Smart Sitters was founded in 2008 by Melody Rubie a speech therapist and a mom. Here's her story and it may sound familiar:
When my son was born, I didn’t realize I would need a sitter. I was so busy preparing for the birth, tending to my newborn's needs, and getting acclimated to motherhood, that I hadn't thought about who would care for my child when my maternity leave ended. I asked friends for recommendations and, while interviewing numerous candidates, discovered that how a candidate responded to me in an interview was not indicative of how she might respond to my child. I quickly developed a way to refine my interviewing skills to discern the qualities of a child-centric sitter and to conduct effective background and reference checks. Not only did I find excellent care for my son, I also began helping other parents find great sitters, too. Since launching Smart Start Sitters in 2008, I have used my experience to provide hundreds of parents with qualified sitters who have helped their children grow and thrive.
Boutique Caregivers participate in a face to face interview and complete/provide the following:
3 Current Sitting References
CPR certification (renewable every 2 years)
Child Development Narrative Evaluation
Sitting Experience Evaluation
Sitter Policies and Procedures Contract
(including a NON-PDA usage clause)
Smart Start Sitter Hourly Rate:
1 child $16
1 sp needs child $18
2 children $18
2 children – 1 w/sp needs $20
3 children $20
1 Child with Special Needs
2 Children - 1 with Sp. Needs
Daily Agency Booking Fee
Q. How much control do I have over who will look after my children?
A. Although Smart Start Sitters carefully vets sitters in our Boutique Placement Service, we offer you the opportunity to know more by providing a synopsis of the sitter's resume and references.
Q. Can I interview a potential sitter?
A. Yes, for part-time and full-time nannies. However, we ask that you keep the interview to no more than 1 hour. You may interview up to 2 sitters before making your final decision.
Q. Can your sitter "train" with my current sitter who is leaving the position?
A. Your child's comfort with a Smart Start sitter is our number one priority. In keeping with our "Child First" policy, we offer "sitter training" for families whose current sitter is leaving, whether it's a Smart Start Sitter or your current sitter. However, you are still responsible for paying the trailing sitter, as well as the training sitter, if both are from our service.
Q. If I have a particularly good relationship with a sitter, may I book with them directly?
A. All on-call and temporary bookings are done through the office. We will do our best to enable these relationships, but please call or email the office to book a particular sitter in order to avoid scheduling conflicts.
Q. What if I expect to be home later than the booking time?
A. This applies to on-call and temporary sitters. Please let the sitter know as soon as possible if you will be later than expected. There is no guarantee the sitter will be able to accommodate you if this is a last minute request. If you are more than 15 minutes over your booking time, please pay the sitter an extra half hour of sitting. If you are more than 30 minutes or more over your booking time, please pay the sitter an extra hour of sitting.
Q. What if I only need a sitter for 2 hours?
A. We have a 3 hour minimum per sitting. You may use only 2 hours, but the sitter must be paid the minimum.
Q. Do I have to pay cab fare to the sitter?
A. After 9:00p.m. we require $10.00 in cash to the sitter to help her get home safely.
Q. Are the prices listed on your website the same for every sitting situation?
A. This prices listed on the website are for residential sitting here in NYC. If you need a sitter for your hotel stay, special event, overnights, travel with family, or child with special needs, please call us for pricing.
Q. Do you take credit cards?
A. Yes. However, we only accept Visa and Master Card.
Q. Do you take personal checks?
A. No, we only accept credit cards for booking fees.
Melody is active in her local business community and frequently involved in events on childcare, child development, and Mompreneurship. She is the mother of a young son as well as an accomplished principal opera singer and musical theater performer both on Broadway and in Europe. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and son.