Carly is one of our hardworking moms in Connecticut. When she’s not out making moms day, shes making her own day with her children and husband. Here she shares her tips on finding the perfect sitter for your family.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the phrase “date night” I gently sigh as I briefly think back to what life was like before kids.  Don’t get me wrong – I simply adore my children and I wouldn’t change a thing about having them, however, there are times when I crave the quiet nights my husband and I used to have before kids.

In order to have some well-deserved time alone with your sweetie, you also have to find a good babysitter. If you don’t have friends and family close by, then that can be a difficult and daunting task. Weeknights are busy and by the time our long-awaited weekend arrives, we find ourselves over-committed and ditching the idea of going out (yet again).

The first step in reclaiming date night is committing to a date. Once that is agreed, established, and officially written in pen on the calendar, we come to the truly hardest step in getting out for a night:

Finding a reliable and responsible babysitter with whom you can feel confident with leaving your kids in their care.  

Here’s some helpful tips on how to find the perfect babysitter so you don’t have to stress while you relax with the hubby.

Tip #1: Stay local

Luckily, my sitter lives right across the street from me, but if I couldn’t connect with her, backup plan is to contact the guidance department at my local high school.  They put me in contact with their program that works directly with people and businesses in the area to provide students with job opportunities and work experience. Not comfortable with a high school student?  Consider contacting local colleges and universities and get in touch with a coordinator at student services.  Often those who are seeking a degree in early education may be looking to gain some experience with kids and some extra cash, too!

Tip #2: Get a friend’s recommendation

If you have a good friend whose sitter they trust, their sitter probably has friends who are also looking for some extra cash. It’s well worth the effort to ask. If they’re really your true friend, they might even loan you their sitter just this once!

Tip #3: Create or join a sitter swap

Create a fun solution to your own problem!  Take full advantage of your network of friends, family and neighbors and see if they’d be interested in doing a sitter swap.  One week, you drop your kids off at their house for an evening play date while you and your significant other go out for date night.  Then, the next week, you take their kids and do the same.  A huge benefit: it saves money and your kids get to hang out with their friends.

Tip #4: If all else fails – Google it. 

There are new services popping up with parents like us in mind. Two relatively new sites are Sitter City and Care. Both offer similar services for finding babysitters, nannies, and even daycare. Some of the benefits of these sites is that they have free trials so you can see if you like the service. You’ll find there are reviews from parents who have used certain individual’s services through the site. Once you have added your information, and the type of sitting services you are looking for, the rest is easy – the applicants come to you! The cons? The drawbacks include a fee to join to get the “premium” information.And of course, the big caveat that it is the Internet – you just can’t be sure what information is true or not, despite background checks. Being very careful is always the best advice when choosing to use the Internet for these searches.

Tip #5: Talk to your kids

Once you’ve found a sitter, it’s critical that you some feedback from your kids. See if they like the sitter and are excited to see them. Ask your kids if they like being with the sitter.  If they do, then book them for some nights in advance so you have some date nights to look forward to in your future to reconnect and get some time away – even if it is just for a few hours!