Family Friendly

Best age to find a babysitter

Posted by on Monday, February 24, 2020
When we moved to Florence, we were states away from my parents and mother-in-law so getting a break or finding a babysitter was a really big deal for us. We were always taking care of our own children since I'm a stay at home mom and I'd take them everywhere with us.

The very first time I was regularly away from my first born was when I placed my then 1.5 year old son at All Saints Parents Morning Out so that I could run errands like: grocery shopping, going to dentist and doctor visits for myself and completing chores while he got some social time with other kids. See my recommended preschool/mommy morning out list for Florence. It was a great program. Every morning for 4 hours, he would get to play and learn with other kids who were around his age. I started out with 3 days a week and then bumped up to 5 days a week. It was really affordable. 

It took us awhile until we found a local babysitter when we wanted to go out in the evenings. We didn't find a local babysitter until after our second child was born. My husband and I shared an extracurricular hobby and that was working out at the McLeod Fitness Center. Thankfully, they have a great nursery/childcare program that we could use up to 2 hours at a time. When we started using the MACK while we worked out, both of my sons were in the nursery together. My younger one started going there when he was 6 weeks old and because he was a very easy baby and rarely cried, it made it so easy for me to drop off both of them together without worrying. I would work out and take a shower (even blow dried my hair) and all of that took me less than 2 hours so it was perfect. It was a life saver for us, especially for me since my husband had a shift work schedule and there were many times where it felt like I was single parenting it.

Then, one day out of the blue, one of the nursery workers asked me what we had going on that weekend. She had never asked me that before but oddly, that very weekend happened to be our anniversary and I told her we're going out to eat to celebrate. She asked us if we have a babysitter and I said 'no' and that we were going to bring our kids with us. She said we shouldn't have to bring our kids with us to our anniversary dinner and offered to babysit! I couldn't believe our luck! She took care of my baby at least 3 times a week in the nursery at the MACK when I would work out and had taken care of my older son in the nursery for a good awhile now so they were both familiar with her. We knew she was capable of caring for them well and trusted her. Better yet, she only charged us $12 an hour. That anniversary dinner ended up becoming one of the most memorable dinners we've had and as worried as I was about being away from my two babies, it was good for our marriage. Read about our anniversary dinner and where we went. Anyway, this was several years ago but that was the very first time that we had a local babysitter (who was not family). My older son was only 2 years old and my baby was 5 months old when we started using her babysitting services.

I think the best age to find a babysitter depends on so many factors: whether you already know someone for awhile who just happened to babysit, how comfortable you are with being away from your child without breastfeeding, how attached your children are to you and how much you need a date night with your partner. For us, we didn't actively seek for one. One just fell on our lap! I've also heard of other parents who ended up hiring the preschool teachers who taught their kids at a preschool or morning out program to babysit as well.

I've also had an experience with hiring a babysitter from too. The initial idea that we were going to hire a complete stranger to come into our house and watch our kids was a bit scary but I looked into so many profiles and saw one that I thought might be okay. I met her in person first to interview for 15 minutes before I went ahead and hired her. She was someone in her 30s who had just recently divorced her husband and her inability to have a baby caused a strain on their marriage so I was really sad for her. She also worked full-time and poured her heart to me that the only way she could be around kids was nannying or babysitting. I decided after that talk for 15 minutes that we were going to hire her. It worked out very well for two outings and then she disappeared. She did work full-time and had mentioned briefly that her brother in Virginia had asked her to move in with him to help his family watch their two kids, rent-free. I think she went with that plan and never got back to me on my request for her to babysit again. Or maybe, she just didn't want to watch another family's kids anymore.

Now that my kids are older and my older son goes to elementary school, we've had a total of 4 different babysitters that we've tried out. One of them was a grandma (who had watched our kids at the nursery at the gym), one was a divorcee in her 30s (from and two were teenagers. The teenagers were related to people we already knew and that helped reassure us because we knew their families. We've moved around quite a bit so these two teenagers are from different towns from each other.

I know finding a babysitter for the first time to watch your precious kids is not an easy task. I think if you already know someone who happens to also babysit or hiring your kid's preschool teacher or childcare provider who already has your trust or getting personal references are all so helpful and better than hiring complete strangers. At least you'd already know that they're reliable from your own experience with them. The teenagers that I hired were both from religious families and one of them was even First aid/CPR certified. I think teenagers who you know are staying local for college are also great to consider compared to those who are planning on spending their 4 years of college far away. It helps ensure that you can get that same babysitter for a somewhat long period of time and won't have to stress out about finding a new babysitter as often.

I didn't have the best luck with I tried it and don't think I'll be doing that again. I hope all of this info is helpful for you.

Tags: finding a babysitter 
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About Me Originally from Southern California, we had moved here when my husband got out of the military and began his civilian work at the Duke Energy Power Plant in Hartsville. I had a hard time finding family-friendly resources online in Florence when we moved here in 2013 so I started writing and taking pictures of our adventures and places we've been. This website is a collection of several years of adventures. I hope this helps you as a transplant or new mom. I have two sons who were both born in Florence at the McLeod Hospital.
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