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Need to Go Back to Work . . . But What About the Kids?

SitterTree: Dads working from home with a baby during COVID

When Atlanta went #fullQuar, SitterTree pivoted from a date-night babysitting model to booking far more full-time sitters. SitterTree is in the business of equipping families with full-time childcare options.  

Defining Reality

As you’re probably aware, our kids are stuck at home . . . with us. Schools and daycares are closed, as are most gyms and activity centers. 

Our role of provider or home maker has been expanded to include teacher, gym coach, cafeteria lady, and—sadly—classmate. The mental and physical energy required to balance work and home has increased exponentially. 

Some parents have handled these past two months with poise and expertise. You know the ones—the Instagram-friendlies who take their kids on “science hikes” and are still managing a “homework calendar.” 

My wife and I are on the opposite end of that spectrum. We are drowning in the Sea of Quarantine. Limiting our four-year-old’s daily “Frozen/ToyStory/Tumbleleaf” consumption to under two hours is a win. Craft time has been a constant source of fun, but we literally have thousands of “masterpieces” scattered throughout our house.

SitterTree Blog Children's art.
Evidence of said “high artistic output.” I believe this is Olaf, from Frozen.

When it comes to getting work done, I’m grateful my wife tackles the majority of our kids’ needs. At the same time, she is also left asking for a daily miracle—an hour or two of time (and energy) to devote to her part-time work. I know many of you are in the same boat. 

Heading into the summer, many of us will continue working from home. Some of you will be required to head back into the office. Yet, our children still need the same constant home care we’ve managed these past few months. What are we to do?

Hire a sitter.

Expanding Your Circle

Like many Americans, you may be  reluctant to break quarantine. 

Think of hiring a sitter as “expanding your circle.” It’s the first small step towards a post-Covid world. My wife and I have a niece that lives just a few hours north of us. If she weren’t already nannying for a family full-time this summer, we would have gladly welcomed her into our home to help watch our kids. Since that’s not an option, a regular, vetted sitter is the best alternative.  

If you do decide to hire a sitter, here are three quick ways to ensure your “circle” stays closed and safe:

  1. Hire the same sitter.

The best way to keep your “circle’s” diameter small is to hire the same sitter. We have dozens, nay, hundreds of sitters ready to work. If you need help with this, our support team is more than happy to help!

  1. Pay your sitter a higher hourly rate in exchange for exclusivity.

Stating the obvious: babysitting is a job, and babysitters need money to live. 

When Atlanta went #fullQuar, SitterTree pivoted from a date-night babysitting model to booking far more full-time sitters. SitterTree ≠ NannyTree, but we are in the business of equipping families with full-time child care this summer.  

We have recruited and vetted sitters just for this purpose. Our sitters have gone from working 4 hour jobs to 8 hour jobs—with the majority of them working 24-40 hours per week. 

For their own safety, our sitters have indicated that they prefer to work for the same family. If you want to book one of our best sitters on a daily basis, even if just for three hours per day, consider paying a slightly higher hourly rate for the privilege of exclusivity. 

  1. Initiate daily, frank conversations about safety practices.

Before your sitter arrives, spend a few minutes recapping how both your family (safety is a two-way street) and your sitter are adhering to safety measures. If something feels uncomfortable, say so in a patient and judgment-free manner. Better to clear the air than let fear and speculation haunt you. What could be worse than nagging anxiety during a global pandemic?

The SitterTree team is working on ways to help with this communication by adding Personal Safety Practices to every family and sitter profile. We should have an app update for you in the coming days!

Staying Vigilant

Hopefully this goes without saying: follow widely-accepted safety norms. 

  • Wear a face mask when in public
  • Wash your hands regularly (and for a minimum of 20 seconds)
  • Wash hands before/after critical touch points (meal prep, diaper change, sneezing, potty)
  • Practice social distancing
  • Avoid people at high-risk (elderly, immunocompromised)
  • Cancel any job if you are ill and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms—or if you have been in contact with anyone experiencing symptoms

A few bonus tips:

  • Have the sitter remove their shoes when entering your home 
  • Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces in your home
  • Spend as much time playing outside as possible

Alternative Strategies

Paying a sitter for 40 hours isn’t always a possibility. What can you do to recruit the help you need when the funds aren’t readily available?

  1. Consider working fewer hours each day, and spread your work week out by an additional day. Try 4 or 6 hour shifts 6 days per week, and hire a sitter to tag in for you as needed. 
  2. Ask your employer for assistance. Since operations expenses are down (utilities, supplies, rent), see if there are funds in the coffer to offset child care costs or to cover your monthly Sitter Pass. 


There’s no perfect solution for our quarantine woes, but hiring a sitter may just be a right next step.

If you have questions about getting started, myself and the rest of the SitterTree team are here to help you. Let’s do this!

*Through June 2020, Sitter Pass members can book unlimited sitters and nannies for no additional service fees. Don’t have a Sitter Pass? Get one here.

*Sitter Pass must be valid through all booking dates. Sitter Passes are nonrefundable.

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