Seminole Sitters takes childcare online to help relieve parents

Local service helping kids, families rebound
Posted at 6:27 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 18:27:53-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Rebound Tallahassee is helping you make ends meet and manage the pressure of parenting.

A local babysitting service is continuing that mission by keeping kids company for as long as it's needed, comforting kids amid this crisis and giving parents peace of mind.

Kids are getting lonely and they miss their friends. But an innovative service is helping children and families rebound from the COVID-19 crisis.

"Most of our babysitters are now providing video chats," said Mary Mangan Bouchard, the owner of Seminole Sitters.

Mary Mangan Bouchard started Seminole Sitters back in 2007. Then, COVID-19 hit.

When the coronavirus pandemic began, Bouchard says her business starting seeing more cancellations than new bookings. Then, she had the idea to take her business online.

"It's certainly not like anything I anticipated," said Bouchard.

Taking child care online is keeping Seminole Sitters employed and helping relieve the pressure for parents across the Big Bend, like Elizabeth Brannen.

"It's really brought a lot of joy to our household," Brannen said.

Brannen is juggling being an attorney and mom while being shut out from everything familiar.

"It's wonderful," Brannen said of Seminole Sitters. "He has his little tablet with someone he can talk to and they'll talk back."

Virtual sitters help parents get a bit of a "time out" to focus on other tasks at home.

"Having that person to person interaction with, someone who will listen to their stories and ask questions and facilitate fun play has been really meaningful to a lot of them, I think," said Bouchard. "And to the sitters too."

Getting set up with a Seminole Sitter via video chat takes about a day. They like to meet you virtually and go over some questions about your child first.

For more information about Seminole Sitters, click here.

Other things to keep in mind if you can't get a virtual sitter:

  • Don't forget positive praise for your kids when you notice something right
  • Plan ahead for your kids so they're not surprised by changes in routines
  • And be as generous as you can with affection. Often something like an extra hug or hand holding can help your kids manage their emotions during stressful times

For more information about parenting during a pandemic, click here.