Sittercity has been a valuable resource for parents looking to find nannies and babysitters for nearly 20 years. You post your job, review profiles for applicants and pick a caregiver who fits your family. It’s that simple. With many parents temporarily working from home and juggling homeschooling, Sittercity has scaled their business model to lend a hand virtually. Find out how this service that simplified childcare is getting creative with supporting Chicago families.

photo: Sittercity

Sittercity Goes Virtual
It might sound a wee bit like something straight out of The Jetsons, but Eizabeth Harz, mom of 2 and CEO of Sittercity, has introduced a virtual arm to childcare. You won’t have The Jetson’s Rosie flitting about, cleaning spills and making meals, but you will have a professional to engage your kids digitally for a short period of time so you can work, or take a breather, in peace. You can utilize Sittercity’s pool of stellar resources to assist with schoolwork or engage your child in an interactive game online.

Is it Safe?
Even though this person won’t physically be in your home, Sittercity recommends you still go through the same vetting process you would for any other babysitting experience. They encourage you to never leave your child unattended, the sitter is not able to physically supervise or control your child via video, and to review with the sitter any planned activities to determine what’s appropriate for your child.

child watching video on laptopphoto: Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

How Much Do You Pay a Virtual Sitter?
You can post a job and browse sitters for free. Regularly priced subscription plans are $35 for one month, $70 for three months or $140 for 12 months. However, they are currently offering 50% off full premium access for one month.

While the responsibilities are different for a virtual sitting session vs an in-person experience, paying the standard rate, if you’re able, is appreciated. According to Sittercity, the average hourly rate in Chicago, and the nation, is $16.50/hour. If you’re curious to see how Chicago stacks up, you can view their chart that lists average hourly childcare rates in top U.S. cities.

photo: Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

Extra Support for Chicago’s Essential Workers
We’ve been instructed to stay home and socially distance as much as possible, but for many Chicagoans deemed as essential, this is an impossibility. This creates a tricky situation with their kids home from school, still in need of supervision.

Sittercity has partnered with the City of Chicago to launch Chicago Responds, a program that helps the city’s essential workforce by connecting them to volunteers to help care for their families. Frontline workers who sign up will receive three free months of Sittercity Premium. If you’re an essential worker who needs assistance or would like to volunteer to care for their kids, click here.

— Maria Chambers

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