The Mental (UN)Load: How & Why to Tap into Great Child Care

With the advent of hybrid work schedules, it can feel like cobbling together child care, school pick ups, and your daily to-dos is possible. Just because we can do it all (and spoiler alert: we can’t) should we? Providing our kids with moments of pure, unadulterated attention from a fun, engaging sitter is clearly a better option than throwing a snack together while we scroll through emails. Additionally, giving ourselves an opportunity to just do one task at a time; focusing on work, ourselves, our to-do list, is healthier and more productive than taxing our brain to do multiple tasks at the same time. The case for an extra set of helping hands is clear but sometimes finding those extra sets of helping hands can feel like work in and of itself. So let’s de-stress the process!

Finding your ideal sitter site/app:

There are tons of great options for finding sitters now, thanks to websites and apps. The most common are marketplaces (care.com, urbansitter.com, sittercity.com). If you are looking for a ton of options, available in pretty much every corner of the US, these three behemoths are it. If you’re looking for a more bespoke, vetted option, Curatedcare.com, available via website or app, provides a highly vetted marketplace (the provider side is invite only, reference and background checked, with providers bringing unique, creative backgrounds in arts & education) in NYC and LA. If you need a more on-demand sitter service, apps like Hello Sitter service NYC and New Orleans fams and provide the “uber of babysitting” with vetted providers available on demand/last minute.

Covering your unique scheduling needs:

Finding a full-time nanny is a feat in and of itself, but many families find themselves in need of part-time or flexible/one-off help. So how on earth do you secure a go to sitter for sporadic needs? You need a team. “It takes a village” is a trope for a reason. It does. Everyone’s needs and schedules are dynamic (yours, your kiddo’s and your go-to sitter’s). You need a hand picked team of go-tos to ensure coverage but also to ensure your kiddos’ time is engaging & well spent. Some sites/apps have tech-enabled the idea of booking with a team (Curatedcare.com allows families to curate and consistently grow their team, and then send booking needs to all or some of their team members in one click). Bespoke agencies like Chicago Super Sitters or Broadway Babysitters, for example, help place multiple sitters with families to ease the burden of finding your own go-to team.

Setting up new sitters quickly & easily so you can hit the ground running (to the gym, to the office, to the store – we’re giddy at the thought!)

It can feel daunting introducing new sitters to your crew – so much so it prohibits us from doing it. It can be easier than you think. Below are a few quick tips to ease and expedite the process:

  • Message a ton beforehand and over communicate with your new sitter. It’ll make you and them feel better. Text, facetime, get comfy before the initial babysitting booking.
  • If you want text updates throughout your babysitter’s time with your kiddo, go ahead and ask! Even better: want them to grab and share pics via text during their time with your kiddo? Louder for the people in the back: go ahead and ask! 🙂 Sitters are often super happy to oblige and it can make working with a variety of sitters more approachable, too.
  • Tons of families can get tripped up on the nuance of sitter preferences (Do we provide meals/food? Transportation? etc?) Families and sitters do a mix of everything so your best bet is to establish what works best for you and offer that information immediately when connecting to clearly communicate and ensure everything is fit from the start. Pro tip: since most families connect with sitters via sites and apps now, save a draft email or note on your phone where you can always copy/paste this information.

Here’s to carving out a little extra time in your day, a little extra focus in your brain, and a little extra “awesome” for your kiddos.