Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Babysitting Co-Op

Henry and his friend Ellie Cate, photo via my friend, Ben

I spend a lot of time bemoaning the fragmentation of modern American society into nuclear families. After all, I really do believe that it "takes a village" to raise a child (or at least it's a heck of a lot easier when you have help around).

I'm so glad I finally get to do something about it! Two of my new friends and I decided to start a babysitting co-op with the other women from our prenatal yoga class. Here's how it works:
  1. Everyone who wants to participate begins with three tokens. Each token is worth one hour of babysitting.
  2. You contact people in the co-op individually or through the list to find a babysitter
  3. You drop off your child at the agreed-upon time at the babysitter's house, and pick them up at the agreed-upon time as well.
  4. You agree to the following norms:
    -Babysitting can only be done in one-hour increments. 15 minutes or less can be rounded down, but 16 minutes and above must be rounded up and payor must pay an extra hour.
    -All babysitting is done at the babysitter's home.
    -The clock begins at the scheduled time of arrival, regardless of whether the child is dropped off late.
    -Babysitting appointments must be cancelled with 24 hours notice or else payment is still required.

For "tokens," we are simply printing out the norms on 2.5" x 1" cardstock. Then we are putting a piece of magnetic tape (from a roll) on the back. That way, people can keep their "tokens" on the refrigerator for safe keeping.

Our hope is that the co-op will be completely self-regulating, so we don't need an administrator.

I'm excited to see how it goes!

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Allyn said...

I love it! Capitalism and the free markets at work.

ErikaM said...

My mom participated in something similar when we (there were 3 of us kids at the time) were young. I don't remember all the rules, but it seems pretty similar.

Kelsey said...

What a great idea!

Mindy said...

I love this idea! But I wonder, how do you make sure everyone is doing the babysitting equally (and not just one or two people saying yes all the time?

AZ said...

Totally putting this in my inspiration/kids folder. Hooray for sharing and community!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Mindy! The system seems pretty self-regulating. Everyone starts with three hours of free babysitting (which is basically like one date night). After you've used your free tokens, the only way to get more is to say yes to babysitting someone else.

Elsa said...

Great idea! And that picture is just precious!!

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me with that picture?!? I am not a parent, and do not usually get all gooey over baby pictures. But that is seriously the. cutest. picture. I have ever seen. Adorable :)

Ahem. Back on topic - that is such a great idea! I don't know why I never thought of that, but I love it. I hope you'll keep us posted on the success of the venture!

opu shaon said...

Ha, it is really a great allocation about babysitting and hopefully whatever information I was looking finally found through this post and I hope that you will able to keep up in such resources to give us more information. Thanks :)

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JustGoodHealth said...

Yes, You seem to me a very good Babysitting service provider because you know what to do and how to do in this profession. Truly I was looking to get Babysitting service for my kids and you will be the best for my kids as well. So hopefully we will meet as early as possible. Thanks mate.

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