From the moment I had Lewis, I was very lucky to have my parents nearby who were more than wiling to drop everything should I need a babysitter. Now, with four children, they are still round here on a daily basis should I need them, and if Gaz and I have a rare night out they are more than happy to come and babysit. That said, now they are retired they are often away on holiday, gallivanting across Europe, lapping up the sunshine and, in all honesty, who can blame them? I love seeing them enjoy their retirement having worked so hard all these years but, on a selfish level, I do miss having a babysitter on hand if an emergency arises or we have a special occasion we don’t want to miss.
I asked a group of parent bloggers who they rely on to to babysit their children and how they cope if they don’t have family close by?
I have only used grandparents to babysit my daughters because I wouldn’t know where to find someone I could trust with my children and house. – Kate
We tend to have one night out whenever family stay. Occasionally we have used the nursery staff but in all honesty, we don’t go out much and that’s because I don’t feel comfortable leaving them with just anyone. Also, our giant dog can be intimidating for people. – Louise
We don’t have a babysitter within 140 miles but whenever my parents visit they always have the boys so we can go to the cinema or something. Honestly, I’m terrified of someone I don’t know looking after my children – I wish I was more relaxed and could use a babysitting service, date nights occasionally would be amazing! – Sara-Jayne
I don’t have any family around to help out – and I am too anxious and neurotic to leave my kids with a babysitter. So we haven’t been out in almost three years! – Kate
We only ever leave Willow with my mum. I’m not sure she would settle for anyone else and I would spend the whole time worrying if she was with someone else. Not that we go out on our own much these days! – Kat
We used to have the grandparents when they were smaller or a friend who worked at the preschool the children attended. Now our eldest is 19 and next one is 17, we leave them to look after the smaller ones. Nobody was ever keen to babysit all seven!! – Mandi
I think the interesting thing, and a worry which all parents share, is the fear of letting a stranger into your home to look after your children. In this day and age we are all very switched on when it comes to the safety of our children, and rightly so, but there are sites out there which allow parents to make well informed choices about their babysitter.
Recently I was introduced to Babysits, a public community marketplace where you can find a babysitter by mobile app. Babysits is not a childcare agency, their goal is to connect users so that the supply and demand for childcare can be matched most efficiently. This means that users are responsible for contacting and selecting the services of other users that match their needs. They make this possible for you by offering a messaging service on their platform, so that you can directly contact users to quickly make a great selection.
I signed up for the Premium account where you can filter your search for a babysitter by age, experience, gender, language, availability, whether they have children of their own, drive, smoke, can babysit at your house or their own, and if they come with full references. Once you’ve narrowed down your search you can access their profile, see a photo of the babysitter, and learn more about them as a person and their experience in childcare.
At the same time you can advertise for a babysitter yourself, listing the hours required, whether you’re looking for permanent or temporary childcare, list the number of children you have and their ages, including any special needs they may have, and even if you have any pets. That way babysitters can contact you, all via the app, and you can take it further as and when you feel you have enough information about your chosen babysitter.
I love that absolutely no personal information is passed on at any point via the site until you are happy to proceed. Your address, phone number and contact email is completely private and you could even arrange to meet the babysitter before hand, in a public place, to discuss your child minding needs.
I personally would require any babysitter for my children to be CRB checked and come with references, although every parent has different requirements. I recently posted on the site looking for a babysitter in our area and received several messages, one of which came from a local child minder who, after speaking with, I will absolutely be using in the future when our parents are away and we need emergency child care.
Babysits is completely free to use but you can update to a premium account which costs £9.95 a month. With that you can plan babysitting appointments, contact babysitters and child minders and can cancel that subscription at any time.
To win a 3 months subscription to a premium account simply enter via the link below. The winner will be chosen at random and notified via email at close of competition on April 15th. Good luck!
** This is a collaborative post **