31 August 2011

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Sitter Circles Review

I've recently been trying out a new website called sittercircles.com. I have to say, it's a pretty cool idea. No more calling around trying to find a sitter and feeling frustrated as you realize you may have to miss the Poison reunion tour! Now, I don't trust many people to watch my monkey yet (she's only 5 1/2 weeks!), but I have been testing out the site with her Mima.

Basically what you do is add all of your potential sitters' email addresses into the system and then send out an email when you need a break from diaper blow outs. You have the option of asking your preferred sitters first, and you can also tap into trusted sitters of your friends if they subscribe to the service too. If you're a teacher, it's very akin to arranging a sub.

There are updates in the works, as you'll read in a second. I would love to see the option to alert sitters of an overnight job. They are also expanding the sister site, itsadatenight.com, to reach other cities. With this site, you can book a date (they take care of all the details!), and then use Sitter Circles to book a sitter. Bingo bango.

I had a chance to interview Larry Roth, one of the co-founders of the site. Take a look at the interview,and be sure to explore the sites!

Mom of Many Hats: What was the inspiration for this website?
Larry Roth: It came from wanting to get couples to go out more together without the kids.  The biggest obstacle most parents have is finding a sitter for the day and time they want them, and we wanted to simplify that as much as possible.  We also have teenagers at home that are always looking for babysitting jobs.

MMH: Why is this site better than the traditional method of looking through your phone book to find a sitter?
LR: With Sitter Circles, you can add your sitters at one time, then when you need a sitter, you put in the date and time and send it to all your sitters - first one to respond gets the job and you have a sitter.  We also allow you to send it to your favorite sitter first and wait to send it to your other sitters, or you can prioritize your list waiting before sending it to the next sitter. No more calling your sitters one by one to see if they are available, and they have the option to decline without creating an awkward excuse. Let's say none of your sitters are available, then you can connect with your friends and ask their sitters if they are available.

MMH: What does the future of this service look like? Are there changes and improvements in the works? If so, what information do you have about them?
LR: We are working on several new features and will be adding more in the next few months.  Our next release coming in a few weeks will be an iphone app that will allow you to do everything the website does now. Also, Facebook integration is coming soon and will make it easier for you to connect with your friends.

MMH: What can you tell us about the sister-site of this website, itsadatenight.com?
LR: DateNight was created to make it easier for couples to get out together in the Washington, DC metro area.  Each Monday we send an email out with date options, then we book the event, purchase the tickets and take care of all the details for the cost of the event and a $5 fee. Our members have gone out on fantastic dates including a house party with concert, mystery train tours, provocative plays, dinner cruises, canoeing, hikes, and lectures.  We make it really easy to get out of the house and do something fun and different.  People just don't have enough time to find and book things to do. We are working to expand DateNight to more cities soon.

MMH:
What advice do you have for parents who are finding it hard to make time for each other?
LR: Schedule a sitter at least once a month for a date night.  Keep date nights fun, alternating who gets to choose the event.  In my house, we also put the kids to bed early, turn off our computers and phones, and watch a movie together.

So, book yourself a date, grab yourself a sitter, and enjoy a night out together. Heck! Stay up until 9!

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  1. Meagan said... September 1, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    Thats an awesome idea! :)

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