Demand grows for virtual babysitters as parents stuck at home need break from kids

As entire families cram inside their homes during the coronavirus pandemic, many parents are now desperate for a little solo time for work -- or their sanities.

That's why a new business, virtual babysitting, is growing in popularity.

Seeing the increased need for help with childcare, Kyle Reilly and Kristina Hanford launched Virtual Babysitters Club, combining their skills from the business and performing arts worlds.

The web-based service connects out-of-work performers with parents of young children who are working from home, according to its website. Each professional performer has been chosen to entertain children remotely with activities including group parties, magic and puppet shows, improv games, dance parties, sing-a-longs, storytelling, trivia competitions, homework help and much more.

"I think these people are really incredible," Hanford said.

"They're crazy talented, and they're all good with kids, because if you know any performer or actor in New York, it's almost a rite of passage to be a nanny or babysitter," Reilly added.

Virtual Babysitters Club is one of the latest companies going digital to meet the demand for families who don't have enough hours in the day to do it all.

"Families are just inundated with tons of new responsibilities and overwhelmed with life in this time. Between full-time jobs and schools and daycares closed, precuring food, cooking, dishes that never end, it just goes on and on," said Elizabeth Harz, CEO of Sittercity.

Sittercity and Virtual Babysitters Club said they offer the same safety checks parents expect from in-person babysitters.

Both companies anticipate services to extend past the COVID-19 crisis, providing new opportunities for many and new options for parents.

"We think that moving into the future, it's this new type of interactive entertainment that's going to be prevalent," Reilly said.

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