Date Night is an ongoing staple in our house. We have had a standing date night for years (albeit a rotating one), as our marriage is the one thing that I feel like I can continually pour into and get right (my kids on the other hand…verdict is still out on that one).
The one thing I get asked often though is:
Date Night sounds AWESOME, but where do you even find a babysitter?
I don’t have a magical babysitter tree in my backyard, but I have adapted a couple of tips and tricks over the years that have grown our current rolodex of sitters so that we can go fairly deep on our “ask” list when in a pinch, and so I thought I’d share those tips with you today!
WHERE AND HOW TO FIND A BABYSITTER
1. First things first, look for the people in your current life who seem to love your kids. These are the childcare workers at your gym, the college student who works at your local coffee shop, or the neighbor girl who always is so dear to your little one at the park. Anyone who already is even slightly smitten with your kids should be your target!
2. Once you’ve identified a few people, you are going to need to get some courage to make the ask. It’s honestly super simple, and the more you practice, the easier it will be. As your gym daycare worker is doting over your daughter’s headband and your son’s cute smile, simply ask: “Hey do you ever babysit?” The worst they’re going to say is no, I’m busy. But the best they’ll say is YES, I love to babysit! BINGO!
Finding a babysitter is like old school dating. Look for the low hanging fruit, snuggle up to them, and then go in for the kill – ask for the digits! If I see you loving on my kids, even for a few minutes, I’m probably going to ask you if you babysit because Lord knows a mama can never have too many babysitters in her rolodex.
3. Other places to find a good sitter are your local church or youth group. When you add kids to your mix, now is the time to look into getting involved in some sort of local community group. If church isn’t your thing, get involved in something else that you love like a MOPs group, a tennis class, or heck, I'm sure you could find a babysitter at the Post Office.
And I know what my career mama’s are saying, "Ashley, I leave for work at o-dark-thirty everyday and barely have time to eat, let alone join a tennis club or have a leisurely coffee date to scope out potential babysitters."
I get it, I do. For you, there is always social media. Do you belong to a neighborhood Facebook group? Or does your little one have a school email list? Honestly, posting something on one of these platforms hopefully will at least get you a few LEADS that you can track down to vouch for their credibility yourself.
I also always ask my current babysitters if they have a friend who they could recommend. 9 times out of 10, they always text me one to three different girls who might be able to babysit. And don't underestimate the BOYS in your neighborhood. I am a fellow #boymom and know that my boys would LOVE if an active fun-loving older boy could come kick the soccer ball around with them for a few hours. Sure, the house might be a DISASTER when you get home, but whatever - it's a small price for some sanity.
Those are my tips and tricks for finding a sitter. We’ve been known to go 11 deep – as in, asking ELEVEN people to watch the kids. And despite all of those “no’s”, I felt super grateful to even have 11 options of babysitters to ask. It's taken years to grow our rolodex, and the nature of the beast is that sitters are constantly moving on, so don't ever end your hunt. Always be on the babysitter dating scene if you want the flexibility to schedule a date night, mama night or whatever kind of night out and away from your kids!
And if you’re unsure of why you’d even need a babysitter, then I’m not sure we can be friends. Just kidding. Kind of.