Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Barnard Babysitting Agency?
Begun in 1965, the Barnard Babysitting Agency is a student run agency that provides parents and sitters a safe and reliable way to connect with one another. We serves as a clearinghouse between sitters and parents. The BBA is not involved with the placement process; it is entirely up to the parents to hire the candidate of their choice.

Who are the Barnard Babysitters?
They are full-time students at Barnard, an undergraduate liberal arts college for women. It is not a teachers college, nor does everyone major in child development psychology – however, all babysitters are students who genuinely want to care for children. The sitters are independent contractors with the agency. We are not involved in the payment process, which is strictly between sitters and parents. For questions about sitters filing taxes, please refer to the Household Employers Tax Guide.

What experience do the sitters have?
Their experience varies. Some sitters have been caring for children for many years and have references; others have only watched kids in an informal setting. To become a Barnard Babysitter, a student is “oriented” in the rules and policies of our service, and in general babysitting protocol. They are not trained in babysitting techniques. We suggest you ask for references, or have a phone or in-person interview. While we do act as liaison between sitters and parents, they are independent contractors who are not employees of the Barnard Babysitting Agency or Barnard College, and the payment process is strictly between parents and sitters.

How do I post a job?
After you are registered, fill out the job listing form online to submit your job. Posting online is the easiest way and most reliable way to post a job, but we will also accept listings post over the phone or through email. All we need to post your job is your last name, primary phone number, and the days and times or date and time of your job, along with the wage. These jobs are available to our sitters during office hours.

What kind of job can I post?
You can post a sporadic, one time job, or a regular basis job with a set weekly schedule. Evenings, weekends, and short, flexible daytime hours are best. All jobs must take into account that our sitters are full time students – flexibility and limited hours are the key. We are also open in the summer, when many sitters are available for more extended hours for up to 40 hrs/wk. Our summer season is from mid-May through the end of August.

When can I post a job?
We have deadlines for regular jobs. The deadline for the fall semester, September through December, is September 8th. The deadline for the spring semester, mid-January through April is February 3rd. The deadline for the summer, May through August, is May 22nd. We accept sporadic jobs on a continuous basis, but we suggest that you post your sporadic job at least one week in advance. If you need a sitter for a sporadic job over the weekend, you must post before the preceding Friday. If you post after our office closes on Friday afternoon, we cannot post your job for that weekend.

What happens after I post a job?
Sitters can see limited information about your job online (no personal or contact information is available online). They come by the office to request the full job listing. When a sitter is interested in your job, she will call you directly. Once a sitter has confirmed a job, it is removed for our listing.

How much should I pay?
Our minimum is $10 for up to two kids. This is the minimum; the average is $15/hr. Any pay over the minimum is entirely up to you. Some reasons why people may pay extra: they have many children, they need difficult hours, or they are in desperate need of a sitter. If you plan on offering extra, we strongly suggest you mention that on your listing, as pay is sometimes a factor for sitters when choosing a job.

If you don’t guarantee anything, why the $30 registration fee?
The fee covers the cost of operating, staffing, and administrating the service.

What if I have a question, problem, or suggestion?
Please let us know. If it is a general question concerning the procedures of registration call our office and any of our receptionists can help you. If it is something more specific, you can leave a message for one of the managers who will then call you back or email us at bbsitter@barnard.edu.