Three of my friends and I are trying to start a Babysitting Co-op. I've only heard of it online, so we're trying to take whatever ideas we can find and morph it into our very own "Babysitters Club." Here are some preliminary ideas:

1. Each family starts out with a yet to be determined amount of points (either represented by poker chips or coupons). One point equals one half hour per kid. This will be our "currency," i.e., how people spend and earn babysitting time from other families in the group.

2. When you need a babysitter, you send out an email to the group. Everyone responds yes or no. The family with the least amount of points gets first dibs on a "job."

3. We don't want to have any more than 10 or 11 families involved. Any new families need to be unanimously approved so that we all feel comfortable with anyone in the group watching our kids.

4. If your children are going to be watched during a nap time or meal, you pack food for them, as well as a portable crib if necessary. The kids are always watched at the sitter's home, unless otherwise arranged.

Erik asked me why we just don't exchange Friday nights between each other so that each couple is able to go on a date once a month, but I think this is better. Especially because everyone wants to use it for different things. One woman said that she would love to go running without navigating a double stroller around trashcans, etc. I would like to go to doctor's appointments and get my hair done during the day without feeling guilty about loading Luke off on someone else.

Does anyone have experience with this sort of thing? Did it work? Did people remain friends while they did it or did everyone get mad at each other eventually? I see a lot of potential for problems if the wrong type of people are involved, but I am so desperate to be able to afford to go on a nice date with my husband or get blood drawn without having a squirming toddler on my lap, that I am more than willing to do this.


  1. Very inventive....I loved those books by the way....I haven't done any swapping with a huge group like that but recently (since Kylee has been in pre-school) the other Mom's and I swap babysitting quite a lot. Since we are not all in the same ward it totally works out for Temple nights and so forth as well. We just send an email to the group (the pre-school group) and see if anyone wants to trade. I love it cause it means I am kid free when I need to be.

  2. My mother-in-law did this type of thing back in the day. Her advice: Be careful with the point/coupon system. Some people will save up all their points and try and get someone to watch their kids for like 10 hours. That's when people started to get angry.

  3. My ward has a babysitting co-op going and it has worked really well! We started a google group, so whenever you need a sitter, you send an email to the group and people respond to you if they can watch your child. THen you can decide who works for you and then you just post a message that you found a sitter. We have a point system that seems to work really well. I can email you the things I have from ours. We've been doing it for about 3 months now and I really like it! It's helped me so I don't have to take Carson to all my prenatal visits.

  4. I think you probably need a few more rules. Like, no more than 5 hours at a time. Or that if someone is watching your kid(s), they aren't also watching someone else's (a problem one of my sisters has run into). Rules about sick kids. The best way to keep peace is to make sure that things are clear and straightforward.

    Do you love that I have all this advice without any children?

  5. I don't know, i see something happening like a miscommunication and suddenly the club turns to crap. But, On the other hand it could be a huge success!

  6. There are two couples in our ward who do a date night swap once or twice a month. Now they are trying to do a babysitting co-op so it's more during the day so the moms can get stuff done. They keep trying to get me to join, but I don't want to watch either of their kids. Especially the one family. They have an 8 year old boy. What do I have to entertain an 8 year old boy with?? So I just keep telling them I'll think about it, or talk to my husband, or we'll see.

  7. I do babysitting trades, but I keep my group small and selective. I don't want to trade with someone whose kids are really hard, or out of control. (Not that mine are perfect)Every kid has their moments, but I try to match with kids that will get along with my own. We also had a set hourly time that we traded...always 3 hours - no more, it's hard on the kids too.
    Good Luck, I don't know about the points thing.

  8. I actually agree with Chloe about making sure there are no sick kids, and the time limit. I wouldn't do it. I don't have patience for my own kid. I only babysit for my friends' kids that know me and I know them well, and we've been really open already about how we discipline our kids.

  9. just wanted to say thanks for the Christmas playlist. It's GREAT! Kirsten

  10. I don't know about Babysitting co-ops, but if you are interested in finding a sitter for your baby...do what my friend did. She knows I am just crazy about wanting kids, so I am more than willing to watch hers. Just find that one person in the ward who wants kids bad enough and viola...instant babysitter!



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