On May 22, 2001, a new era of how parents find child care for their family began. Sittercity opened its online doors allowing child care professionals and parents to connect in a new way. So much has evolved since then—let’s take a look back on the past 20 years of parenting and child care.

Millennials Became Parents

graph showing total cumulative number of U.S. first births among women born 1981 to 1996The Millennial generation is generally accepted as born between the years of 1981 and 1996. This means that the oldest members were just about to enter their 20s when Sittercity began. By 2016, 17.3 million total Millennials became mothers for the first time, making them 82% of the birthing parents by that time.

The Age of First-Time Parents is Going Up

The average age of first-time mothers in America is up to 26, while for fathers, it’s increased to 31. For comparison, in 2016 48% of Millennial women (ages 20 to 35 at the time) were moms. But in 2000, when women from Gen X (born 1965-1980) were the same age, 57% were already moms, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey data.

The Ripple Effect

Millennial Parents Are More Confident

bar graph showing percent of fathers & mothers rating themselves on their parentingMillennials not only feel good about their parenting, but they also seem to be having more fun with it than older generations. In the 2015 survey, they were more likely to say that parenting was rewarding and enjoyable all the time than were Gen X or Boomer parents.

Here’s how each generation breaks down:
Rewarding:
Millennials (58%), Gen X (51%), Boomer (46%)

Enjoyable:
Millennials (52%), Gen X (39%), Boomer (39%)

Technology & 9/11 Shifted Our Cultural Landscape

Technology Busted and Bloomed

Leading up to 2001 was the infamous dot com bubble burst of 2000. On March 10, 2000, NYSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” was a top 10 single on the pop music charts. It was also the day the Nasdaq Composite index peaked at 5132.50 and only went down after that.

While so many dot coms folded under the crushing weight of overvaluation and the lack of investment capital, a few things have grown from that surge of technology enthusiasm:

In 2001, we also saw a few technological premieres that were a window into what was yet to come:

  • Wikipedia goes live
  • iTunes Released
  • iPod Released
  • Windows XP Released

As we’re still transitioning through a global pandemic that found many parents working from home and their children schooling from home by way of technology, it’s amazing to look back and see how we got to that critical problem-solving.

Safety On Everyone’s Minds

In the past two decades, we’ve seen increased concern for safety in many aspects of our culture.

Screen Safety

The surging evolution of technology has added additional concerns causing parenting styles to include approaches to keeping their children safe online.

A Post 9/11 World

The terrorist attacks on the airplanes that were directed at World Trade Center and Pentagon buildings on September 11, 2001 dramatically shifted our perception of what’s safe and what’s not.

Additionally, the families related to those who lost their lives or responded to the tragedies that day are still dealing with direct after-effects.

Simplifying Child Care

Getting Connected

Sittercity founder Genevieve Thiers got inspired to start the first online platform to connect parents and sitters while studying at Boston College after watching a very pregnant mom try to post her own flyers around town. Since May of 2001, 39.2 million connections have been made on Sittercity. That’s now come to a parent and care provider making a connection every 11 seconds.

I found great sitters through Sittercity. It’s a HUGE stress relief to be able to have access to a huge database of care. Anita M. | Fairfax, VA

Good Stewardship

Trust and safety is the cornerstone to making personal connections online—especially when it comes to our children. Not only does Sittercity have a dedicated team of Trust & Safety experts working 24/7/365, but they also continue to push the industry forward.

I found a very qualified, trustworthy caretaker quickly on this site. Sittercity was easy to navigate and I would recommend it to anyone. Renee O. | Raleigh, NC

In 2011, Sittercity led a child care industry Trust & Safety coalition (including all of the major competitors), resulting in the creation of the Marketplace Risk Conference. As the first and only conference focused on trust & safety for marketplace startups, it’s the most comprehensive source of education, networking, and information sharing today.

Sittercity continues to push trust & safety to the forefront. They’ve also teamed up with a dozen other marketplaces as founding members of the Marketplace Industry Association to continue to better serve those who exchange goods, services, and property through marketplaces.

Finding Child Care is Still Deeply Personal

One thing that hasn’t changed in 20 years (and will never) is that finding care for the ones you love is an immensely personal endeavor. And that’s still true when you’re looking for that care online. The Sittercity team of parents and previous caregivers have provided over 10 million of its members with the personal support and answers they need—all within 24 hours.

One of the rare services that actually responds to an email personally and not with a form letter! THANK YOU! Denise O. | San Francisco, CA

Sittercity is proud to have been a critical resource for both families and caregivers for the past two decades. The demand for child care has never been lacking and it continues to be a fundamental need for every family in some capacity. We’re looking forward to many more years of working to help meet this need as our cultural landscape continues to grow and evolve. Cheers!

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