Virtual babysitters are seeing a sharp increase in demand during the coronavirus outbreak, and they can reportedly make up to $48 per hour

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Babysitting looks a lot different these days. As the impact of the coronavirus continues to seep into every aspect of life, the babysitting industry is beginning to be redefined.

Now, using FaceTime, Zoom, and other methods of video calling, babysitters are finding new-fangled ways to entertain, teach, and play with kids despite the inability to have in-person contact, according to a report by The Washington Post.

Unlike previous iterations of babysitting, virtual babysitters are not taking over the role of supervising children, rather they are engaging with kids via digital means to help them learn and play, but most of all, to give parents a bit of reprieve.

During the pandemic, parents have been cooped up indoors with their children for weeks. With virtual babysitting, parents are still in the house with their children – usually a few feet or rooms away – making work calls, cleaning the kitchen, or simply taking a moment to breathe, while the babysitter engages their child in a host of activities from yoga to reading books,The Washington Post reported.

“If both parents have Zoom meetings at the same time that they can’t get out of, a virtual sitting is a wonderful option,” Elizabeth Harz, CEO of Sittercity, an online site that connects parents with sitters, told Forbes. “The sessions can be used to assist kids with schoolwork, facilitate interactive games or simply keep them occupied for a shorter spell than a face to face sitting.”

The virtual babysitting industry saw a 700% increase in demand between mid-March to Mid-April, according to Forbes. That’s why various companies are starting to market their digital services and train babysitters how to engage children on video calls.

Some of the foremost companies that connect parents with virtual babysitters include the Babysitting Company, Care.com, and Minutes 4 Mums, according to PopSugar.

Sitters on theses sites can make as much as $US36 per 45-minute video session, according to The Washington Post. That comes out to $US48 per hour.

While virtual babysitting is gaining popularity, experts like Rachel Charlupski, founder of the Babysitting Company, try to bring parents realistic expectations for the sessions and encourages limiting calls to an hour.

“If you would have told me this is something we’d be offering, I’d never have believed it.” Charlupski told The Washington Post. “It’s such a personal-contact-based profession.”

But for parents, sitters, and children, the service provides a change of pace during the pandemic lifestyle, giving kids and their sitters a friendly new face to visit with, and potentially providing parents a few moments to regroup, get work done, or take some time for self care.

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