Why I'd Let My Parents Babysit My Kid -- Over FaceTime

kid with tablet

When I first heard about how parents were using FaceTime to babysit their kids, I wasn't surprised to hear controversy was following them. Granted, we're not talking about moms leaving their kid home alone with just grandma on a tablet for company. Typically, Mom is in the next room or nearby, scrambling to cook dinner or return a few emails.


And I've heard about all the arguments against these "virtual babysitters": that it's not safe, even if you're nearby. That it's little better than sitting the baby in front of a TV. That it's overstimulating the baby, when you should let him sit there and figure out how to entertain himself.

Well, you know what I say to all these naysayers?

Give mom a break from the guilt trips and let the kid FaceTime with Grandma already.

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My parents, sadly, aren't very tech-savvy, so they don't have FaceTime. But I really, really wish they did.

In a perfect world, we'd all still live near family members who'd be happy to watch our kids on occasion. But the sad fact is, many of us don't have the luxury of family nearby; mine all live hundreds of miles away. And that means that every time I need a break, I have to cough up a huge wad of cash for a babysitter to watch my 4-year-old daughter, which I -- like many moms -- can rarely afford to do. Seriously, have you seen the going rate for a babysitter lately? A new study says the price has jumped 28 percent since 2009 to an average of $13.50 per hour. Ouch.

What's more, my family members are all dying to spend more time with my daughter, too, without coughing up hundreds on plane tickets. So, letting them "virtually" babysit via FaceTime is really a win-win scenario for all involved, including the kids. My daughter, for instance, constantly asks to see her relatives more often, and a phone without visuals doesn't interest her. But with FaceTime, my daughter could actually exchange funny faces with Grandpa, or show her aunt Debby the fairy castle she's built. To me, no matter how you look at it, that's quality time.

Of course, if no one would even question this picture if Grandma were physically there, hanging out with her grandkids while mom's doing the laundry or chipping away at launching a business out of her own. Give a mom ten minutes, and she will amaze you with what she can get done.

As for worries that leaving kids unattended in a room can be dangerous, I think these fears are overblown. Grandma may not be right there, but she's not exactly helpless, either. If your kid starts fiddling with the steak knives or the stove, she can administer a stern "no!", or yell for the mom (who should remain in earshot), or even call the mom on a separate line.

Fine, so it would of course be a little bit better if our kids could be playing with family face-to-face rather than through a screen. But unless I win the lottery, that's just not going to happen. Nor is it fair to criticize moms for taking this "easy" way out. Honestly, got any better ideas, folks? If so, I'm all ears. Until then, I, for one, will call FaceTime a brilliant stopgap measure that moms shouldn't feel bad about using when the need arises.

How do you feel about letting FaceTime babysit your kids?


Image via Champion studio/shutterstock

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