As a CEO of a software company, I naturally turn to tech solutions to solve the annoying little problems in my life. And what’s one of THE MOST ANNOYING PROBLEMS? Getting babysitters. Texting and waiting, texting and waiting. I wanted to create a tool that would ping ALL of my approved sitters on a regular basis at the same time, so that they could pop on and grab the shifts that work for them.
And so I did. And the babysitters started talking about it with their other families, and people started coming out of the woodwork asking me to share my system. And so today I’m sharing it with you.
It’s just a few easy steps using three 100% free software tools: Google, MailChimp, and Canva. This video walks you through the system, but you can also go directly to this link to the pdf and follow the steps for yourself (I’ve even included the spreadsheet link for you to make your own copy and get started), or you can purchase the full system with all of my templates for $19. But you don’t need to; if you want, you can set it up yourself for free. And here’s how it works.
The CareSheet system is designed to make your life easier. It flips the script and puts the job of signing up for shifts into the hands of your approved babysitters, rather than you having to go one-by-one and position them into the slots yourself. CareSheet is a simple yet effective way to organize all of the babysitting shifts you know you’ll need, when you know you’ll need them. It requires a Google account to get started, so go ahead and create that if you somehow don’t yet have a Google account.
Once you have a Google account, you'll create a copy of the CareSheet spreadsheet. It's easy to personalize with your family's details. You can add your kids' names, ages, and any other information that makes it easy for babysitters to understand your needs. To share your CareSheet, click "Share" and set the sharing permissions to "Anyone with the link can edit." This way, when you send the link to your approved babysitters, they can add their names to the shifts you need help with. Of course, you can keep things even more private by giving out individual permissions at this step, but I haven’t found that necessary.
Next up, you’ll need a MailChimp account to manage your babysitters. The free version is all you need to get started. You’ll create the account, add the email addresses of all of your approved, go-to babysitters to your “Contacts” list, and then you’ll create three essential email templates: a welcome email, a monthly update, and a last-minute reminder. I have drafted versions of these emails for you if you purchase the system, but they’re easy enough to create on your own as well.
Set a recurring calendar invite on your own personal Google calendar: once a month, this is your reminder to go into your spreadsheet, check that shifts needed are still accurate, add any new shifts you need, and then send out your monthly ping via MailChimp. The ping goes out, sitters follow the link, and boom, minutes later, your shifts are getting covered.
The CareSheet by Nessle system offers a straightforward yet efficient way to manage babysitting shifts with free tools. Say goodbye to the chaos of endless texts and calls. By following this system, you can easily organize your care schedule for your kids. You can even add additional categories and shifts, such as rides/pick-ups, pet care shifts, errands, and more.
Yes, it’s hacky. It’s what we in the startup world call an MVP: minimum viable product. But if you like it, heck, Michelle and I may even build a full software feature around it for all Nessle users, so send us your feedback (email@example.com) or tell us to get going on that, and we’ll be on it!
Carly Buxton, CEO of Nessle and Mom of 2, is here to make parenthood a more supported experience.
Nessle has a podcast where we talk all things parenting with our experts, bringing useful insights into how you can find your parenting mojo.