In Search of a Sitter

During last night’s #DadsRT twitter chat, we were talking about being able to get away with your spouse on a date night.  As we rapid fired tweets, the topic of babysitting came up.  For those of us who are unable to leave our children alone in the same room together let alone home alone, babysitting is a key element to having a date night. Because some of us have lacked babysitting services, we have forsaken date night.

How can you spend a night out with your sweetheart if you don’t have anyone to keep a close eye on the tiny people you are so quick to abandon for a night out as a couple?  While I’ve joked in the past about duct taping them to their beds for a few hours, the reality is who has that much duct tape lying around the house for that sort of project?

Don’t worry sweetie, the nice Police officer will get you down as soon as he cuffs the babysitter.

We need babysitters.

But finding a babysitter can be a little like a 13th Century conquistador finding the Fountain of Youth.  So how can parents, keen on a little alone time, find a babysitter? One you can trust, is affordable, and willing to spend a Saturday night with your kids so you don’t have to?

Well, grab your fedoras, bullwhips, and smartphones my friends because we’re going on a search for babysitters.

  1. Family.  Old reliable.  If you are lucky enough to live near family members who haven’t had to deal with children on a daily basis in sometime, then there is a good chance they are going to love watching your bundles of joy.  Parents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, step-sisters…let’s face it, no need to be picky. Family is family.  You’re trying to spend one dinner out where you aren’t seated at your table with crayons and a coloring place mat.  If family members offer, take them up on the offer. Just remember, make sure they know the kids are coming. It’s never a good idea to leave your kids on their doorstep, ring the doorbell, and runaway.  And don’t be shy or feel bad for asking.  If they’re your family then there is a good chance you’ll be a biological match for potential organ transplants. Think of this as pre-payment when the time comes when they need one of your kidneys.
  2. Friends.  A close second to family (and in some cases, better than, *ahem*, family).  Some of us aren’t lucky enough to live near eligible babysitting family members or we have family members we would rather not admit to being related to.  If this is the case, friends might be your next choice.  Think of that friend, the one who borrowed your shoes or your lawnmower 17 months ago, and pick them (I’d call it even for not getting your stuff back).  Maybe you have friends whose kids are older and they want to babysit?  Heck, you might have even watched your friends’ kids when they were younger.  If that is the case then don’t think of it as though you’re keeping your buddy from doing something on a Saturday night.  Think of it as completing the Circle of Life.
  3. Church.  I realize churches can be just as seedy as your local gambling halls but for the most part, the House of God (whichever God’s house you choose to frequent) can be a wonderful and safe place to find a babysitter.  As an overall organization, I would certainly put my trust in to kids who are eager to sit through a 45 minute sermon on a Sunday morning.  And I have faith in the advice of someone who knows all the words to the hymn, ‘Oh How I Love Jesus’ and has their favorite verse for the 1st Lesson of the day.  If you have a youth group at your church, talk to the leader or talk to your Pastor, or Priest, Rabbi, or Guru, or whoever the spiritual leader is because they might also know of someone who is looking to take on a few hours with somebody’s kids.
  4. Referrals.  My Grandfather always said, ‘You won’t know unless you ask’.  Who do you know that is already using a babysitter?  If you don’t know then why aren’t you asking?  Ask who friends are using and find out how you can get in on that action too.  The last thing you want to do is become so desperate you call in a Craigslist ad for a babysitter. With the advent of social media, there is a good chance one of your 1500 friends on Facebook may know someone.  Use the tools in front of you for something else other than playing Farmville and reach out for some help.  Who knows, maybe friending that jerk from high school, the one who stuffed you in a locker in the 7th grade, will pay off?
  5. Others.  What are “Others” you ask?  Well, one Google search on the Internet for babysitting and you will be amazed at what comes up.  Lots of sites dedicated to providing you information on the whereabouts of babysitters.  It’s like someone already went to the map room, waited for the sun to shine through a staff and pinpointed the location of the Ark for you.  Sites like SAFE SITTER.  This site has contact information, training for future babysitters, and site maps for their services. Try local organizations like the library or YMCA to find out if they do any sort of babysitting service or if they have a list of babysitters to give to you. Your gym can also be a source.  Many have daycare facilities in them already. They could have dedicated babysitting in them too. In fact, it was brought to our attention during our chat last night from @zjrosenberg, co-founder of 8-Bit Dad, about MyGym.  MyGym is an organization which offers babysitting services (among other things).  And just when you thought MyGym was going to be like finding the lost city of Atlantis, they have a nifty website you can click on HERE. Even high schools and universities can be hubs for babysitters.  Who better to watch your kids than a sophomore with a double major in micro-biology and Russian Literature? Start with the kids in the groups with the highest GPA’s and work your way down from there (stay away from the groups known for their beer bonging speed).

In all seriousness, it is important to be able to find someone you can trust.  And while this is by no means a definitive list for where to find babysitters, at least it is a start (And this is merely a list for places to find a babysitter.  How you go about picking someone is an entirely different conversation).  So for now, let us consider this your first step to enjoying date nights again by being able to leave your kids at home and in the hands of someone else besides you.

 

Quick, give the babysitter your cell number and get out of here before they can get to you!

 

 

 

 

 

*Featured image courtesy of www.fun4gatorkids.com

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The Beginning
About jetts31

Husband, father to two girls, dog walker, living with male pattern baldness. In addition to writing on his own site, Jimmy contributes to DadsRT, COAL.com, and the Southern Berks News. He is the world record holder in his house for 'Best Hiding Spot' during Hide and Go Seek.

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Comments

  1. James Hudyma says:

    My wife and I are teachers which makes finding a sitter quite easy. I guess that would put me in the referral section.

  2. My husband and I hardly ever have date night for lack of a sitter. It just seems like teens are always busy, etc…(maybe it is just my kids…?). Luckily, my kids are reaching the age they could be left alone – except, they may kill each other while we are gone…better start looking into the whole “other” thing again. Great suggestions!

    • Thanks. Keep looking though. Every parent needs date night! We want to know when you get a sitter too. Good luck.

  3. AskAGreatDad says:

    I am going to take the advice that was shared during the #DadsRT discussion and swap with other parents from our Mommy Group, once a month for a night out. So we know our kids are with someone safe, the kids have their friends and it is bartering system so it doesn’t cost a thing

  4. Almost every reliable ways of finding babysitters are mentioned. I would like to add another opinion which is searching online for child caregiver referral services. There are many parents who found there perfect babysitter on that way.

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