Dear Nightcare on Elm Street,
Nightcare centers set up for occasional or drop-off service sound liberating, but we can’t say we’ve heard too much about it except in our dreams. It’s true that some daycares have started to include late-night hours, though it’s more likely in response to demands of extreme work schedules than parental bar jonesing. Family daycare may be more likely to offer flexible or late schedules. But these evening arrangements are likely to be part of an ongoing childcare set-up, not a drive-by, drop-off scenario. Sometimes organizations like the YMCA or other community centers provide drop-off care for members on occasional or regular evenings. Family-friendly resorts also often provide this service, but a thousand miles is a long way to go for a night out.
As appealing as it seems, there may be a reason the drop-off option’s not more common. Babies like to feel some connection to the person/place and crib they’re with, and plopping them in new digs may not make them very happy. You’ll also want to consider having to schlep the baby home after a night out. She might wake up. It could be cold. There may be multiple means of transport involved.
What about a regular old babysitter? This way you can leave your baby in a familiar environment and come home without hassles. If you want some predictability (and want to avoid wondering if you can get a sitter every time you have the urge to make a restaurant reservation) you can set up regular “date nights,” with one sitter. This arrangement has done wonders for many parents’ social lives . . . though probably not much for TV ratings.
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