EARLY YEARS: Bambino Babysitting Roanoke offers parents a qualified sitter on an app
Sometimes parents just need a night away.
But if you don't have family close by, or an established babysitter, that can be challenging.
Now there's an app for that.
Barrie Ely recently became the community coordinator for the new app, Bambino Babysitting Roanoke.
" I am a mom of two little ones, as well, and we don't have family in the area."
Ely's not the only one.
The wheels really started turning when a friend mentioned the babysitter app that's been around in other cities for the past three years.
" And a friend of hers commented that where she lives they have this app called Bambino where they can find babysitters who are close to them.And I was like, Oh my gosh! I need that! Do we have that here?"
Simply put, it's a bit like Uber.
Instead of ordering a ride, parents can order a sitter.
You just download the app and create a profile.
" It's pretty easy. It just asks you, like what your kids' names are and their age. You'll put in the dates and the times that you're looking for, and if it's a recurring thing, you can put in multiple dates at one time.
Bambino Babysitting Roanoke has about 35 active sitters, with a range of age and experience.
And the app works to make sure sitters are qualified and safe.
"They verify like that it's a real phone number that they're using and they run the name through a couple of different systems," says Ely.
After sitter has five "sits," through the app, they can elect to have a more thorough background check at no cost.
If they don't pass it, they get booted from the app.
Parents also use the app to pay, and can chat with sitters ahead of time.
Now I'm just doing whatever I can to get the word out to parents that this is a resource, that there are babysitters waiting to help you."
There also safety advantages for sitters on the app.
"So, they can look and do some research on the neighborhoods. So, if they don't feel comfortable going to that neighborhood, they can decline it," Ely says.
Parents and sitters rate each other on the app.
Ely says as the community coordinator, she's available to resolve any issue.
"That's part of my job as the coordinator is to make sure that the parents are able to feel comfortable about the sitters and the sitters are able to feel comfortable about the parents that they're using."
You can sign up to get a sitter, or to become a sitter on the Bambino Babysitting Roanoke Facebook page.