There are plenty of fun things to do with kids in Amsterdam. However, sometimes it's best to leave the kids behind and have some adult time. I've run into that myself. As an expat living in a country with no family, this means that whenever I need time without my child, I have to hire a babysitter. For anyone else in the same situation, I figured that I would offer up my experiences with a couple of the babysitting agencies in Amsterdam. These are services that I as a mom have personally used.
If you're looking for full-time childcare, then your best bet in Amsterdam is to go with a local "kinderdagverblijf". These daycares are government regulated and there are many around Amsterdam. However if you're looking for part time care, or someone to watch the kids during the occasional date night, then you'll need to find a babysitter. Here are three babysitting services that I have used and my experience with each of them.
Initially when I needed a babysitter I went with Care.com. It's a well known website in the US for finding caregivers for your loved ones. There are certainly pros and cons for going the non-agency route and doing it yourself. I used Care.com in the beginning to find a babysitter because I was familiar with the website, knew they had a good reputation, and didn't mind vetting the potential babysitters myself.
I did find a few good caregivers through Care.com. However, most babysitters in Amsterdam seem to be students. This means that when their school schedule changes, or they want to go on holiday, or any number of things that can occur does occur, you're back at square one having to find and interview new babysitters. Vetting a caregiver is time consuming. In the end, I chose to go the agency route so that I did not have to interview new sitters regularly.
- Website is easy to use
- Many caregivers to choose from
- Labor intensive to interview and find a qualified sitter
- Not good for last minute babysitting needs
- Once your subscription is ended, you lose the ability to log in and see old emails
The Babysitter's Club
The first agency that I signed up with was The Babysitters Club. I was recommended to them by a friend. I like that they have a selection of babysitters that are already pre-screened. That was a time saver. What I came over time to find inadequate was the lack of sitters available, especially if you needed someone next day. This was actually the reason that I had to seek out a new agency. Well, that and I also found their customer service to be lacking.
- Pre screened babysitters
- Website is not user friendly
- Small selection of babysitters
- Must pay babysitter cash
- Yearly membership fee (rather than monthly or per request)
Last, at least for now, in my list of babysitting agencies in Amsterdam is Charly Cares. When I needed a sitter next day and couldn't find anyone through my other agency, I frantically messaged other Amsterdam moms that I knew to see if anyone had a solution. I was recommended by a friend to try out Charly Cares. Somehow when searching for a babysitter in Amsterdam they had never shown up in my searches.
So far I have had mostly positive experiences with this agency. They have a very easy to use website along with an app. There is an abundance of caregivers available and it is clearly labeled who is available short notice, in addition to who is first aid qualified (EHBO) and who has experience with babies. Plus, payments are through your card and deducted electronically. The one time that none of the sitters I chose were available, I received a call within minutes from someone at the agency personally contacting other caregivers to try to find someone for me.
- Large selection of prescreened caregivers
- User friendly website and app
- Electronic Payments instead of Cash
- Babysitters available on short notice (last minute bookings)
- Multiple subscription options
- Fee for each electronic payment made on top of subscription fee (€ 2,99 transaction fees)
While there are many other babysitting agencies in Amsterdam, these are the ones that I have personal experience with. Have you used one of these agencies or a different one? Care to share your experience? I'd love to hear what other Amsterdam moms have experienced.