I’m a solo mother living in the city with little family support, and I feel as if I never get to go out because there’s no-one to look after my son and daughter who are six and eight. I don’t have the cash to pay babysitters you get from agencies and I’m too nervous to put an ad up looking for a teenager as you don’t know who you might be getting. I have vague recollections of my mother belonging to a babysitting club. How do you go about finding or setting one up?
RW, by email
Thanks to your letter, I now know there is a website called babysittingclub.co.nz designed to help you set up a babysitting club of your own. I also found lots of useful information by Googling “Babysitting Club Rules”. Given financial constraints and a cautious approach to hiring babysitters, a club sounds like an excellent option. You can start with your friends or maybe parents in your children’s classes or after-school activities who might like to join you. One difficulty you might face is who looks after your children while you babysit. (It is simpler when there are two parents, so one can babysit and the other can look after their children.)
An alternative might be to offer to babysit children at your place overnight and then – if it is a school day – they go to school from your place with your kids. On a Friday or Saturday night, the children could be picked up at an agreed upon time the following day. Another way to get babysitters without having the risk of strangers is to see if the children in your children’s class have teenage siblings. In terms of your concern about your children’s safety and wellbeing, they are both old enough to report accurately – and any babysitter would know that!
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