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.