How to Start a Babysitting Co-op
I’m lucky, I have family in town to watch my kids, but not everyone has that luxury. I was visiting with some friends the other night about the going rate for babysitters and the concensus was $8-$10/hr, depending on the number of kids you have. Wow! That can add up quick. If you have a date night of dinner and a movie, that could be $40-$50 in babysitting on top of the cost of your evening. There is another option though, you could simply trade babysitting with a friend or you could do something more formal….start a babysitting co-op.
1. Determine membership
Decide how many families you want to include. It’s often easier to have kids in the co-op with similar ages due to schedules and toys. You want to have members with similar values and parenting styles. Location is somthing to think about, if a member lives 30 minutes from you, how convenient is it to use them as a sitter?
2. Set up your structure
A baby-sitting co-op is a give and take proposition. You have to have a system in place to keep track of everyone’s time, to make sure that it’s beneficial to all involved. A simple option is a point system. Each member starts with 30 points. Everytime you have someone watch your kids, your account will be debited 1 point per child per hour. When you are the sitter, your account will be credited the same amounts. You will need a member to be the “accountant”. The sitter will call the accountant every time they have watched kids to let the accountant know to update the records. The “accountant” position can be rotated and the accountant earns 5 points per month as their pay. Once a persons balance drops below 15 points, they need to babysit some more, and if their balance is above 45, they need to get out more.
3. Make A Contact List
Every member should receive a contact list with names, phone numbers, addresses, kids names and ages, any allergies, and doctors contact info for everyone in the co-op.
4. Set Aside Time to Meet
You may consider having periodic meetings or playgroups where you can get to know everyone in the group better and work out any problems that have arisen.
Have fun with it. This can be a great way to get some much needed “you” time, or have a hot date with your sweetie!