Starting a Playgroup with Little or No Money
8 Cheap to Free Child Care Options
Child Care and Babysitting
I am interested in starting a babysitting co-op with my Sunday School class. I have the interest of several moms and we all have kids. Is there anyone that could give me pointers in starting one up. Thanks.
I was in a neighborhood co-op several years ago. We used tickets (i.e. old-fashioned movie tickets), with one ticket for each hour. We could tear tickets in half. We received about four or five tickets when we joined.
The tickets eliminated any one person having to serve as a bookkeeper all the time. I think someone kept track of the total number of tickets circulating through the co-op, and we reported how many tickets we had at each monthly meeting.
Membership was limited to a certain geographic area. I think it is important to limit membership; not as snobbery but to make sure everyone knows everyone else. Just make sure your membership rules are clear at the outset.
I was in a babysitting co-op that had been founded many years before I joined. Some things that were established:
Hopefully, this will give you some things to consider. Enjoy! Our entire family benefited from this co-op, and it was a great way to meet other families with children the same age.
I joined an established babysitting co-op about 2 years ago, and it has been really worthwhile. It has given me the freedom to attend appointments without my toddler and preschooler and since my older daughter started school, to volunteer in her class regularly. This co-op has a set of very well thought out rules, which I think are well worth the initial effort.
We have our own economy for paying for sits - with poker chips: 2 chips/hour for 1 child, 1 additional chip/hour for each additional child, extra payment for evening sits. Our rules cover everything from safety and childproofing requirements, expectations on both mothers (being prompt, providing contact information, advising about other adults in the home at the time of the sit, etc.), and procedure for leaving and joining the co-op.
All members have a police background check (by becoming members of the community Block Parent program), no one has any firearms in their homes. We're all expected to keep our infant/child CPR training up to date.
New members are sponsored by a current member, and 3 other members visit them to get acquainted (and the children to also get acquainted) and give suggestions where childproofing may need improvement. New members start out with 60 chips.
We have monthly meetings where we discuss any co-op business, but mostly just a ladies night. At that time we update our chip counts, and we make an effort to call on members with low counts. We have small annual dues ($6) which covers any supplies or photocopying for the co-op, and also usually allows us to hold a family party (one year we hired a "science guy" who does shows for kids). These guidelines are revisited from time to time as issues arise, but due to the groundwork up front the expectations are clear, so there are very few problems.
This is a sample of some of the guidelines that work for our babysitting co-op; I hope you are able to set up something, which meets your needs. I should also add that in addition to being a wonderful pool of reliable babysitters, the co-op is also where most of my kids' best friends are, so babysitting is more like playmates in their eyes.
And these ladies have turned out to be some of my best friends too.
We did a baby-sitting coop at church. We had eight couples, and in a 2-month session, each couple went out 6 nights and worked 2 nights.
Six couples went out on a Sat. night and the other two watched the kids. It was more fun "working" with another couple and made the clean-up go faster. The hours were 6:30-9:30. We were fortunate to be able to do this at our church using the Sunday school rooms and nursery.
One couple brought a snack each time for the kids and got there 15 minutes early to open and set up. We asked each family to contribute to an art supply box so we had those available for the children. There were already baby and toddler toys in the nursery we could use.
We had an emergency form with all the information for each child, and a sign -in sheet each time so parents could leave us the specific info for that night. Each family brought a bag with diapers, bottle, pajamas, toothbrush whatever was the necessary equipment for their kids.
At 9:30 when the parents arrived for pick up, the children were in their pjs, and 2+ kids had teeth brushed. This was a great deal for all involved; the parents and kids all loved it.
I saw a web site just this week she may want to check out concerning the babysitting coop question. www.babysittingcoop.com
Take the Next Step:
Sign up for our free eNewsletter Dollar Stretcher for Parents.
Looking for an answer to a frugal living question? Click here to ask a
Dollar Stretcher Stretchpert!
Copyright 1996 - 2013 "The Dollar Stretcher, Inc." All rights reserved unless specifically noted.
Contact the Dollar Stretcher at:
PO Box 14160
Bradenton FL 34280
"The Dollar Stretcher, Inc." does not assume responsibility for advice given. All advice should be weighed against your own abilities and circumstances and applied accordingly. It is up to the reader to determine if advice is safe and suitable for their own situation.