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Best of Arlington 2014

Kids, Families & Schools

Best Babysitting Service

Sprout at Saffron

Some moms join gyms so they can take advantage of the on-site child care and have a little time to themselves. But not every parent wants to spend hours on the elliptical machine. Some would rather sit in a coffee shop and work. Or read.

Enter Sprout Co-Work Co-Play Studio, a babysitting facility housed inside the Saffron dance studio in Clarendon. “We put everything on caster rollers,” says owner Saphira Ortega, who introduced the child care service in September 2012. During the day, it’s a kid zone, “but by night it’s a belly-dance studio.”

Sprout’s $85 “MamaTime” membership includes two hours of babysitting per week, plus a 20 percent discount on yoga, dance or fitness classes. Moms can hold meetings inside Saffron’s conference room, work on their laptops, take a yoga class, chat with other parents, sort their mail, or even take a nap in the dedicated nap room.

“It’s one step up from the world of coffee shops,” says Ortega. “Kids can play while their moms are productive.”

But this isn’t drop-in day care, she clarifies, and Sprout isn’t open all day, every day. Reservations are required, and nonmember drop-ins are discouraged. Parents must remain on the premises, and those whose kids are younger than 2 must stay in the playroom.

Yasmine El-Droubi and her 2-year-old daughter, Lina, walk to Sprout from their home in Courthouse once a week. Lina does craft projects or plays with homemade Play-Doh, while her mom uses the time to read, check emails, or call relatives in Egypt and Syria. “I like the time by myself,” says El-Droubi. “It’s the longest stretch I get.” –W.K.

3260 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, 703-276-2355, www.sproutatsaffron.com

Other top vote-getters:

North Star Nannies
P&E Babysitting