18 Aug How to find the perfect babysitter
The single greatest barrier standing between couples and a regularly scheduled, totally blissed out date night is the lack of a quality babysitter.
Add to that the dread and stress that goes along with trying to find and keep a truly quality babysitter, and you’ve already got yourself a long list of reasons why date night probably just “isn’t worth the effort.”
Sure, it’s easier to stay in, put the kids to sleep, and binge watch a Netflix series while eating some chocolate. Just throw on your favorite pair of baggy sweatpants and leap onto the old, familiar couch, and voila – date night here we come.
But is comfort really what we’re trying to create more of in our love relationships? Are laziness, exhaustion, lack of ambition and untapped creativity really what we want to cultivate?
On some nights – maybe. We’ve all been there, for sure.
But it sure as heck doesn’t stir up any new energy, emotion or romance. These things require continual creativity and action. They require discipline and commitment.
Easy doesn’t translate into extraordinary in any area of life – but this is especially true when it comes to acts of love.
So what’s a family to do?
It is absolutely within your power to dream up the perfect date-night-babysitting scenario for your family, and then go out there and create it.
First, you should get crystal clear on the kind of person you’re looking for.
What qualities do they have? How old do they have to be? How much experience do they need to have?
Much of this depends on how old your own children are, how far you plan to travel for your date nights, whether they will be overnight dates or just dinner dates, your family values, etc.
Then, take it a step further and really get those wheels turning, with a look at 8 different kinds of babysitters you could be looking for to fit your family’s financial and lifestyle requirements.
Remember – these ideas just scratch the surface of the limitless possibilities available to you. It’s up to you to sit down with your partner and define your ideal scenario, so you can start creating it in your life.
The Many Faces of “The Perfect Sitter”
Ideal for EVERYONE.
If you live near your parents or your partner’s parents, stop reading this article, close your computer, pick up your phone and ask them to babysit immediately! Grandparents are the ideal babysitters, because it’s a win-win-win for everyone. The grandparents cherish and adore the time they get to spend with their grandkids. The kids have a total blast spending time with the grandparents. And you can rest easy knowing that your kids are in the best possible hands. If this option is even a remote possibility for you – seize it NOW!
Ideal for parents who are willing to date close to home and don’t want to break the bank.
Teenagers have long been the go-to babysitters for families, and for good reason. What may seem like a low hourly wage to you is absolute gold to a teen, and being so young, they often jump on any chance they can get to make money and build their skills and credibility. In many cases you can find a willing teenager in your own neighborhood, or even on your street. And with teenagers, you have the added bonus of parental accountability – if they know you’re in communication with their parents, they will work extra hard to please.
The Online Sitter
Ideal for finding a wide variety of sitters to choose from, or for last minute dates, background checks, and personal information.
The internet has revolutionized our ability to connect as a species. From managing an online business to finding the love of your life, the internet has made our lives better by offering us infinitely more choices. Which is good news for families on the lookout for the perfect babysitter! Babysitting websites have become much more popular, easy-to-use, and safe over the past few years. They offer us everything we could want to know about a potential caretaker, at-a-glance, including personal information, skillset, reviews from other employers, availability schedule and more. Many companies even have the option to pay the sitter through the website, allowing you to use a credit card, or pay-in-advance so you don’t have to remember to stop at the ATM on your way home.
Some of the sites we’ve used and love include sittercity.com, care.com, urbansitter.com and craigslist.com (craigslist tends to be more hit and miss, but we’ve definitely had luck there as well!)
Ideal for social families who are willing to go to the babysitter’s house.
No one has more experience caring for children than a mother herself. Which makes her one of the most qualified caretakers in the world. And many stay-at-home moms look to make extra cash by welcoming additional kiddos into their world, and letting them tag along with the family. You can often pay them less, since they won’t be responsible for transportation, and have to split their focus between children. And the best part of all? The kids get to play with other kids all night! Soon, they will be the ones begging you to go see their friends each week.
Ideal for the family looking for a comforting, experienced nanny close to home.
There are many older, more experienced women looking to spend time with children – often because that’s where their expertise lies, or it’s just something they enjoy more than anything in the world. You can actively look for someone from a different ethnicity if you’d like to introduce your children to another language or culture.
Ideal for families in need of an honest, reliable, good-hearted sitter.
No matter your religion (or lack thereof), one of the best places to find a helping hand for the family is in and around church communities. These people tend to be virtuous, moral, and wholesome, and have a strong sense of community and desire to help. You can post ads on the church bulletin and go to local church events to make connections. Just be sure they are clear on your family values and beliefs as well, so no one steps on any toes.
The Family Friend
Ideal for the occasional date night, or for friends who wouldn’t mind making a little extra cash.
Maybe you have a friend in your life who lives nearby and has some free time on their hands (or maybe even needs a little extra cash in their pockets). The benefit here is that your kids already know them. And, assuming you have high quality friends (which we imagine you do, being the conscious, intentional Lifebooker that you are), your kids would be absolutely thrilled for the chance to play with your friends while you’re away. Just be sure they are crystal clear on your family values, and that they align with their own, to avoid any potential conflicts.
Ideal for frugal and community-oriented parents.
Kid swapping is genius. It may very well be the single greatest idea in the history of mankind. And it’s simple. Coordinate with another family you’re friends with to trade kids a couple nights a week, so each couple gets a date. Say, you take all the kids on Tuesdays, they take all the kids on Thursdays, each set of parents get a night to themselves, and the kids get to play together two nights a week. Boom. Like magic, you get a date, everyone is happy, and you don’t have to spend a dime on childcare.
The Community Pow-Wow
Ideal for families with older kids
Many communities have “parent’s night out,” or even fun local events for older kids and teens. Drop them off, let them hang out with their friends all night, and pick them up when you’re done. Check your community Parks and Recreation website and brochure, and google search to see what’s available in your area.
No matter what your ideal babysitter looks like, the most important thing is for you to actively find them. It’s up to you to get out into the world and make it happen.
Get the word out that you’re serious about hiring someone. Look online, email all of your contacts with your job ad, and talk to extended family, friends, and members of your community.
Once you make the decision to fulfill this need in your life, you will be blown away at how quickly things start falling into place.
So don’t give up.
Keep your purpose and your vision close to your heart, and stick with it until you find your extraordinary babysitter.