Afterhours Childcare or Overnight Babysitting: Which is Better?

Blog Image for article Afterhours Childcare or Overnight Babysitting: Which is Better?

As a parent, you deserve a bit of time off from the kids every once in a while. And what better way to indulge in a little kid-free time than heading out for date night or even a night away? While going out for the evening might not be as simple as it once was before you had children, it can be even more rewarding to indulge in some special time with just you and your partner.

With that in mind, there are a few more things to consider in the lead-up to an evening off from the kidsā€¦ most importantly, who will actually take care of your little ones while you're out?

There are a number of childcare options available to parents, but when it comes to a night off without the kids, which is better - childcare services, overnight babysitters or something different altogether? We're here to discuss the different childcare choices so you can find the best option for you and your family the next time you need an evening off.


What childcare options are available?

When it comes to childcare, there are a number of different options to choose from. But these choices tend to become a little more limited when you're after a provider that offers evening childcare or even overnight babysitting service.

Family day care 

Family daycare providers offer high-quality early childhood education and care services for a limited number of children within the comfort of their own homes. Family daycare educators are often able to provide a much more flexible service that can be tailored to different families' needs. Because of this, they're also able to provide flexible full-time, part-time, outside school hours, evening, overnight or weekend care depending on the availability of the educator. 

Due to the flexibility offered by family day care providers, if your children already attend a family day care service it could be a great option if you're looking for after-hours or overnight care for your little one. But remember, family daycare services operate out of the educator's home, so you'd have to factor in dropping off and picking up your child from their place of residence. You'd also need to check in with the family daycare educator to see if this is a service they offer.

If you're interested in learning more about family day care have a read of our overview of family day care article to get a better feel for the service and whether or not it could suit your family.  

Long day care

Long day care services, also known as childcare centres, provide early childhood education and care for children in purpose-built facilities. Long daycare centres are often able to accommodate a large number of children from birth through to 12 years of age. Some even offer prepared meals and snacks for the children throughout the day, which can be a huge bonus for busy working parents.

While most long daycare centres provide all-day or part-time care for children during normal business hours, some centres offer extended hours of care. While this mainly caters for families who work non-standard hours, depending on the centre's hours of operation it could work well if you're in need of an evening off. With this in mind, all long daycare centres are different, so it's worth consulting with the centre itself to see whether they can take your little one for the evening. Much like family day care, long day care centres operate out of a dedicated facility, so you would need to get your little one to and from the centre.


If you prefer the idea of your littlies staying home and sleeping in their own bed then a babysitter could be the best option for you. A babysitter is essentially just someone who is paid to look after your kids in the comfort of their own home. While professional babysitters operate through an agency (in which you have to pay via an agency booking fee), it's not uncommon for local teenagers and young adults to offer babysitting services too.

Babysitters may look after your children on a regular basis or they might just provide ad hoc care on those occasions when you're in need of a watchful eye such as supporting parents on busy days or looking out for children over the school holidays. If it's your first time using a babysitter, check out our babysitter checklist to help you choose and prepare for a babysitter. It's important to make sure both you and your children are comfortable with this person before leaving them in the babysitter's care.

If your child usually attends a childcare centre, it could be worth asking there for any babysitter recommendations. You might just find that one of the early childhood educators offers casual babysitting services after hours or weekend childcare. Otherwise, there's a good chance that one of the other childcare parents has a recommendation or two for babysitters in the area that can provide daytime or overnight babysitting. Alternatively, you can use the Care for Kids babysitter search tool to find a sitter in your local area. 

Nannies and au pairs

Nannies and au pairs can be a great option for working families that have the space to accommodate a full-time, live-in carer. While some nannies may hold relevant child care qualifications and training, they're often experienced in providing child care services. There are a number of different nanny arrangements, including live-in nannies, live-out nannies and nanny sharing between families. 

Au pairs are often foreign nationals that live in the family home and provide child care services and household duties in return for a small allowance. They don't always have child care experience but they should enjoy working with children. 

For many families, hosting a live-in nanny or au pair isn't an option due to financial and space constraints. 

If you're lucky enough to live near close family members or grandparents, there's a good chance they'd be happy to look after your child, instead of hiring a casual nanny, so you can enjoy a night off every once in a while. Not only does childcare provided by a family member offer a great opportunity to build closer relationships with the children but it can also help you to save a few dollars on childcare costs that could be better spent on a nice meal out. Plus, it can also be reassuring for children and parents alike to know that they're in the care of a trusted family member.

Tips for finding the best childcare option

When it comes to finding someone to keep an eye on your little ones while you're enjoying a night off, babysitters are usually a crowd favourite. Providing in-home care on a regular or as-needed basis on evenings and weekends means that babysitters are a great fit when you're looking to squeeze in a date night. But that doesn't mean that other childcare options should be overlooked. If your child attends a childcare centre or family daycare, it's always worth checking in with them to see if they offer after-hours or evening care for the odd night out. You never know, your child's favourite early childhood educator might just be offering casual babysitting services so they can enjoy a familiar face in their own home! 

If you're on the hunt for the best child care options in your area use the Care for Kids childcare search tool to compare and connect with local service providers. Search for all different types of care, including child care centres, babysitters, nannies and other in-home care options. Care for Kids also provides you with resources and tools to help you understand everything you need to know about childcare, including childcare costs and child care subsidy.

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