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Grandma babysitting service offers fresh look on childcare

October 14, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
You need a babysitter, but you're reluctant to hire a young, inexperienced teenager. Instead you want somebody a little older and a little more mature.

Grandmas are back in a big way with a fresh look on childcare, with a new service called Rent-A-Grandma.

"Grandmas have the most experience," said Founder Todd Pliss. "Overall in house care, in taking care of kids, and yes even baking delicious cookies."

The business is for busy parents who need an extra set of experienced hands. Anna Caldwell used Rent-A-Grandma to help with her three children.

"We were in need of someone to help out around the house and help me out, I had about 100 things going at that point," said Caldwell.

If you hear the word "grandma" and think that maybe she wouldn't be able to handle your kids, think again- these grandmas won't be sitting in a rocking chair.

"The first time I looked at her, I was like you're a grandma?" said Caldwell of Jane Mertes, fondly known as "Grandma Jane."

"I wakeboard, I paint, I know calligraphy and I can even get the kids ready for college, I know how to play hacky sack," said Mertes.

Having raised two kids of her own, Mertes has a head start over her younger competition.

"I'm not opposed to using teenaged sitters I think that's just fine," said Caldwell. "But with the added confidence with an experienced person has very likely raised their own kids just kind of gives you added confidence."

The business began one year ago and now can be found all over the country. Background checks and interviews are done on all employees.

"We have a company that does full background screenings- criminal, sexual offense database and all that," said Pliss.

The average price to rent a grandma is about $15 an hour, and the grandma often becomes more like family.

"Maybe grandma lives halfway across the country, so it's kind of nice for me to be here and kind of fill that role," said Mertes.

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