This one is for the parents...
In need of affordable babysitting? Create a babysitting co-op!
A babysitting co-op is a quickly growing trend and great way to save on childcare without sacrificing quality care. A co-op is a group of parents who take turns watching each other's kids for free. Instead of paying a babysitter, participants earn points by watching one another's children and then cash in their points when they need a sitter.
Here is how to get one started:
- Talk with other parents in your circle or neighborhood and gather willing participants. Co-ops can range in size from 3 families to 30. Ideally, you want enough families involved so you can get a sitter when you need one, but not so many that it losses its community feel. Starting small gives you a chance to see what works and what doesn't.
- Designate a secretary or coordinator. This person will handle all the calls from parents needing a sitter, sets up times and days, and keep all the information organized for the group. Often Co-ops will trade off this role with one another monthly.
- Come up with a point system. Some co-ops use tickets, poker chips, or play money. Then you are credited and debited according to the hours of babysitting you do or receive. When you are running low on points you are incented to babysit for others.
-Ultimately babysitting co-ops are based on trust. Make sure you are in a group of people that you trust with your children and have a safe place for your children to play while you are out.
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