By Richelle Putnam
Photos by Divian Connor
Jessica Cunningham has been babysitting most of her life. Her mom ran a daycare in their home until Jessica was 10. At 13, she was out babysitting on her own.
And she never stopped.
“About five or six years ago I was babysitting for a lot of people in town,” said Jessica. “People were trying to reserve me for football games three months in advance. There was this huge need for babysitters.”
That made Jessica wonder…what if a business supplied reliable babysitters to game goers so parents could enjoy the game and the kids could what kids do…play?
“I decided, by golly, I’m just going to do it.”
And she did.
Jessica comes to the babysitting business table with more than past babysitting experience. For 10 years, she has worked as an assistant teacher in the preschool for special needs children at the T. K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability on the Mississippi State campus. She has a Bachelors in Arts & Sciences with a Special Ed in Psychology concentration. She is currently pursuing Dyslexia certification.
“Luckily, because I work on campus, I know college age girls looking for babysitting jobs,” she said. “And I have clients who need babysitters.”
Game Day nannies are background checked and CPR certified. Nannies don’t have to be college students, but must be 16 and older. Those chosen within the 16 to 18 age range are highly experienced and recommended.
“When I hire someone under the age of 18, they have to be the exception to the rule,” said Jessica.
During daytime games, many parents want their kids with them, so the nannies hang out and play with the kids at the tailgate, making sure they stay within a safe, confined area.
“I’ll go out that day and meet the client, because meeting face to face helps build trust between me and my clients,” said Jessica. For night games, most clients usually want the sitter to come to where the family is staying overnight. The nannies come wherever your kids are going to be, “but I don’t allow my nannies to drive the kids.”
Game Day Nanny caters to any large MSU event, so concentrated advertising efforts remain mostly on football games, the most productive time of the year.
“Nannies can be reserved for basketball game finals, baseball game finals,” said Jessica. “What kid doesn’t love having someone devote all their attention just to them and play whatever games they want?”
Parents usually stick with their Game Day nanny because the parents and the kids get to know and trust that particular nanny. Plus, parents don’t have to keep repeating the same routine schedule, contact information, and special directions.
“One family has had the same nanny for three years. She’s the only one that they want and she’s pretty much their nanny.”
Jessica stays in constant communication with the nannies and calls them the next day to make sure everything went smoothly and was handled appropriately.
“I’ll also touch base with the client to see how they liked the nanny. Everyone has my phone number and I purposely stay available on game day in case a nanny gets sick last minute, or the client cancels last minute, or if something happens. I can show up at any time and help with any situation that may arise.”
Game Day Nanny is qualified to handle special needs kids. Most of the college-age girls have experience with special needs and are pursuing a degree in a related field, explained Jessica.
“This is not a call up somebody and get a random sitter. These well-qualified girls are put through the process to be sure they are safe and reliable. We are here to provide that to our clients.”
Contact Game Day Nanny through their Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
RATES – $15 an hour for up to two children; three and up goes to $5 per child. For two families in the same location, a second nanny is a flat fee of $50. Books up to two weeks in advance. Accepts cash and PayPal.