Before I had kids, I just assumed getting a babysitter would be no big deal. After I had kids, I realised that it is a very big deal indeed, particularly when they are still very young. I am not a very relaxed parent, and I have found it absolutely nerve-wracking to leave my babies even with close friends and family members.
The first time I left my eldest, he was about 6 months old and I had tickets to see Tom Daley compete in the 2012 Olympics. I have a friend who lives near the Olympic Park, and she kindly offered to watch him. I’d known her for many years and trusted her completely. However, I still made her a TWO-PAGE LONG list of instructions about how to look after my precious boy. So, you can trust me when I say I wouldn’t choose a babysitter lightly.
The next time the need for a babysitter presented itself, a friend was getting married. The wedding was in a hotel, and we had a room near the reception, so I decided to book a babysitter to come to our hotel room so I could enjoy the party. I booked with a babysitting service called Sitters. I did a lot of research on the company first, and figured there was nothing to worry about since I was only going to be across the car park from where the babysitter would be looking after my son.
The way Sitters works is you have an online account and pay a very small quarterly membership fee and fee per booking, then you pay the babysitter directly in cash on the night of your booking (the price varies depending on region and timings, but is always a very reasonable rate).
The Sitters website tells you which babysitters are near your location (you can book at home or in a hotel/holiday home). You can request a particular one based on reviews, and once you know a babysitter or two, you can request to have the same one each time. You can also request not to have a certain one in future if you find one you don’t get on with her (but this has never happened to me).
All of the babysitters on Sitter’s database are carefully vetted, so you can trust that your children will be looked after by someone safe and qualified. Their checks include:
- All have completed a detailed application form
- All have passed an interview with a member of their experienced recruitment team
- All have at least 2 years’ professional childcare experience
- All have provided at least two childcare employment references which are checked and verified in person
- They collect Photo ID and proof of address for every childcarer
- They obtain copies of DBS certificates and childcare qualifications
- All agree to Sitters’ Code of Conduct and Terms and Conditions
- All are issued with a Sitters ID Card
The proof is in the pudding, and I have been so impressed with Sitters from my very first booking. The first Sitters babysitter I had during that wedding came in confidently and immediately established a rapport with my 1-year-old. She had even brought her own storybooks. I left her to put him to sleep and was amazed to find that he went to sleep for her readily, despite at that age refusing to ever sleep for me!
I have now been using Sitters for about 4 years, and have never been disappointed. Near my home, I have a small group of babysitters that we use regularly, and my children look forward to seeing them. My eldest sometimes asks me when I’m going to go out so he can see the babysitter.
Having a reliable babysitter makes a huge difference to someone like me, who has no family nearby. My husband and I have been able to celebrate special occasions like grownups, and look after our relationship. Recently, we were even able to go to a black tie event in London, and we had a babysitter from Sitters from 5pm until 1am. She played with the kids, put them to bed and, as usual, they were more well-behaved for her than they ever are for us!
I highly recommend giving Sitters a try. I was so pleased when they asked me to write this post, because it’s easy to write about a service I already use and know so well. To learn more and sign up, please visit http://www.sitters.co.uk/find-a-babysitter.aspx.
Do you find it difficult finding a reliable and trustworthy babysitter? Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions about Sitters!
I received compensation for publishing this post, but my experience of the service and opinions are genuine.