Securing special occasion child care

Published on Wednesday, 20 November 2019
Last updated on Tuesday, 31 December 2019

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'Tis the season for Christmas lunches and New Year's Eve parties, and although these events aren't always kid-friendly, it is possible for parents to join in the festivities.

With a little planning, you can organise casual child care to cover that special event, so without further ado, here are some ways to save the date this holiday season.

1. Book a babysitter

Whether you use someone recommended by word-of-mouth or sourced through an agency, casual babysitters are a great option for special occasions.

Sitters provide child care in the comfort and convenience of your own home (or hotel, if your event is further afield), and they’re available day and night.

Agency-provided sitters have been reference and police checked to give you peace of mind, and there's the option of booking a babysitter you've used before, so that your child already feels comfortable with them.

Just remember that for popular dates, like New Year's Eve, you'll need to book your babysitter early, and you can expect to pay more for public holidays and larger numbers of children, on top of any agency fee.

The child care search is a great way to find an experienced sitter in your region, and to learn more about choosing and preparing for a babysitter, click here.

2. Ask a family member to help

Provided they haven't been invited to the same event as you, a grandparent, aunt, student-aged cousin or other responsible relative may be able to care for your child – either at your house or theirs.

This is a chance for two generations to bond and have fun, but even if you have a close relationship with your family member, it's still important to take a practical approach.

For starters, make sure your relative is genuinely happy to fill in for you and that they're up to the task, fitness and maturity-wise. Be clear about details, like how long you'll be out, how you can be contacted and when your child needs to go to bed.

Consider whether you need to hand over some cash (for expenses or a child care payment), and make things as easy as possible for your relative (for instance, by pre-preparing dinner, bathing your child before you go out and leaving written instructions).

3. Team up with a friend or parent

Once you know the date of your special occasion, another option is to ask a trusted friend or fellow parent to look after your child for the day or night. As with relatives, it's important to go over the details carefully and make things easy for your casual carer.

For night-time events, it can work well for older children to have a sleepover with another family, but only if you're all comfortable with this. Keep your phone handy in case of any problems and it's recommended that you use a family your child has successfully stayed with before.

Some parents also have a great co-share arrangement, which means that you'll take turns looking after each other's children and can put your special event in their diary, then return the favour.

While another option is for two families to share a booked child carer on the same date. This works if you're all attending the same event and your children get on well. In fact, provided your carer is happy to look after the larger number of children, this is a cost-effective way for both parents and youngsters to get that festive feeling.

4. Book a temporary nanny

If you're having trouble organising child care, have had a last-minute cancellation or just want short term care, then a temporary nanny is another option.

These nannies can be booked at short notice for any time and every day of the week, and although they're often used to fill in for regular nannies who've called in sick or gone on holiday, temporary nannies can provide casual care for several hours on the date of your special event.

KiwiOzNannies and Karitane Nurses and Nannies are two agencies that offer temporary nannies, and if you're looking for event care (where a child carer accompanies your family to a special event), then PAUA Poppetts can assist.

In summary, there are several ways to ensure that your child is well cared for while you're enjoying that Christmas lunch, NYE party or summery date night. Enjoy!

Further reading

5 vacation care strategies for working parents

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