When searching for a babysitter, the goal is to find someone who will make your kids happy, be responsible and safe, and won’t steal your shit or set your house on fire. This can be accomplished by hiring the 14-year-old across the street to chase your kids for two hours and leave with $20. But some New York City parents are paying a luxury babysitting service up to $33 an hour for an “art sitter” who will immerse their child in the art form of their choice and then provide parents with a report card at the end of the night.
Luxury babysitting services, a phrase I would like to slap across the face with an open palm, have started to crop up everywhere. Sitter Studio, which has offices in New York and Chicago, charges more than twice what the average babysitter does in New York City – the city that already has the most expensive babysitters in the country. CNN did the math for us and estimated that a family with one child would pay about $120 for an evening out.
$120. For a babysitter.
So what do you get for your money? Hang on to your britches, folks. Sitter Studios specializes in arts-based childcare. That means that if your kid loves her ballet lessons, you can hire an honest-to-God ballerina to come babysit and dance with her. These folks are not fucking around. Here is what they say on their website:
Sitters Studio® was founded in 2006 with the idea that arts matter. We believe it is important to support the artists of today and share art with the next generation. While most of the children we care for will not choose the life of an artist, it is this connection to the arts in youth that will prepare them for productive adult lives.
They also guarantee the sitter will show up 10 minutes early, will abide by a no-TV policy, and will show up with art projects for your kid.
Now, I love the arts. I think art and music should be part of every child’s school day. But just because my child acts in school musicals doesn’t mean I need a Broadway actress to come sing “Doe, a Deer” with her for $33 an hour. Whatever happened to having a no expectations babysitter? What happened to having a kid in the neighborhood who has more energy than you do come scream and play with your kid — not teach them art theory, but play with them? It’s wonderful to want to nurture a child’s passion, but at some point maybe you’re investing too much.
When your babysitter is expected to provide you with, “…a ‘Sitter Scoop’ report card outlining everything from the last diaper change to how drawing a three-piece series in crayon helped with your 2-year old’s fine motor skills,” I think maybe you’ve gone over the edge, my friend.
At some point, it’s possible that your child will decide that they hate playing the flute. Imagine how they’ll feel about telling you that after you’ve spent all this money in a babysitter who plays flute with the philharmonic? Date night should mean time off for everybody. The parents get some time away from the kids, and the kids get some time to eat Cheetos and play hide and seek for three hours with someone who is not their parent.
Oh and P.S., you can also hire an art sitter for your infant.
It is never too early to reap the benefits of art. Our “infant specialists” Artsitters™ have a minimum of 5 years childcare experience with babies and are ready to change diapers while singing.
Stop it, people. Just stop it.