It’s a familiar dilemma. You’ve arranged the perfect date night with your spouse, but you can’t find a babysitter.
So, you end up spending the evening at home, watching another Netflix movie after tucking the kids into bed.
Parents in Stowe are competing for an ever-shrinking pool of sitters, as sports and other activities leave teenagers short of time and energy for part-time work.
“We get several calls throughout the year from people looking for a babysitter list for weekend care, or supervision before or after our program hours,” said Jessica Viens, administrative assistant for the Stowe Recreation Department.
The recreation department has set up a Stowe Babysitter Search to help connect parents with available sitters.
“We figured setting up a sitter search would be a great way for us to compile a list to have on hand and also give parents a chance to meet the sitters before they hire them,” Viens said. “That way, they’re not going blindly from a piece of paper.
“Plus, thinking of our sitters in town, it would give them an opportunity for some serious exposure.”
The sitter search is scheduled Sunday, Nov. 11, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Stowe Elementary School. It will be done round-robin style; parents will meet with each sitter for five minutes to ask about their experience, qualifications and availability.
There will be time before and after the interviews for sitters to meet with parents and their children.
In preparation for the sitter search, the recreation department has scheduled a babysitter course with the Red Cross on Saturday, Nov. 10, with an optional course in cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Sunday, Nov. 11. The response has been so great that there is now a waiting list.
“We have had folks request a babysitter course in the past, and this seemed like the perfect time to get it started,” Viens said. “Our hope is that the participants in the course will also sign up for the search and get some jobs out of the deal.”
Babysitters can make a good income in the Stowe area, depending on their experience and qualifications and the particular job responsibilities.
“Mommy’s helpers — sitters who take care of the kids when parents are home but busy doing other things — are usually on the lower end of the scale, around $7 to $10 per hour, while a full-time nanny could be up to $20 an hour,” Viens said.
High-demand times may also increase the price of a sitter, especially on holidays such as New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. There are websites such as sittercity.com and care.com where sitters can plug in their zip code, years of experience, and the number of kids to be watched to determine average hourly pay rate for their area.
Viens encourages parents who have found a sitter with whom they’re compatible to work to keep the relationship strong.
“The summer is usually an easy time to find a sitter, but when fall comes and kids go back to school, it leaves parents competing for the good sitters left in town,” Viens said. “If you’ve been good to your sitter, they’re likely to stick around during the fall ‘sitter shuffle’ and make more of an effort to be available when you need them.”
Stowe Babysitter Search
Sunday, Nov. 11, 1-3 p.m.
Stowe Elementary School
Parents, babysitters and mother’s helpers welcome
Fun five-minute speed interviews. Time to meet parents and kids before and afterward.
Information: stowerec.org/familyevents/sittersearch; 253-6138