Kids & Company Blog

Kids & Company Babysitting and Date Night!

Most people would agree that some solo adult time makes us better parents. Whether you choose to spend that time with our spouse/partner, with friends or alone, a bit of leisure time away from the kids helps us to recharge our batteries. It all sounds wonderful until you realize that…. you need to find a baby-sitter.

The challenge of finding a babysitter that you trust and you child likes may seem so daunting that you are tempted to cancel your plans. Don’t despair! There are a few steps you can take to make the process manageable – and maybe even enjoyable – for you and your children.

Start your search with people you trust

If your child attends childcare, ask if the teachers are available for after-hours care. A person who knows your child personally and is familiar with his/her routines will alleviate a lot of your anxiety. Kids & Company recently made a list of babysitters available to our families at every Kids & Co. centre. We’ve set a standard cost per hour, eliminating awkward conversations between parents and teachers. This service has been very popular with parents! (If your child attends a Kids & Company child care centre and you are interested in receiving the babysitter list for your area, please ask your centre director. She’ll be happy to provide it to you!)

Another alternative is to find organizations that provide evening childcare on-site. This Valentine’s Day, one Kids & Company centre offered evening care so that parents could enjoy a night out. We had such an amazing response to this event that we’ve decided to hold a “Date Night” in each centre across the country throughout 2012. Several other types of organizations including churches and synagogues offer child-minding periodically.

If your childcare centre doesn’t provide this service, you can ask friends, neighbors and co-workers if they have a sitter to recommend. Another option is to contact a local college or university with an ECE (Early Childhood Education) program. Many of these students are often eager to find part-time positions and welcome the opportunity to hone their expertise with children.

Clearly state your needs and expectations

Once you have found a babysitter that you trust, setting clear expectations will help everyone feel more comfortable. This might include snacks, dinner and drinks; what activities that you prefer they do; whether it’s OK to go outside; bedtime routines; how much clean-up you’d like her to handle; phone/computer house rules, etc. Leave all of your contact information in a permanent place – don’t trust that it’s stored in someone’s cell phone.

Let your babysitter and your children know when you plan to return, and try to stick to that schedule, at least for the first few times that sitter visits your home.

Adults need playdates too!

Your child may be in tears when it’s time for you to go. Explain that you need a little time with other adults, just like he or she gets time with friends. Trust that the experience will be similar to your childcare drop-off. Within minutes, the tears will be gone and your child will have moved on to an exciting activity.

Give feedback as soon as possible

If any questions or issues arise, address them quickly rather than stewing over them for days. Misunderstandings do happen, and if they are discussed as soon as they occur, you have the greatest chance of continuing a mutually beneficial relationship with your babysitter.

Have a great night out!