With our calm beaches and kid-friendly attractions (like the new elephant exhibit at the Honolulu Zoo!), Hawaiʻi is the perfect family vacation getaway. Parents, however, can always use a little getaway for themselves, finding it difficult to have those much needed date nights when on vacation. Here's some good news…Sound the trumpets…Aloha Sitters is here to help!
Aloha Sitters offers hotel sitting services on O‘ahu. Kids stay inside or travel out and about the island.
Aloha Sitters is geared toward visiting families. It's an offshoot of KeikiSitters, a babysitting company that was started in 2007 by Kathy Custer. It all began when Kathy posted an ad on craigslist offering her services as a babysitter and was overwhelmed with responses by families desperate for childcare services in Hawai‘i. She then decided to begin her own childcare business. Nine months later, her website, www.keikisitters.com, was born. KeikiSitters was an outlet for sitters to advertise their services so that families could conveniently contact them.
After a few months, Kathy was contacted by a hotel desperate for sitters and was asked if KeikiSitters could begin servicing their establishment. The sitters were so good, that concierges started talking and that one hotel snowballed into nearly 100 hotels. Now, a quarter of these hotels – from the new Disney Aulani to multiple Waikīkī hotels to those branching out to vacation rentals – use Aloha Sitters almost daily. Aloha Sitters is proud to have 35 of the company’s best-of-the-best sitters on-call (myself humbly included!) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In 2011 alone, Aloha Sitters serviced 797 vacationing families!
Kathy Custer shares some Aloha with visiting families and parents needing time for that romantic beach walk.
“While on vacation, parents don’t have time to interview a new sitter," Kathy said. "They are in a foreign place and are looking for someone responsible to take care of their most precious possession. This is where we come in.”
Potential sitters go through a rigorous interview process. They are required to have a background check, at least five years of childcare experience, a children-related bachelors degree and be CPR/First-Aid certified. Kathy also looks for energetic sitters with bubbly, upbeat personalities and must be comfortable in the water since many take kids swimming in pools and the ocean. Once accepted into the company, sitters post a bio and picture on Aloha Sittersʻ website for parents to peruse.
Upon arriving to the hotel, sitters bring stimulating games, crafts and toys to keep children entertained and happy during the time they are cared for. They can also take children (with the parents' permission) on various excursions outside of the hotel. I recently babysat a three-year-old for 10 days, who I took everywhere – from the North Shore beaches to the Honolulu Zoo. I also took her to see Christmas exhibits, multiple playgrounds and more! Children will not only be lovingly and responsibly cared for but have an enriching and adventurous experience in a new place. Sometimes the kids get to see more of Hawaiʻi than their parents do!
We had fun visiting the Honolulu Zoo and seeing the Christmas wreath display.
I highly recommend Aloha Sitters, and not just because I work there! Kathy Custer runs a top-notch company that has both the children’s and parents' needs constantly in mind. She and her sitters provide a nurturing, fun-filled experience for children while giving parents time for those long romantic walks on the beach, and in turn, giving both parents and children tropical memories to last a lifetime.
ALOHA SITTERS / www.alohasitters.com / 808-861-7294 / Services available on O‘ahu 24hrs a day, 7 days a week
Photo Credit (second photo): Aloha Sitters
Editor's Note: This is Serena's first post as a regular contributor to the blog. You may read her bio to learn more about her!
January 4th, 2012