Babysitting Co-Op

I am really enjoying my new neighborhood and ward.  And perhaps my favorite thing so far is the babysitting co-op they have in place.

This idea is genius.  And it is thrifty.

Here is how our babysitting co-op works:

There are 11 members of the co-op. 10 of the ladies are assigned ONE babysitting shift a week.  The shifts are either 9-12 AM or 12-3 PM, Monday- Friday.  The extra lady is the sub that you call if someone is sick or if you will be out of town.   So members of the co-op have access to a babysitter Monday – Friday 9 am – 3 pm (minus your own shift).

(Did you catch that? I can have a babysitter anytime during the week that I need!!!!!)

This means you can exercise, grocery shop, run errands, go to appointments, volunteer at the school, go to lunch, clean your house, or go back to bed without any kids!!!!

To avoid this being a drop off day care service, tickets are involved.  These tickets are babysitting currency.  Each kid costs 1 ticket per half hour.  When you babysit you earn tickets from the other moms, and if you drop your child off to be babysat you pay tickets. To help stimulate the babysitting economy, you get 50 free tickets at the beginning of each new cycle.  We do this in September and January because there is no co-op in the summer.

You basically have to put in time to get to use time, so no one can take advantage of the situation.

Our babysitting co-op group has a moderator (Thanks Karalynne!) who organizes the schedules, deals with new members, prints and distributes tickets, and handles any issues that may come up.

It seems like she has thought of everything.  There is a sub if you or your kids get sick.  There is what they call a “transfer” clause if you need a babysitter from like 11-1 where you cross shifts.  You send your child with a lunch if you want them to eat.  There are rules in place, etc.

If you would like to see this groups rules you can click here.

So far I have not had too many kids and no kids have been crazy. I have been way impressed how flexible everyone is with shift changes.  Someone is always willing to trade or fill in or give up their shift.  It is an awesome group of ladies to work with.  It has been a great way for me to meet new people and for my kids to meet new friends.  Plus Locke is learning how to share.

And Croft loves to play babysitter and help all the little girls that come over.

The only glitch I’ve seen is that some shifts are way busier than others, and you never quite know how many tickets you will make in a week.  It can be really slow or really busy, but you just go with it.

If you would be interested in doing this in your neighborhood, you could have less or more women, less or more shifts, longer or shorter shifts, etc.  Also you could hand pick some friends or just put out a group email to people you trust and see who is interested.  There are so many ways you could make this work.

And it is so worth it.  Not to sound over dramatic or anything, but the babysitting co-op really has changed my life; I have some options during the day that I haven’t had before and it feels great! Let me know if you have any questions.  I would be happy to answer them.

8 thoughts on “Babysitting Co-Op”

  1. You really have my brain thinking now. I really think I want to organize something like this in my neighborhood. I may have more questions for you if I decide to do this. Like about scheduling. Do you always have the same day and time or does that change from week to week.

    So what you’re telling me is that you will never need me to babysit your kids again????

    1. Shelley, I do have the same time and day each week. Consistency makes it easier for everyone to keep track and I think switching around would be a big headache for the moderator. Although we do switch here and there if something comes up. You should really do it. I love it! Call me if you need help getting started. And don’t count me out yet. If I run out of tickets, if I move again, or if they kick me out, I am still going to need you! You can still call me anytime!

  2. We had a similar one when my kids were little in calif and I loved it. We had a secretary keep track of the hours each mom had every month. The only bad thing to me was being the secretary and balancing the monthly numbers. Go for it is great!!

    1. They don’t have an age requirement because I know of only 1 baby in our group and she doesn’t bring him. A few kids are 1 years old. But most are in the 2-5 range. I think I would put an age requirement on it if lots of babies were involved. It is way harder to watch 5 babies than it is to watch 5 3 year olds. And you don’t have time to worry about bottle feedings with lots of kids around.

  3. This is such a great idea!! We are so glad you shared this! Thanks so much for joining us on “Strut Your Stuff Saturday.” We loved having you and hope to see you back next Saturday with more great ideas! -The Sisters

  4. Love this!
    I have a question about the 11th person… Does she have tickets? If she is just a sub, how does she earn them?
    Thanks!

    1. The sub does have tickets and she earns them when she takes someone else’s shift. She earns whatever tickets that person would have made that shift. For example, if I have Friday morning but am going to be on vacation, I would call the sub. She would do my Friday morning shift in her home and people would bring their kids to her instead of me. They would pay her the tickets that day. Our sub was the mom that was the most flexible. She stayed pretty busy. Hope that makes sense.

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