What's a Good Age to Start to Look for a Night Time Babysitter?

Updated on December 18, 2014
K.V. asks from Mc Lean, VA
18 answers

Hi All, looking for some advice on when is realistic to go out and look for a baby sitter for my little ones, they are 4 1/2, 3, and 1 year. I'd really like to get some free hours on the weekend or a night with the husband, but not sure if it's to early to have the neighborhood babysitters look after the kids for a few hours.

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answers from Los Angeles on

While I would not trust 3 kids under 5 with a 12 year old neighbor, I would trust an older teen with some babysitting experience and some first aid training. Ask for experience. Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

It's not too early for you to get a break!!

You can start with a "mother's helper" kind of thing, where the sitter comes while you do some things around the house. You can try the sitter out, and the sitter can learn her (or his) way around the house and get to know the kids. Then you can progress up to leaving them alone with the sitter and having the sitter put them to bed.

With 3 kids, you probably don't want a 13 year old but look for older kids or perhaps a team of 2 if you are worried about the workload!

No, it's not too soon! Go for it!

5 moms found this helpful

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answers from Danville on

I speak to you as an 'older' divorced mom of many kiddos.

I have very few regrets in my life...in fact, almost NONE! But, I DO wonder if I had felt better about having someone else in to 'sit' with my kiddos, if it would have changed the outcome of my marriage. My now ex was gone A LOT with the military when we were married. I tried to make 'family time' when he was home the highest priority, so 'we' rarely had time as a couple.

In my 'brain' I know it would not have made much of a difference. But in my 'heart', I still wonder a bit.

PLEASE...get a sitter. Make your marriage a priority! After all, the kiddos are a result of that marriage.


7 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Do you mean to say that you haven't had a night time date with your husband in over 4 1/2 years? Oh NO! Please, please find yourself a sitter ASAP! Ask around at church, ask other moms. Find yourself a responsible high school or college student, or perhaps a retired empty-nester who is CPR/First Aid certified and would like to look after your kids REGULARLY for a few hours every other week or so. You need to establish a date night. :-)

Also, young men can be really great sitters, so don't just ask about young ladies. My kids had TONS of fun with male sitters, who tend to be more active, while the female sitters just wanted to sit around and (as my kids said), "Do boring stuff."

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

What do you mean "too early"? Have you been waiting 4 1/2 years to go out?
Go for it!

We just had the neighbor come over for an hour & 1/2 while my husband and I went out nearby. Sure she put the baby's diaper on backwards, but she DID change the baby's diaper, and all three of them were happy and unscathed when we came home.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Oh my goodness - I certainly hope you have had occasional evenings free since your babes have been born. We started ours with evening/ night sitters around the 4 month mark. So worth it, for you sake, and theirs!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on


By my estimation, you are long overdue. We started our nights out when DS was 2 months old. You might need more than one for your brood of three, if the sitters are young and unexperienced.

F. B.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

You mean you have been home for 4 1/2 years? Got a babysitter when first was four months old. What have you been waiting for. Get a sitter and get out of the house.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I started having a regular Wednesday night sitter as soon as I went back to work after my 2nd. My kids were almost 4 years and 4 months old. The sitter was responsible for about an hour of play, dinner, bathtime, books, and bedtime, and was there from 6-10. Those 4 hours allowed me to do anything - gym, shopping in peace, extra catch up on work, coffee with a girlfriend, or a date with my husband. Sometimes, I might even just go to our guest room and sleep while she just took over the responsibilities with the kids for the evening.
We found our sitters from seekingsitters.com, a service where the clients and the sitters all go through background checks, the sitters are all CPR certified, and most are recruited from local colleges, churches, or teachers at daycares. While we were able to get a standing sitter that we liked consistently for Wednesdays, we've often used them for other ad hoc requests. We've never had a sitter that we didn't like, or who we felt wasn't great with our kids.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

Your kids are old enough for a sitter to watch them. Lots of kids go to daycare at those ages. Instead of babysitters I traded babysitting with other moms. It was much cheaper.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

When I was 16, I watched 3 kids that age regularly. :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I'm a little shocked you don't have one already.

We had a babysitter for my 1st basically as soon as I was able to leave the house! So he was 6 weeks old. And my daughter has had a nanny/sitter with her since the day she was born.

Go take care of yourself and have some fun!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I think date night should be a priority.

My daughter will turn 20 this month and she has been a regular sitter for 1 neighborhood family regularly for 5.5 yrs. They have 3 children, now in 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade. The youngest was still in diapers when she started babysitting them.

She has babysat another neighbor family with 1 child who is now in 2nd grade since he was about 2yrs old.

She is the regular go to sitter for these families.

I think age 16 if someone is mature enough is fine to babysit for date night.

Date night was a priority for us and we used a sitter service weekly with the same sitter for about 2yrs and then I started using neighborhood teens. Word of mouth is a great way to find a sitter. Our HOA has a website and sitters can advertise there for free.

Expect to pay a minimum of $10 per hour. My daughter sits at least 1 weekend night a week and brings in at least $100 cash. When we had date nights, we guaranteed the sitter $40 no matter what and then paid based on how long we were out. Typically $60-$100 cash weekly.

Good luck, I am sure your children will do well and you need those extra hours with hubby!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

what age sitter, or what age should your kids be?
your kids are on the young side, so get a sitter who is at least 16 and has mother's helper-ed with you, or an older one with plenty of experience and references.
if your asking how old your kids need to be, honey, you are WAY overdue. go out with your poor neglected husband and kick up your poor neglected heels!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I found a great sitter by advertising at the local college. She came a few times a week for close to two years and we all loved her!
I like college sitters for multiple young kids because they are more mature, fun and they need the money :-)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

They are old enough.

Since you have a 1 year old I would pick someone who you think can handle a one year old along with the 2 older kids.

I was more cautious if my kids could not tell me what happened. I usually like to have a close relative watch until the children could talk.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Yes, it's time!
Especially since you've got older kids who can communicate, it's no problem. At 4 1/2, my older child was really good at helping babysitters out with where to find diapers, etc. (of course I showed her, but if she forgot or needed more). It also made me more comfortable to know that I could get a report back from the child on what they did, and whether or not they had fun.

When any of the kids are age 2 or younger, I preferred that the sitter be about 16 years old or older. Now that my kids are older (8 and 4) and more self sufficient, our current babysitter is 14 and she handles them just fine.

Another tip I have is that when you are getting used to a new sitter, schedule your night out so that the sitter doesn't have to handle bedtime since that can be the trickiest time in the evening. The first few times, we go out for dinner early (like 6-8) so that we are back in time to put the kids down at 8:30. Then all the sitter has to do is play with them. Once we are all comfortable that the sitter is good with the kids, we hand over the bedtime routine and do later evenings.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Reading all the responses - I'm like wow I guess we waited way too long to have a sitter too. We know get out regularly but we tend to drop them off at a kids night out program.

If your nervous you could get the younger ones put to bed first and it might be less worrisome trying out a new sitter.

LOVE LOVE LOVE Laura S's idea so much that I'm thinking "Why didn't I ever think of that"

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