Below are a few recommendations for parents to have successful sessions with virtual babysitters:
To participate in virtual babysitting, children must be at least four years old. We have found that virtual babysitters have best results when children are at least six years old.
We have found that sessions are best when they are less than four hours.
An adult must be in the home during the virtual babysitting session in case an emergency arises. In the event of an emergency, the virtual sitter will try to contact you on the phone number you provide him/her.
Any internet-enabled device works for the session, but we recommend children be set up on a device that allows them to move around to different rooms, outside, etc. (e.g., tablet, cell phone).
Remember to charge the device that is being used in advance.
Let the virtual babysitter know of any activities that you need them to do with the child (e.g., homework or online classroom). If you’re asking the babysitter to do any teaching of new concepts (e.g., about the Roman Empire), please let him/her know in advance and consider paying the babysitter for the preparation time they invest in the lesson.
Set the virtual babysitter up for success. Let them know if there are any rewards or reinforcers they can use to motivate children and/or encourage compliance. Examples of possible rewards include extra outdoor time, extra screen time, picking the movie for family movie night, or a small piece of candy.
Be sure to review our safety guidelines, as well. Most importantly, remember to:
Speak with sitter before leaving children alone with him/her,
Never share physical address besides city and state,
Never share photos of children,
Never allow photos or videos to be taken during the session,
Check in on children periodically during session,
Set clear expectations of virtual babysitter (e.g., if you do not want your children playing outside, tell the sitter),
Provide a phone number where the sitter can reach you in the event of an emergency.
Remember to pay the sitter at the end of the session.
Most accept payment through Venmo, CashApp, and/or Zelle. You might want to consider paying half before and half after the session.