Anyone else totally look forward to date nights or getaways with your significant other? Me too!
Anyone else also totally terrified of the thought of having someone else other than yourself or your partner watch and care for your child while you’re away? Guilty as charged here too!
So – how do you find reliable child care so you can get away for a date night with your partner? That’s the golden question here! Trust me, I know how long those days can feel, and how badly I sometimes want to just get away for an afternoon and reconnect with my husband, whether its a typical dinner and movie date night or a longer, spontaneous overnight trip. Of course, now with a toddler and another on the way, it isn’t always that easy, but its a definite necessity to keeping our relationship as husband and wife healthier and stronger.
Because I kinda sorta really like my husband, and plan on keeping my him around for a while, I dug around and did some research on the best ways to find reliable, trustworthy childcare in your area – even if you’re new to town and don’t know anybody yet!
- Utilize those Facebook groups! I’m a part of several local parenting groups in my area, and one thing I’m always noticing is other mom’s asking for nanny and babysitter recommendations! Even if you don’t always know the other moms in your town, they can be a great resource to give suggestions on who they have used and been happy with. A quick question posted in one of your local mommy groups on Facebook can wield tons of suggestions, so feel free to ask more questions via private messaging to get more information on why the mom liked the particular babysitter, if there was anything she didn’t like, how old the child / children are that the babysitter watched, if the babysitter did anything else while there – made snacks or meals, did crafts, went to the park, etc? This way, you can kind of weed through all the names and find a few that you think might be a good fit for your family and kids!
- Along these same lines, if you do know other families in town who use a babysitter or nanny, ask your friends who they use and love! Especially when it’s a friend you’re getting a babysitter suggestion from, you can usually get a pretty honest opinion and can be a little more candid about your worries!
- Ask a mommy friend for help! There have been a few times where I’ve watched a friend’s kiddo for a few hours during the day because they were in a jam and needed some help. Remember that your mom friends have been in the same position you have, and I bet if you asked, they’d be more than willing to help! Especially if you offer to trade a date night for her and her significant other! That way, you both win, and your kiddos get an extra play date!
- Take advantage of family in town! We are very lucky in that my parents are always asking to take H out for the afternoon, and are usually pretty willing to come over and hang out with him while we have a date night. On the rare occasion we go out of town, just the two of us, my husband and I have always checked with their schedule to make sure it is a weekend that they are free and available to watch H overnight. Of course, our schedules don’t always match up, but their price is right (FREE!), we know they love H almost as much as we do, and we know that he trusts and knows them enough to feel safe in their care – which is the most important thing for us!
- Does your family go to a church service? Or are any of your kids in daycare? Those are two awesome resources right there! Several of my friends use assistants from their children’s daycare center, and / or staff from their church’s daycare as well! In both situations, it is very likely that all staff members go through not only interviews in order to get hired, but also have to submit to background checks and be CPR certified as well – two huge things that would definitely help set our mind at ease!
- Check online babysitting websites! When I was a babysitter / nanny, I posted my resume on Care.com, and got tons of work through there. As a part of the process to post that you’re available to work as a nanny, you have the option of allowing inquiring families to do a background check on you. I always allowed this, and the families I worked for always said what peace of mind it gave them to know that I was a safe candidate with a clean history!
Whenever our designated babysitters (AKA: my parents) come over, we try to have everything laid out and as easy as possible for them, so they can focus on taking care of H. That means having all the necessities ready to go for the babysitter when they get there:
- Diapers and gear: We always take enough of our Luvs diapers out of the drawers and put them in an obvious spot, that way they don’t have to go digging or searching for a diaper when disaster strikes. We keep a little bin in the main living room area that has some Luvs, wipes, and cream so they’re easily accessible and ready to go.
- Favorite toys and books: H has a few books he always requests to read before naps and bedtime. We make sure to keep these next to his bed so they are easy to find and he can still have some semblance of normal when we’re not there to help keep him on his schedule. It also doesn’t hurt to let your babysitter know of a couple of fun tricks that always make your kid(s) excited – for H, his weakness is anyone who can do an awesome dinosaur roar, can make his trucks go extra fast, or who can stack the tallest amount of blocks!
- Extra clothes, just in case: If we’re just gone for the afternoon, I always make sure to leave out an extra outfit, because, well, H is a messy little dude and typically goes through multiple clothing changes a day. If we’ll be gone passed his bedtime, leaving out jammies is always a good idea as well!
- Emergency information: that includes knowing where the children’s Tylenol and Ibuprofen are, as well as any first aid items that they might need in case of “boo boos”. With our first aid kit, we also make sure to keep a list of phone numbers, including H’s pediatrician, poison control, both of our cell phone numbers, and the numbers of others who can be contacted in case of emergency.
Remember – it’s perfectly okay to be a little nervous to have someone else watch your kid! Just also remember that there are some pretty wonderful babysitters out there who can help you out when you really need a break, as all us parents do! Don’t let yourself get caught up in all the lists and to-dos, and overthink it all. Trust your instincts! Know whomever you have chosen to stay with your child(ren) while you get a break is someone that you have deemed worthy, and enjoy yourself!
Something I always did for the families I babysat for was to have a mini babysitting session prior to our first scheduled one. I would come over and hang out with the kid(s), and go through our time together like we would while mom / dad / etc was gone, but the parents would stay home, just to see how things were going. They usually stayed out of sight, so the experience was as real for us all as possible, but it gave the kiddo(s) and I a chance to get to know each other, the parents time to see that their child(ren) were going to be okay, and it gave me some chances to come up with any extra questions we maybe didn’t cover in the interview!
Granted, we have been lucky enough to only use my parents so far, but I know in the foreseeable future, that won’t always be the case! As parents, our instincts are typically to be pretty protective of the little humans we create, but at some point I know I have to learn to let go. With the help of suggestions from other local families, especially the honest ones I get from my mommy friends, I know we’ll be ready when the time comes to have someone we trust (that we aren’t related to!) watch our kids!
We are still not potty trained over here yet. H is only 2.5, and I’ve noticed that since I’ve backed off, he’s telling me more and more when he’s interested in going to the bathroom – on his own!! Because we are on a single income, I’m always looking for ways to save money, and diapers can add up fast. So many of my mommy friends recommended Luvs to us, because not only are they just as good as the other name brand diapers, but I actually think they work a lot better for us (no sagging!) and they are much easier on our budget! Luvs are available online and instore at most retailers nationwide, and start at just under $7!