What is a Babysitting Co-op?
A babysitting co-op is a formalized babysitting program that is established among people who know and trust one another. People who participate in a co-op might know one another through activities such as preschool, your neighborhood, church organizations, play groups or other activities such as these.
Usually, co-op members already have existing friendships, know and trust one another and share similar values/parenting philosophies.
How am I compensated for my time?
The babysitting co-op operates on the exchange of tickets vs. cash. These tickets represent time and act as the currency for the co-op. Tickets are broken up in to half-hour and on-hour segments.
Why Organize a Babysitting Co-op?
A babysitting co-op is a great way for families to save money for childcare. As a stay-at-home parent, or a part-time working parent, there are many times when you can't (or don't want to) bring your little ones along for various appointments/errands.
A co-op provides parents with peace of mind when they need to be away from their children. Parents can go about their activities and take comfort in knowing that their children are receiving safe, competant and reliable care in an environment that they know and trust.
What is a babysitting shift and how does it work?
Each co-op member comes to the planning meeting with a specific day and time when they'll be available for babysitting. This day & time represents a co-op shift and usually equals a 4 hours segments of time.
Once all the co-op members have identified their shifts, the shifts are then written down onto the co-op calendar and will rotate on a weekly or bi-weekly basis depending on how many people are participating in your co-op.
The co-op calendar then is projected out for 3-4 months in advance providing all the co-op members with guaranteed babysitting options for weeks to come.
The really great thing about setting your shifts up for weeks in advance is that it allows parents to commit to future appointments. This system ensures that parents will always have a co-op member available to watch their children when they need to be away.