Grow Your Own
Although most neighborhood babysitters are in high school or college, don't overlook the younger teen living nearby. Although our neighbor Lauren is only 12, she's a terrific mother's helper, playing with the kids in the house or pushing them on the swings while I'm working. She's also a handy resource when I need to run errands for an hour. While she's not old enough to trust with baths or longer outings, I'll slowly add new responsibilities as her maturity allows, until she's a super sitter who knows all our household routines and has essentially grown up with my children. The beautiful part of taking a younger sitter under your wing is you've got nearly six years of babysitting before she heads off on her own!
Unless you live in a rural area with few young people around, hiring a super sitter shouldn't be too difficult if you're willing to ask other moms for referrals or make a few phone calls. There are thousands of terrific young people ready to lovingly care for your little ones while you get some well deserved time off. Just ask, phone, and interview until you've found the one for you.