Ultimate Free Babysitting Idea For Expats


Do you remember what a date felt like? The dark night, loud music, dress-up clothes, and slightly overpriced food that tastes so good because someone else made it and has to clean the dishes. Or maybe it’s a movie that isn’t G or PG-rated or a concert of your favorite band because their music makes you feel alive. Has it been months? Years? How long has it been since your last night out with your partner?

My parent friends and I were lamenting the lack of good babysitting services in our town and weeping at the exorbitant costs for someone to watch TV for a few hours and make sure the house doesn’t burn down. What we wouldn’t give for a few stolen hours away. We weren’t asking for much.

Then it hit me.

This idea will work for anyone who doesn’t have free babysitters family around to watch their kids. The only thing it’ll cost you is time.


However, like any delicious cake, you’re going to need some ingredients:

  1. Your kids need to be consistent sleepers for 3-6 hours while you are away
  2. You need friends who also have kids who are consistent sleepers
  3. A burst of energy after your kid’s bedtime
  4. That’s it!


For some of you, the “need friends” requirement might be a stretch, but trust me, this will work even if you have a casual acquaintanceship. I mean, how well do you know Susie the Babysitter anyway? For others, the burst of energy after bedtime will be rough so drink an extra cup of coffee and dust off your date night shoes!

Here’s how it works:

  • You put your kid(s) to sleep at the usual bedtime, if not a bit earlier. Your kid(s) will never suspect a thing.
  • Your fellow parent-friend-in-arms will show up at your house (knocking softly at your door), and you’ll pass him/her the WiFi code and give a wink and a nod as you and your partner head out on the town for a short date night.
  • Your parent friend babysits the sleeping house, watches Netflix, and makes sure the place doesn’t burn down.
  • You and your partner return home at a set time that is reasonable (I’ll explain why this is important in a minute), and your parent friend goes home.
  • Next weekend (or whenever it works for you both), you or your partner (you choose) will head over to your friend’s house and provide them the same service while they go out on their date.

I just changed your life, didn’t I?

Now, the reason why you want to be respectful of this situation is because this arrangement only works as long as it is mutually beneficial. The moment one of you stays out too late or abuses the situation in any way, it’ll all fall apart, and you can say goodbye to this genius free babysitting arrangement.

So be a good friend and be considerate. (This person is watching your kids after all.)

The only potential danger is that your kid(s) flub the whole thing up for you by waking up or looking for you. This could cause a major meltdown on all sides, so child(ren), don’t mess this up!

Your task, should you choose to accept it: Find a friend with whom you can swap babysitting services and go on a date with your spouse. Chances are pretty good that you both need some quality time together and strong partnerships make for happier families.

No more excuses, “Oh, but I don’t have any family nearby to watch for free and babysitters are so expensive.” Get to it! This is an idea that will revolutionize your life.

Thoughts? Would you try this with one of your parent friends? I think it’s a brilliant idea!


Ultimate Guide To Free Babysitting Idea | Knocked Up Abroad
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  • Margaret Howland

    It is a good idea, for any couple anywhere, but especially of you don’t have family around. I used it a fair amount when our children were young. Some of my friends joined the coop babysitting group…couples signed up and agreed to donate say 10 hours. That meant you had 10 coming. So if you had something like a wedding, longer than the two hrs or so you have mentioned, you could still go. Of course, there were inevitably children you preferred, or your children preferred, but generally it worked. That required someone to keep the books, so not as simple as trading with a friend. But either way is a great idea!

    • Ooh an hour share—that sounds like a good idea. My idea is really to provide the least burden on the babysitter involved (since it’s free and all) because we all know that babysitting kids while they are awake is a lot more work!

  • What a great idea for people who don’t use babysitters regularly or find them difficult to track down. We just use a paid babysitter as we can stay out as long as we need to (we are out a lot for work, sometimes 3-4 times a week). Our children have never minded being babysat anyway so that is not a problem.

    In the UK they have a web based sitting service you can subscribe to. You pay a set amount a year for membership, a booking fee per booking and then pay the babysitter market rate. You get allocated one of he sitters registered to your area. All have police checks and childcare qualifications so actually look after the children better than we do! As you get to know them you can rank them as favourites or never agains. A lot of the sitters we used became firm friends. I toyed with setting up something like that with a local friend in a different posting but everyone there just used their maids or TAs from their children’s school so there was no market. It is a fantastic business model though.

    • It’s great that you have a regular babysitter! There are nanny services in Sweden and they are so expensive! I don’t need a CPR-certified trained individual to watch my kids sleep…I just need a warm body. We hope to put this to the test soon!

  • Stacy

    I definitely did babysitting swaps with friends when our kids were little and not amenable to having a stranger put them to bed. However I did work as a nanny for 10 years and you definitely ALWAYS want to have your kid meet the babysitter and tell them that mommy and daddy will go and the babysitter will be there. Even the best sleepers occasionally wake and are often TERRIFIED of a stranger being in the house (sometimes even if they were introduced/prepared first, because they are confused). With a baby, you just need to introduce them, and have them stick around for the bedtime. With older kids you need to have them there and explain who they are. You don’t want a call at 11 because your child is hysterical 😉

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