Parents are hiring babysitters to act as 'hangover childcare'

Caroline Allen
Contributor
Babysitting following festive celebrations is up 500%. [Photo: Getty]

Requests for babysitters following festive celebrations is up by 500% this year, compared to 2018, as parents pre-empt hangovers.

Childcare.co.uk surveyed over 2,000 of its members to uncover the growing trend in which a third of parents admitted they “aren’t good parents” while hungover.

This year, almost 1,800 parents have already booked their slot for a babysitter in December and early January thanks to the impending parties.

The key dates parents are seeking some reprieve from include 20 December, the day after Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

READ MORE: How much is too much to spend on children at Christmas?

20 December, which is also known as “frantic Friday” is renowned for being one of the busiest before Christmas.

Whether that’s recovering from Thursday night parties or just simply having hundreds of jobs to do before shops shut up for the bank holidays.

Some 85% of parents surveyed admitted they would look for hangover childcare, with 53% saying that it’d help them recover quicker.

READ MORE: How to avoid spoiling kids this Christmas - without being the grinch

Not everybody is sold on the idea, though.

One mum shared her thoughts on Twitter: “I’d feel guilty that I’d been away for the night so I’d want to see them that day. I’d really miss them if I was away for the night then recovering the next day.”

It’s a good point. We only have to look Shay Mitchell’s recent experience of Instagram shaming to appreciate the pressure put on parents and the ensuing guilt they might feel as a result.

“No way! I wouldn’t go on a big night so I could be on form the next day with my children. Mum guilt would kick in otherwise,’ another mum agreed.

Senior therapist, Sally Baker, sheds some light on the reason there has been such a big increase in parents seeking babysitters for hangovers: “Marketing predictions for this Christmas are that alcohol consumption will be at an all time high. Alcohol is cheaper to buy than it was previously and people are exhausted and stressed by Brexit uncertainty on top of seasonal pressure.”

“Parents organising hangover childcare for the holiday are being responsible in many ways. They are acknowledging the choices they make and putting structure in place to deal with the consequences.”

“Along with a rise in alcohol consumption at Christmas there’s also an increase in arguments and domestic abuse. Anything that protects children from those scenarios has to be lauded.”

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Last year, a US report looked into whether or not parents would consider childcare when hungover. It found that a quarter of parents wouldn’t consider hungover childcare, even though 1 in 12 admitted to being too affected by alcohol to carry out their usual parental duties the next day.

“A parent passed out on the couch will not be effective in recognising and reacting to the everyday safety risks that occur with children.” Sarah Clark, an associate research scientist at the University of Michigan Medical School, who conducted the research, warned.

Thankfully, there are ways to still enjoy your night and avoid the dreaded hangover the next day.

The NHS recommends eating carbohydrates before a night of drinking for optimal results.

Another top tip is to drink a glass of water after every drink. It might come as a surprise that one of the biggest reasons we wake up with a hangover the following day is actually due to dehydration.

It’s also worth noting that fizzy drinks only speed up your body’s absorption of alcohol, so if you want to stay hangover-free, it’s best to avoid them.

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