Finding someone who'll willingly spend an evening minding your kids can be a challenge. But when the night in question is New Year's Eve, you've got yourself a full-blown mission impossible. Read on for tips to help you navigate the babysitter scramble.
Book as soon as you can, says Kisha Edwards-Gandsy, founder of New York City Explorers, a play space and child-care service in Brooklyn. (Translation: Finish this article and start making calls.) The best sitters, says Edwards-Gandsy, are already being snapped up—on-the-ball parents tend to book two months in advance.
The continuing recession has boosted the city's ranks of unemployed twentysomethings—and as a result, its number of willing babysitters. Some 1,200 jobs are posted on referral service sittercity.com each month, says Genevieve Thiers, the website's CEO, and the pool of registered sitters tops 45,000. In this economy, says Thiers, "caregivers often bid each other down." Still, to attract a top-notch candidate on December 31 you'll want to shell out $5--$10 more per hour than your usual rate. Liz Durst, assistant manager at Barnard Babysitting Agency (which connects families with student caregivers), suggests a minimum of $17 per hour.
At New York City Explorers' New Years Eve 2010 Drop-off Babysitting (186 Underhill Ave, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn), your brood can toast 2011 while you go out. From 6pm until 2am, pajama-clad kids will enjoy pizza, juice, crafts, stories, a screening of Despicable Me and a countdown to midnight (for those who are still awake). $75 for one child, $25 for each additional sibling. Go to eventbrite.com to reserve a spot.—Yelena Shuster