The Basics of On-Site Babysitting

Resorts with babysitting services help parents get a vacation, too By: Chelsee Lowe
Most resort nannies are highly qualified and have hours of childcare experience. // © 2014 Thinkstock/Antonio_Diaz
Most resort nannies are highly qualified and have hours of childcare experience. // © 2014 Thinkstock/Antonio_Diaz

Web Exclusive

Are your clients taking kids out of school to travel? Here is some advice.

It may seem counterintuitive, but most parents long for a break from the kids even when they are on a dream vacation. Thanks to the proliferation of kids’ clubs, daytime programming and in-room babysitting at resorts across the globe, a quiet dinner or a sunset cruise for two is easily attainable. For moms and dads new to using on-site childcare services, the following are key details and advice to help make that escape as easy as possible.

Qualified Personnel
In order to enjoy any romantic excursion, it’s crucial for parents to know that their children are safe and happy despite the absence of Mom and Dad. To help alleviate parents’ concerns, Beaches Resorts only hires nannies who have extensive experience.

“All of our nannies are certified by the International Nanny Association (INA), America’s oldest and largest in-home childcare industry association,” said Joel Ryan, group director of family fun for Beaches Resorts. “To become certified, each nanny meets a minimum requirement of 1,500 hours of childcare service. Additionally, our nannies have been trained in safety, nutrition and child development.”

The INA isn’t the only barometer when it comes to finding qualified childcare providers. For Daniela Orellana, director of sales for Singular Hotels in Chile, local educators are a great resource, as their school training and classroom experience lends them plenty of skills and strategies to work with children on property.

At Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii, babysitters are hired through a recognized third party.

“In-room babysitting service at Aulani is provided by Kamaaina Kids, a private, non-profit company,” said Elliot Mills, vice president of Aulani. “We went through an extensive search for the right organization that would help continue the safe, quality service our guests have come to expect from Aulani and Disney.”

Because resorts select childcare professionals differently, parents should find a property or brand that hires service providers based on qualifications they are comfortable with.

Preparing the Kids
Being left alone with an unfamiliar face can be frightening for young travelers, but parents can help ease the transition with different strategies. Parents might request that their future babysitter visit the room earlier in the day, allowing a child to have time to interact with his or her sitter long before the parents leave. Orellana recommends that parents show their children exactly where they are going, if the destination is an on-site spa or restaurant, for example.

Mills agrees that scheduling a face-to-face meeting before the babysitting session begins can be helpful — even if it’s just minutes before.

“Spending some time with the kids and the sitter upon arrival can be well worth the investment if it helps avoid an unhappy child later,” Mills said.

Fun for All
No matter the resort, childcare providers are armed with an array of age-appropriate entertainment ideas, such as board games, books and movies. Some childcare providers are free to play with children in other resort areas, given parental permission. At Beaches Resorts, babysitters might lead children in a game of beach soccer or assist with building a sand castle. At Aulani, kids can play at the beach or visit Aunty’s Beach House, a state-of-the-art kids’ club for guests ages 3 to 12.

Leaving a child with a resort babysitter can be scary at first, but the process does get easier with practice. Plus, it’s not just Mom and Dad who reap the benefits of a night away — rejuvenated parents make happier parents, and that’s a bonus for the kids.

>