My wife and I hardly ever get to go out as a couple.
Since we had the kids, they’ve taken priority over many things.
Whilst I enjoy their company, sometimes it would be nice to go out for an evening as a couple without them.
The trouble is we’ve always been wary of leaving them with just anyone.
I know it’s our anxiety that means finding a good babysitter is always going to be hard.
And that means there’s very little opportunity for us to go out and let our hair down.
It’s not like we have a huge choice of people we could ask though.
Friends And Family
We’ve lost touch with a lot of friends since we had kids.
And since we live on a gated boarding school campus, it’s not always easy to make new ones.
My son goes on sleepovers on occasion but my daughter’s not ready for that.
So asking friends isn’t an obvious option for us.
My family live in England and most of my wife’s family live in Ireland.
I suspect a couple of hundred miles is a little too far for them to come for us to have a night out.
The grandparents pitch in whenever they come and visit.
I don’t want to burden them either when they’ve come all that way to see us.
A good film is when the price of the dinner, the theatre admission and the babysitter were worth it.
There are overseas gap students who come to help out every year at the school my wife works at.
They live on campus like we do and some years they’re keen to earn some extra cash.
That usually means they’re open to babysitting duties.
I’m not sure this year’s intake has taken up the gauntlet yet as they only arrived at the beginning of the year.
There are also other families on the school campus who may be competing for their time.
Either way, they’re not guaranteed to be a reliable resource.
But they might be useful for the occasional night out.
Finding A Good Babysitter Online
I’m wary of letting a complete stranger look after the kids.
There are opportunities to find a babysitter online though if you’re happy to take the risk.
And pay a premium!
Sitters.co.uk – You have to pay a quarterly membership fee of £14.95 plus a booking fee of at least £4. The babysitters rates start at £7.20 per hour. Sitters.co.uk state that they interview potential babysitters in person. I’m not sure that gives me any more peace of mind though. I like the fact that the babysitters have a wide age range.
Childcare.co.uk – There is a free membership option but it’s limited. It allows you to view and contact potential babysitters with Gold membership. Gold membership costs £24.99 per month and means you can contact free and Gold members. Rates for babysitting appear to be in the range of £8 to £10 per hour. Childcare.co.uk don’t appear to vet any of their registered babysitters. I found the availability section in a babysitter’s profile quite confusing. If I were looking for a babysitter, I’d usually be looking for them to cover evenings. Yet, many of the babysitters stated they don’t work in the evenings.
Care.com – You have to sign up with a free account before you can view any potential babysitters. The recommended membership option has a fee of £70 per quarter. Rates for babysitting are around £5 to £10 per hour.
Findababysitter.com – Their free access allows you to seach for local babysitters. You can also read carer references. To actually contact a potential babysitter or access background checks there’s a fee. It costs £55 per quarter. Rates for babysitting are around £6 to £10 per hour.
I had no idea that it would cost so much to find a babysitter online.
With the amount of times I’d need one, this option is completely off the cards.
I know these sites provide a service and need to recoup costs but I wasn’t quite prepared for how much they charge.
Word Of Mouth
Often, but not always, the best way to find things is by word of mouth.
I’m sure that finding a good babysitter wouldn’t be any different.
If you know someone who uses a babysitter then asking them about their experiences is a good place to start.
You might find the perfect person to help you out.
The downside is that you’ll end up competing with friends for the babysitter’s time.
That might cause a bit of friction if you’re not careful.
My Own Experience
When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I used to do some babysitting.
I had three couples I used to do this for, although one couple required me much more than the others.
It felt a bit akward when I was already booked up and then the main couple asked me to babysit.
I was fine putting the kids to bed and could handle most things that happened.
The one thing I struggled with was when one of the kids wet the bed.
I had no idea where they kept the spare bed clothes or spare pyjamas.
I didn’t want to rifle through drawers to find stuff but had no choice.
So if you are getting a babysitter, make sure you let them know where things are before you head out for the evening!
Have You Found A Babysitter You Can Trust?
Was finding a good babysitter for your kids difficult for you? How did you go about it?
If you haven’t found one, are you planning to?