A year ago, I published a mini series all about babysitters in celebration of Date Your Mate Month (May). I talk to a lot of couples in the same stage of life that we are, who find it hard to get out for date night because they aren’t able to find childcare or they have kids who struggle when they leave. I wanted to put those posts all in one place so that you can save one post and come back to find all of the information you might need at some point in time. Click the title at the top of each paragraph description to reach the full post with all of the tips that were shared. I hope you’ll find this mini series as helpful as so many parents did last year!
5 Tips for Hiring the Babysitter of Your (and Your Kids’) Dreams for Date Night
One of the toughest parts of leaving our kids with a babysitter while we are out on a date is getting out the door. There have been a lot of time when our kids are crying and begging us not to leave. I'm left feeling guilty for the first half of our date night and wondering if we should have stayed home. But we know that our marriage needs date night and we spend a lot of time with our kids and as a family so we don't feel guilty about leaving our kids while we go out.
Luckily for us, those nights of our kids crying while we walk out the door for date night are over. I think that both of our toddlers look forward to the nights that we leave them with the babysitter now. If leaving your kids with a babysitter is hard for you because of the emotions and guilt, these tips will hopefully help relieve some of that pressure and make going out for date night more of a happy occasion for all parties involved. I know that seeing that my kids are happy and having fun makes it easier for me to enjoy date night to the fullest and not feel bad that we left the kids home.
Growing up, one of the things that my siblings and I looked forward to were the nights when my parents went out on a date. When date night happened, we knew that we were going to get to eat something special for dinner, watch a movie while eating a special treat, and stay up a little bit later than normal.
Leaving your little ones home while you go on a date can be difficult. Making the night more fun for them could make things just a little bit easier for you. If you aren't worrying about the kids back at home, you will be able to enjoy the time that you have together on your date. Doing a few things will help your kids (and the babysitter) have more fun while you are gone on your date. Your kids will begin to look forward to date nights, rather than begging you to stay home. The two of you will get to go out more often and everyone will benefit from the effort that you are putting into making date night a priority in your marriage.
I know that hiring a babysitter for date night can be expensive, and that those kid free date nights can be far and few between when you're on a budget. That date night time is precious and you want to use it in a way that benefits your relationship. Date night allows you to escape your responsibilities for a few hours and really enjoy your time together. While I'm not against kid free grocery shopping or errand running, and have done a bit of that myself, we really try to spend the majority of our babysitter nights doing something fun and memorable together. If you're at a loss of what you want to do on your next kid free night, here are a few ideas to get you started.
I have wondered on multiple occasions, how much I should be paying our babysitters while we're out on a date. And it's a question that I revisit time and time again. Once I settle on the hourly rate that we pay our babysitters, I start to wonder if that should vary based on the time of day they're at our house, whether the kids are napping or not, if the sitter has to put together a meal, how late at night we're gone and whether or not they had the kids pick up their mess before we got home.
I decided to end the debate once and for all and asked this question in a few different Facebook groups, requesting that people share the reasons for how much they pay (or don't pay). There were some great points made, and all of the thoughts and opinions helped me to formulate my own pay scale for our babysitters, so I'm hoping it will do the same for you!
In the three years that we've been parents, we've only ever had our nieces, parents or siblings tend for us, but I've still worked hard to make the experience a positive one for them so that they'll want to continue helping us out. Now that we're looking to diversify our babysitter pool, I have been thinking about these things more than ever. What are the things we can do to make babysitting our kids a fun experience and make our home one that sitters are excited to come back to? These are just a few of the things that we've done or are doing to make babysitting a positive experience for anyone who enters our home.
I hope that these five posts help you and your spouse troubleshoot any of the struggles that you’ve had when it comes to hiring a babysitter and getting out of the house for date night. I know that they’ve been game changers for us and have made a world of difference in helping us get out of the house together, kid-free, on a more regular basis. Whether you budget to hire a babysitter once or twice a month or even once a quarter, you deserve that quality time away from your every day responsibilities together. In an ideal world, we’d have the funds to hire a babysitter every week, but that just isn’t always possible. Regardless, we make kid free date night a priority in our marriage!
Photography by Sadie Banks Photography