Considering we have 3 children, we are very fortunate that we actually usually have babysitting fairly readily available to us, as both Adam’s parents and my Mum live locally and are fab and will watch the kids if we want to go out together on an evening. So if I’m being totally honest, the use of a babysitting service for the kids hadn’t been hugely on my radar, although I had said to Adam recently, post-house move and setting up of business, that I could really do with some extra time during the week to get things done, yet didn’t want to put upon our family any more than we already did.
So when Sitters.co.uk got in touch with me and asked if I’d like to work with them and review their child/babysitting service I thought “why not?!” and that it would be the perfect opportunity to dip our toe into the unknown, as well as give me the chance to crack on with a few house-related things knowing that our little darlings were being supervised and entertained in the comfort of our home.
I had actually heard of Sitters before, as I know a few mums at the older children’s school use the website to book babysitters when they want a night out, and really liked it and often used the same sitter as a result, but aside from that I didn’t really know how it worked.
Here would be my opportunity to give it a go!
Here’s how our experience went…
I decided to book a sitter for a morning when the big two kids were at school, and when Arlo and I didn’t have any plans. I wanted to crack on with decorating our bedroom, and thought that I could get a lot done in 3 hours whilst Arlo could (hopefully) play happily downstairs with his sitter.
This bedroom wall needed ‘cutting in’ and a couple of coats of paint!
Before finding out more about Sitters.co.uk, I must admit I was a little anxious about the whole process, as it’s quite a big deal letting someone in your home who you don’t know and trusting them with your most precious thing in the world: Your child.
However, after having a browse online, I was actually really reassured to see that all sitters registered are thoroughly vetted and have references, and all must have a childcare background (i.e. teachers, nannies, childminders). You can also browse sitters in your area and read reviews, and then ‘favourite’ them or add them to your ‘preferred’ sitters.
After creating an account, I added details of the babysitting date and time that I required, plus age of my child, and then waited a couple of days until I received an email and text to say that a sitter called Tracey would be round to look after Arlo. I could read her previous reviews (all good, thankfully!), and the text also included her mobile number so I could call her if I had any queries. I was impressed that a couple of days after signing up that I also got a call from a member of the Sitters.co.uk team, explaining to me how the process worked, how my first booking should go, and what to do if I had any issues.
I was also told that I should receive a call from Tracey either the night before the booking or first thing before it took place, and as promised got a call from her, and as a parent it was really comforting to have a chat before we actually met.
You are given a price per hour for your sitter, and then a total cost that you pay direct to them once your hours are up.
On the morning, Tracey arrived a few minutes early and I had a chat with her, showed her where toys, nappies and snacks were (plus told her to help herself to a cup of tea!), and she instantly chatted to Arlo and took him off to play. Tracey has four older children of her own, plus has worked in childcare settings, and I could see how comfortable and calm she was with our little live wire.
I then headed upstairs to start my decorating, and aside from a few times that I heard “where Mummy gone?” I didn’t hear a peep, so any anxiety that Arlo had about where I was was obviously quickly dispersed by Tracey and he was distracted easily. I then felt I could relax into what I needed to do.
It was possibly a slightly unusual situation for Tracey as I was upstairs (I suspect most sitters are left to it as the parents go out), but it worked well. She was fab and played with him outside for ages (I was hoping the poor woman liked her football!), they did puzzles, played with his animals and toy kitchen, plus she read him lots of books.
I couldn’t have been happier with how our first experience went. As well as using Sitters for evening childcare, I think it’s actually a perfect solution if you need to get a few pressing jobs completed, errands ran or some work done over the summer holidays for a few hours, but don’t want to commit to a childminder’s hours or a full-on holiday club. As someone who has set up their own business recently, there might be some weeks where I just need that bit of extra time to complete something, and knowing that I can escape upstairs to the office whilst the kids are having fun elsewhere in the house with a trusted adult is ideal.
And look what I managed to achieve the morning Tracey was there!
So chuffed, and I think Arlo was pretty chuffed too with his new pal. We had lunch together afterwards and he was chattering away about the toys he showed Tracey, and seemed happy as Larry #winning
We left Tracey a good review, and I would definitely use her again. We’ve got a couple of events coming up in the future, and if family isn’t available (or we just want to give them a break because they do loads for us!) then I know now that I would happily use Sitters.co.uk. The whole process is clear and easy to use, and I felt looked after by the company and had my hand held when I felt a little nervous initially.
It’s a big thumbs up from us!
*Thanks to Sitters.co.uk for working with The Spirited Puddle Jumper, all words and opinions my own – we had a great experience!
See some more of my reviews here