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Strangers babysitting - OK or no way?

(19 Posts)
juicy12 Mon 10-Aug-09 14:39:55

We're off on holiday soon and as I was looking through the blurb I noticed that a babysitting service is offered. (we're in S/c cottages, so it wouldn't be a case of a hotel reception getting you from dinner to go up to the room.) Our DC are 5 and 2 and normally we have friends/family/a few ex-nursery people to babysit. DH is keen to go out a couple of times on holiday, just the two of us, but my gut instinct is that I won't want to leave them with someone I don't know, however nice/well qualified they are. Is that a bit precious of me? Or quite normal? Just interested in what others would do.

Horton Mon 10-Aug-09 15:00:53

I don't think I'd fancy it much either. Maybe okay with the older child but wouldn't the two year old be a bit upset to be left with someone s/he doesn't know at all?

KTNoo Mon 10-Aug-09 15:33:33

You know your kids and if you think they would either be okay with a stranger or already asleep and not likely to wake up, then I think it's fine. A reputable holiday company would have checked out the babysitter surely? My sis-in-law did this recently and she said the lady they sent was really nice and the kids settled more easily than they do for their mum!

Go out and enjoy yourselves! (But I'm coming from the persepctive of someone who has no family nearby to babysit so I'll let anyone have them!)

danthe4th Mon 10-Aug-09 15:43:08

I babysit for families in holiday cottages in the cotswolds, I always ask for contact before the family arrive, either by text or email we exchange a hello and i'm happy to email a photo and as i'm also a cm I can show them my ofsted report. If you are nervous which I don't blame you, I would be, why not ring the company you are booked with and ask them to pass on your mobile number or email and ask for the sitter to get in touch.I'm sure you'll find they are helpful.

Gateau Mon 10-Aug-09 15:54:30

No way!

whitenoise Mon 10-Aug-09 15:55:34

Not for me, no chance no way

FimbleHobbs Mon 10-Aug-09 16:00:07

We used the center parcs babysitting service for our then 2 year old and six month old - we were still on the campus, about 10 minutes away - the lady was lovely and the evening went really well, the children were fine with her.

Have also used a babysitter I didn't know, in Dublin when they were 3 and 1, girl worked for a nursery and was recommended by a colleague over there. She was great and again the evening went well.

There is no point never trusting anybody and I think its good for children's confidence to have other people look after them now and again.

Go out and have fun!

juicy12 Mon 10-Aug-09 16:00:15

Thank you for the replies.
KTNoo, when i say we use family/friends, it's hardly a regular occurence, just if family have come to visit, we take advantage of them grin!
horton, yes our DD (2) would be less than impressed if she woke up and didn't know the person looking after her.
However, they don't usually wake up.
danthe4th that's a really good suggestion, thank you.
It's not just my decision though, I guess. DH is a bit more sensible and less likely to fret than me - it's not as if we're going to be uncontactable if the DCs aren't happy.

snickersnack Mon 10-Aug-09 16:01:40

If they are CRB checked, then yes, I would (and have). If I think there's a chance the dcs will wake up I'll make sure the babysitter arrives a bit earlier so they've met her. And I'd always tell them where we're going. But I would be fine with leaving them with a professional babysitter.

juicy12 Mon 10-Aug-09 16:01:57

Yikes, just read Gateau and Whitenoise's replies. Still in a dilemma!

EldonAve Mon 10-Aug-09 16:04:10

We'd never go out if we only used people the kids know

We use an agency at home and have used hotel babysitters before

But if you aren't happy then don't do it

Gateau Mon 10-Aug-09 16:08:17

As with everything,OP, it's totally up to you. If you're comfortable with it, do it.
I personally wouldn't do it, but everyone's different!

trefusis Mon 10-Aug-09 16:12:21

Message withdrawn

Overmydeadbody Mon 10-Aug-09 16:15:20

No way.

I would not leave DS with someone I don't know. They could turn out to be a horrible psycho.

muffle Mon 10-Aug-09 16:20:52

But someone you know could also turn out to be a horrible psycho, or a paedophile etc - it's well-known that they are usually known to the family.

I think you have to trust your instincts. We use an agency (as well as swapping babysitting with friends) and from that we now have a few babysitters that we feel we do know - and we can ask for our favourites when we book too, so DS is rarely left with someone he isn't familiar with. Of course they are all legally checked out and have childcare experience so I would imagine they're stastically probably less likely to be dodgy than the average person.

muffle Mon 10-Aug-09 16:21:22

urgh "stastically"? you know what I mean...

Horton Mon 10-Aug-09 16:25:45

I'm not against leaving the children with a babysitter they have met but don't know well, just to clarify. If there's a possibility the sitter could be booked to come an hour early to play with the kids a bit, would that make you and the two year old feel better about it? Let them stay up a bit late and let her put them to bed? I actually think this would be less stressful than waking up to find someone you didn't know at all in charge from the two year old's point of view. And even if your kids don't usually wake up, on holiday in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar noises etc is prime waking up when you don't want them to material!

My nearly three year old would be outraged to wake up and find someone she didn't know there, I think. And I know, I could get her used to it by doing it to her but tbh I don't think it's fair. I do have the world's clingiest three year old, though! Like trefusis, I would worry more about the child/ren being upset than about possible psychos.

juicy12 Mon 10-Aug-09 16:41:18

TBH my concern isn't the psycho/paedo angle, more them waking up and being worried and, in turn, me worrying about the possibility of that happening so that I spend the whole evening on a knife-edge anyway. Hmmm. So, yes, maybe getting the sitter to come early is a good idea. It's interesting to canvas opinion, I find it reassuring!

nannynick Mon 10-Aug-09 17:27:56

Have the babysitter come earlier so that your DC get to meet them before you go out. The babysitter could then entertain your DC whilst you get ready to go out.

When I babysit I prefer to meet the family first... then when if the children are asleep when I arrive (they rarely are) they won't wake to find a complete stranger caring for them.

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