How To Get Free Childcare And Have More Time For Yourself

Constantly on the run?

Constantly on the run?

These days, incomes are getting smaller and smaller, while expenses are getting bigger and bigger. Meanwhile, if parents aren’t busy chasing careers, they’re busy chasing kids!

Raising kids is tiring and expensive, and that’s why babysitting co-ops have been rising in popularity. Babysitting co-ops have been featured on CNN and in publications like Parenting, NewsWeek, The Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.

The babysitting co-op system is simple, yet effective. Basically, families in a community take turns babysitting each other’s children as a group. This is better than your typical babysitter set-up because:

  • It creates a stronger sense of community, with neighbours getting to know one another better.
  • Children make new friends. This can solve one of the main drawbacks of homeschooling, namely that of limited social interaction.
  • It’s free free free!

Specific rules will depend on each babysitting co-op, but most will be based upon a points-based system. Getting babysitting for your children will cost points, while babysitting other children will earn points.

More details about babysitting co-ops can be found in this attachment:

How To Create A Neighborhood Babysitting Cooperative

and there are even free startup kits available online.

There may already be an existing babysitting co-op in your area, ask around! Try approaching other parents at the church or childcare centre you frequent. Otherwise, it’s easy to start one up from scratch, with as few as just 3 families involved. Make sure that rules are set out in advance in black and white, as this well help avoid any misunderstandings and feelings of resentment later on.

What do you think about babysitting co-ops? Please share your thoughts, and don’t forget to bookmark this site and share it with others by clicking the bar below!

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Hey hey…good idea…never thought of that. but hard to get a group around my neighbourhood…

    Reply

  2. I was in a mom’s group a few years ago, and we tried to get a babysitting co-op off the ground. It was very hard to get our schedules and needs organized. Our kids were all the same age, so we had that going for us, but some had 3 kids, some had 2, some had 1, some needed childcare to work, others needed it to go to the doctor. It was too hard to organize anything consistent, so we wound up getting an au pair through Cultural Care Au Pair. I eventually become a childcare coordinator for the company. While it is not free, like a co-op, it was cheaper than the daycares in our area, or nannies. It was about $330 per week for 45 hours of care. My scheduled changed too much for a co-op, I think. I love the co-op idea for so many reasons, but based on my experience, I think to really make it work, you need to have people all in the same life – working, or not working, limited childcare needs, or lots of childcare needs. And I think the booklets that exist can go a long way toward helping you create a successful co-op if you do it. Good luck!

    Reply

    • Hi Tracy,

      Thanks for letting us know about your personal experience with babysitting co-ops.

      I would have thought that it would be easier setting up a co-op with people having different schedules, ie Family A is working when Family B is not, and vice versa. I guess that’s not always the case then.

      Reply

  3. Posted by JinHsien on 14 September, 2009 at 5:16 am

    In my area, Texas, $330 per week is more than the average for childcare.

    I’m having a hard time imagining how co-op is going to work for dual income families. Usually families in same neighborhood are in similar income bracket. For white collar workers, working hours are 8-5 or 9-6 plus. If both parents are working, would it be fair to co-ops their kids to stay home moms?

    Reply

  4. Hi Jin Hsien,

    I don’t think the system is meant to be a full replacement for 5 days a week child care. A lot of conditions would have to be met for such a situation, for example the dual income family would still have to find time to contribute back to the co-op.

    Reply

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