OK, for all you mamas and papas out there. What are your must haves for a babysitter?

So, first kid, in Georgia, we had the BEST babysitter which set the bar very high. I’m talking getting her Masters in Childhood Education, CPR and First Aid trained, won awards for her grades and work with children in the community, remembered Olivia’s birthday and bought her a better gift than we did, etc. And in South Georgia, they called it “keeping” your children (versus babysitting). “Yes, I can keep your kids on Friday.” Um, done. Keep them and we’ll see you on Sunday was what I was thinking. Ha!

Now, flash forward to 5 years later. Our standards have lowered some. The girls growing up in South Georgia wanted to be Moms. It was strange because the other college-aged sitters we used down there, all talked about when they become a Mama, etc all the time. Now, in the PNW, even further away from family, we are relying on friends to recommend sitters. And we all know how close everyone keeps their babysitter’s information because a good sitter is like gold.

So I’m hoping for this A+ kid-keeper while my husband, Chris, thinks the sitter only needs to be able to call 911 if anything bad happens when we’re away. Not sure we’re on the same page there. Lol.

But, in the almost year we’ve lived here, we’ve found a great 16-year old girl to watch the kiddos. Having a young high school student watch the kids is different for sure. A parent either has to drive her or we have to drop her off. Her authority probably isn’t quite as much as it is with an older sitter. School nights are mostly off limits as well as too late of nights (who am I kidding? I like to be in bed by 10pm too). But the kids enjoy their nights with her.

And maybe I’m just projecting as I hated babysitting as a young girl. I tried it a couple times even after attending the Red Cross babysitter certification class. I thought it was going to be my calling. My money maker.  Until crying kids and sitting alone at night in a random house came into play.  Then came the call to my Mom to come help me or hang out with me.

But we may keep on this trend. Because if you can get a good younger sitter and groom her for your family, maybe she’ll stay your sitter throughout the next 2-6 years depending on what she does after high school.

Go forth and schedule a date night. And maybe order a Nest Cam for your kids rooms’ so you can check on the nighttime routine like we do when we’re away from home. We have one for each kid’s room and the doorbell cam too. Though at first, it was our doggie monitor, now it’s a way my husband can check on the kids in their rooms when he’s traveling.

And my one tip that works well for my family is to build up these babysitter nights to your kids so that they look forward to your date nights. I tell the sitter to basically give the kids whatever they want…snacks, food, drinks, movies, painting, etc. So now, when we get home and wake up with the kids, they are so excited that they got to eat four marshmallows and watch a movie upstairs that they didn’t even care that we were gone.