Rent-a-Parent, a child referral and consulting agency based in Tiburon, is one of the longer-lasting businesses in town.
It’s been 35-years since its founder and owner, Diana Chiarabano, opened her doors to clients across Marin County. In 1984, the Tiburon resident was a preschool teacher at Children’s Circle Center – now called Ring Mountain. As a sideline, she also helped parents she knew by picking up their youngsters after school and staying overnight with them when needed.
Diana had assistance in these jobs from some of her fellow teachers, but it wasn’t until one of the parents, a lawyer, suggested and encouraged her to start her own business – that was the beginning of Rent-a-Parent Services.
“From the very beginning, our goal has been to provide families with a sitter or a nanny that they can trust and depend on, as well as being an excellent caregiver for their child. We find temporary (babysitters) or long-term (part-time and fulltime) nannies,” Diana says.
Diana and her business partner, Sarah Swift-Langbehn – who joined the firm in 2004 – use an extensive interviewing process to find a responsible and reliable person who has wide experience in childcare. In addition to a personal interview, they call all references, do a fingerprint/background check, require a CPR certificate, and make sure each one is licensed with an insured vehicle, have a good driving record and is proficient in English. The candidates also have to either be an American citizen or have a Green Card. “We also want them to be flexible, warm, and sensitive to caring how a family would like to have things done,” Diana says.
The result is matching a nanny or sitter with the specific client’s particular need. For instance, a family with three lively boys would require a different kind of helper than what a new mom would need. By doing all the checkout work ahead of time, the client can meet with a pre-screened applicant who is ideal for their requirements.
Rent-a-Parent has found individuals to fill such niches as helping a mom needing bed rest; filling in if the regular nanny is sick; sitting for families who are visiting Tiburon or who are looking for a new home in Marin; caring for children of wedding guests or helping with a child’s birthday party.
“We give as much attention to a family that needs help for four hours as we do for a one that needs several weeks,” Diana says. “Both Sarah and I have that same dedication to find the best fit possible. We like to get an idea of the family’s personality as well as the sitter’s. We don’t just send a body. We really try to be matchmakers.”
Because of its great reputation, Rent-a-Parent is now sending sitters and nannies out to the third generation in families that used their services years before. The parents of a grown daughter recently adopted two young children and called on Rent-a-Parent to, once again, help them out.
Prices vary, depending on the children’s ages and number and whatever else is required such as shopping, making meals, light housekeeping or driving.
The Tiburon Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, sponsors of the new “Summer Nights” coming up on May 3, June 14, July 12 and August 16, has arranged with Rent-a-Parent to have three of their best sitters on hand at Sam’s from 5 to 8 p.m. so all parents can enjoy themselves without worrying about their kids. The price is $40 and includes a movie, games and dinner. No infants are permitted, and reservations are required. Call the chamber office if interested or check the website.
“Summer Nights” is not a substitute for Friday Nights on Main Street. It’s just an addition.
Each month, Rent-a-Parent runs a special offer. Checkout their website: www.rentaparent.com. Phone: 415-435-2642. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (but someone is always checking e-mails and voicemails after business hours.)
The Rent-a-Parent office is in the upstairs of 1640 Tiburon Boulevard, Suite 5. Diana says, “I love living here and am very happy that we have been able to serve Marin County families and nannies for the past 35 years.”