As graduation neared, Emily Garcia broke the news to a child she’d been babysitting for a year and a half that she would soon be leaving.
“The plan was to graduate in December and stop watching her,” Garcia said. “But then for Christmas, I surprised her and wrote on a card that I was staying and she was so happy.”
Garcia was introduced to College Nannies, Sitters and Tutors when she was just a sophomore at UT. After graduating in 2019, she continued to work with the child she met and bonded with through the service.
“I’ve become their primary babysitter,” Garcia said. “I still can’t leave because I’m so attached.”
College Nannies, Sitters and Tutors is a website and app that connects college students or adults with different families to babysit or tutor for. All they have to do is create a free online profile, get approved by a background check and meet for an in-person interview at one of the local offices. Workers get paid through the company, which charges the parents who use the service.
As someone who is pursuing a career in child development, Garcia said she saw this as the perfect opportunity to get experience with kids.
“I’m the youngest in my family so, obviously, there’s no younger kids,” Garcia said. “So it was hard for me trying to learn (how to work with children) because you’re reading the books and they’re showing you scenarios and telling you about (teaching), but you don’t really see it until you’re actually working with kids.”
The service lets sitters and tutors set their availability, find a job as little as an hour in advance and take time off when needed. Cassandra Fleming, a human development and family sciences senior, has been working with the program for three months and said that the flexible schedule works especially well for college students.
“It’s perfect because let’s say I have class in the morning and in the evening, but then I have that break in the middle where I can go do a babysitting job and make money,” Fleming said.
Katlyn Garcia, a human development and family sciences senior, has been working with the program for a year and a half. She said that the nontraditional setup works well with her schedule as a full-time student and member of an on-campus spirit organization.
“You’re not bound to a certain schedule every week where you’re working so much,” Garcia said. “It’s just hanging out with kids and having fun, which is a nice job to have instead of a waitress, for example, where you have a fixed schedule no matter what.”
Garcia will be leave her babysitting job at the end of this semester but said she enjoyed her time working with children.
“I (would work) for so many hours, and it feels like nothing for me because there are kids,“ Garcia said. “It brings so much joy to me seeing them smile and then giving you the biggest hugs. It really warms your heart.”