Even the most enthusiastic parent needs some kid-free time – whether it’s for a night out with the spouse, a lunch with friends or even just a doctor’s appointment. But the expense of paid childcare can be prohibitive for some families. Teens are more available to babysit during the summer months, but it might be difficult to find a reliable sitter when the beach is so tempting. During the school year, you might run short of daytime sitters .Enter the babysitting co-op, an arrangement between sets of parents that provides childcare while sidestepping out-of-pocket expenses.
The concept is simple: A group of parents get together, come up with some guidelines, and babysit one another’s kids. Parents earn points by watching the children of other members, and they can spend those points on care for their own kids. They might meet outside of babysitting to build solid relationships. Some co-ops use a simple activity board or Google doc to share and moderate babysitting commitments. Others use systems like BabysitterExchange or SittingAround to organize the group.
Babysitting co-ops are experiencing a revival, and young families find they create friendships among themselves as well as the children. Here’s a step-by-step guide on making it work.The good thing is that a co-op is usually pretty informal, so you can adjust the rules as you go, depending on what works.
For ideas on how to make this happen, CLICK HERE.