I understand the challenge of finding a babysitter. I am one of those moms who couldn’t bare to leave my first daughter with a sitter, not even my Mother-in-law. I recall one such night where she had so graciously offered to come look after Nya at around six months of age. We put Nya to bed and raced out to the closest neighborhood pub. (it was literally 3 minutes from home) We ordered, ate, and were done (home again, even) within 70 minutes. I was even tempted to call home in between to make sure everything was okay. I used ALL of my willpower not to do that.
So I understand the not wanting to leave the baby, I do. I just got a lot more relaxed by the time my third daughter came around. In an upcoming post we’ll talk about staying home during your nesting time as parents, but still getting some date night time!
Where to find a babysitter
If you don’t have family in the same city, or same part of the city, it’s hard. You should, however, make the effort to find a babysitter. Even if it’s just for the occasional night out. Just think, you could actually eat a meal, while it’s still hot, on a white tablecloth perhaps, not worry about nursing half-way through appetizers, and enjoy an adult beverage. Fancy all that?
Don’t be afraid to ask
You buy groceries, right? Ask your grocer if she knows any babysitters in the area. She is either a mom, a grandma, or a student herself, so she may very well know someone. This works with hairdressers and local boutique staff as well. Just ask! I found my first babysitter by asking my hairdresser. If you belong to a church, they may have a list of members who are interested in babysitting.
Babysitting swap or co-op
Your best mom friends, your neighbors, your church group. My neighbour popped over to introduce herself to me because she saw a diaper box in my recycling pile. We ended up becoming great friends, but also did a babysitting swap on a very regular basis for a long time. I would look after her girls for one night, and the next month she would look after mine! I also did this with a fellow pre-school mom one summer for a few hours per week – one week off, one week on. It was budget friendly and worked perfectly.
Qualified young adult from your neighborhood
The perfect way to meet a qualified adult for local babysitting is to attend a Mama Needs a Babysitter night by Modern Mama. We bring the sitters and moms together to meet and mingle in a casual evening event. It’s a great way to avoid all the steps and stress of the hiring process and meet a few in one night. Plus there is no awkwardness of in-home first-time meetings (for you OR for the sitter). Our South Surrey/White Rock event is being held at De Dutch in Grandview Corners on January 29.
How to Hire the Babysitter
So what next? You now know where to look for a sitter, next step – how to hire him/her:
1 | Think about age and if you would prefer a teenager, university student, or experienced childcare professional.
2 | Is it important that your sitter has her own transportation or are you willing to pick up and drive home at the end of the date?
3 | Do you require your sitter to have special training such as CPR/childsafe, the babysitter course or early childhood education?
4 | What type of experience is important to you: infants, older children, multiple children, bedtimes, bathing and how much experience?
5 | Think about your expectations: changing diapers, play/interact, feed meals, bathing, basic supervision for older children?
6 | Are up to date immunizations, such as flu shots or chicken pox vaccinations, important to you [for the babysitter to have]?
7 | Ask for a reference, at least one character reference or family she has babysat for in the past.
8 | What are you willing to pay? The average rates here are anywhere between $8-15/hour. The rate you decide upon with your babysitter can vary depending on her age, experience, number of children, and times required (i.e. late nights). I find the younger, more inexperienced sitters are happy with less, but the University students or full-time childcare professionals expect more and it’s important to align your expectation with what you’re willing to pay.
Still unsure about taking the plunge to create your date night? Experts will tell you it is well worth it for your own well-being and for your marriage. Next post we’ll cover date night ideas on a budget and/or while nesting. Subscribe via email here and find us on Facebook.
Photo Credit: dno1967b