How to find a babysitter and never miss another date night
As couples become parents, they’ll probably find that spending quality time together, away from their children, becomes both more important and more difficult.
A survey we recently conducted saw 67% of parent couples agreeing that date nights were really important for the health of their relationship. But how easy are they to arrange?
That’s when the question of babysitters comes up. The same survey showed 45% of couples use babysitters when going out on a date night, with grandparents being among the most popular candidates, 44% opting for them. And why not – grandparents are among the most reliable and trustworthy people to call on.
Or, at least, they used to be. Things are changing fast in the modern age – 60 is no longer ‘old’, it’s the new 40, and people entering their retirement years are often likely to have busy, active, independent lives of their own to lead. Granny and Grandad may not be quite so available as they used to be, and, for many of us, they’re no longer living just around the corner or a short drive away.
So, if you’re a couple seeking help with looking after your little monsters, where do you go?
There’s an app that does that
Another facet of the modern world offers one possible answer – specialised apps which make finding and booking a babysitter much easier. 17% of people in our survey said they’d found babysitters online or through an app.
There are any number of apps to choose from, including bubble and yoopies, and online you’ll find Sitters. Understandably, some parents have misgivings about leaving their children alone with a stranger, and the apps and sites are very aware of the problem. For example, bubble makes it clear that every sitter on their app has had their identity verified and gone through an online background check. You can also read reviews from previous users and have the chance to see whether any of your friends have used the sitter in the past.
A more local solution
If you don’t live in a town or city, though, finding a babysitter by app may not be a practical option. In which case perhaps we need to go a little old school and search for local babysitting groups. If you can’t find any, you could start your own, getting together with other local parents, maybe meet at nursery groups or on the school run, or simply starting your own Facebook babysitting group, if one doesn’t exist already, inviting local friends and neighbours to join. Indeed, our survey suggests the most common way to find a babysitter is through recommendations – from friends (17%), family (17%) or word-of-mouth (14%).
Then, you’ll be free to leave your kids without worry, and go out as a couple for a good meal, or a date night at the cinema. Just so long as you’re happy to look after other parents’ children when they in turn fancy a night out together.
You can also do something similar online, with the help of nextdoor.co.uk, where you can connect to people in your neighbourhood, and find a local babysitter, as well as catch up on local events and recommendations for plumbers.
There is another option, for those times when it turns out to be impossible to find a babysitter – put the children to bed and have your date night at home – nearly six in ten parent couples (57%) try to make time for this at least once a week. It’s simply a case of coming up with stay-at-home versions of what you might do on a date night. Rather than going out to a restaurant, cook a meal for one another, or get a takeaway if that feels like too much work. And instead of going to the cinema, choose a favourite film to watch together from the comfort of your own sofa.
Still, in the end,it is nice to get out as a couple occasionally. So, perhaps, if grandparents are somewhere nearby, it’s worth pitching the occasional babysitting gig to them as a nice relaxing break from all that frenetic gallivanting they get up to in their everyday life.
After all, we all need a bit of a break now and again.
*Poll conducted in July 2018 with 1,000 parents from around the UK.