toddler and a playdate for the preschooler so we can go out to lunch together than to try to find help for all of them so we can go to dinner.


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