Me time, you time, us time, whatever you want to call it, is all the rage at the moment. Are you getting enough, or are you even getting any? It’s so difficult, yet so important when you become a parent to make time for yourself. As the saying goes, ‘ you can’t pour from an empty cup’. But when do you manage to squeeze some time in? Now that the boys are at School and Ava at Pre School for a few sessions, it has become a little easier to snatch a little time in-between work and all the life admin. But what we still struggle with is making time for us as a couple.
We are lucky that my parents live nearby and help out weekly with Ava. However this means we then feel guilty asking them to babysit in the evenings if we want to go out. We recently moved to a new village and don’t really know the Mum’s well enough yet to ask for babysitter recommendations, so I have been a bit stuck with what to do. I have searched online before when looking for a childminder and a website that I am familiar with and used successfully in the past is Childcare.co.uk. Established in 2009 it now has 1.8million people using its service! I was asked if I’d like to try it out again and decided now would be a great time to use it to hopefully find a babysitter.
Childcare.co.uk doesn’t simply list babysitters or childminders, as I had used it for in the past. It is very comprehensive and as a parent / carer membership is free.
Using a simple postcode search, you can look for a:
- Au pair
- Private Midwife
- Nursery nurse
- Maternity nurse
- Private tutor
- Out of School Club
- Household Help
I did a quick search within our postcode area and was pleased to find quite a few babysitters registered within a 2 mile radius. You can then narrow your search even further with a range of options. For example; you can select it to show only those who are DBS registered, or those with childcare qualifications.
As a parent you want to make sure you are leaving your children in safe hands which is one of the reasons we have only ever used family as babysitters. However Childcare.co.uk is really thorough in that each member can upload their DBS checks, relevant qualification certificates and proof of identity documents to verify that they are who they say they are. Each profile is checked by a human member of staff to further give reassurance.
Members profiles will indicate with a clear symbol if their documents are not up to date or have not been shared. I would personally always ask to see copies myself, but it is useful to be able to see at a quick glance what each person holds. There is a very useful section on Childcare.co.uk dedicated to reference and background checks. It’s well worth a read to ensure you are hiring someone trustworthy.
Of course it is personal preference with what you are happy with for a babysitter, as it may differ from if you were using the site to look for a nanny or a childminder. Which is why I also like that users can leave reviews of carers, meaning that you can get that recommendation if you don’t have anyone to ask.
You are then able to message the prospective carer to discuss your requirements and I would always recommend meeting someone face to face before leaving your children with them. Childcare.co.uk has a Safety centre page with advice for both parents and professionals on keeping things safe and secure.
There is also the option of posting your own Wanted Ad so that suitable childcare providers can get in touch with you based on your needs.
After finding a few suitable local babysitters I have taken the plunge and sent them a message. I’m planning on starting small with meeting them first and then if we like them, having a trial run for an hour or two whilst we take a break at the village pub down the road. Close enough if things don’t go to plan. I’m really hoping that we can find some babysitters that we trust and then are able to have some couple time, without the guilt.
To have a look around yourself, visit www.childcare.co.uk