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A babysitting co-op is an excellent way for parents to get out every once and a while but without worrying about the costs and complications involved in finding a sitter for their children. With a babysitting co-op you will take your turn in watching other people in your neighborhood's children in exchange for their supervision of your own children on set days. You will get a free babysitting service but you will also not have the worry that your children are left with a stranger or teenager. In most cases your children will love the idea of a babysitting co-op because it means one night away from home to hang out with their friends in the neighborhood.

How Baby Sitting Co-Ops Work

Babysitting co-ops can work anyway you wish as long as everyone involved is happy, . Let's say you choose to do a babysitting co-op with three other families in your neighborhood or complex for one Saturday a month. This means every third month you will have a free Saturday to go out for dinner, to the movies or out of the house without the kids while your neighbors watch the little ones. You will need to also take your turn to watch their kids on the other Saturdays. You may choose to take a whole weekend away or you may choose to only use the babysitting co-op once a year, and same can be done with pet sitting.

The best way to get started on a babysitting co-op is to sit down with the parents in your unit or neighborhood and ask them if they would be interested in doing this. You can do a babysitting co-op with only one other family as well as several other families. You may choose to make a schedule so you know six months in advance what days you have whose kids and when you get a night off or you may choose to simply phone your neighbors the week before a dinner party and schedule a baby sitter. Make sure you also discuss parenting tips and set rules. For example, if your neighbor's kids go to sleep at 7am on the nose, then letting them stay up until midnight is probably not the best idea, even if your kids stay up much later than this.

Hosting a Baby Sitting Co-Op

If it is your turn to watch the kiddies in your neighborhood then it is a good idea to prepare ahead of time. Pick up a couple of kids movies at the video store as well as some snacks. You should ask your neighbors about any dietary restrictions as well as likes and dislikes when it comes to television. Your kids will most likely be excited to have a slumber party with the other neighborhood kids so let them set up their sleeping bags on the floor in the living room. Keep loud boisterous play to a minimum but let them have fun. You want to ensure that the kids feel comfortable and happy with the idea as much as their parents do.

Many children are terrified of leaving Mom and Dad, even if there is a reward of having a play date with friends. Understand that this is a common thing and try to be patient and caring. If your children are fearful of leaving you for the night, reassure them that you will be back and let them call you half way through the night. It may take some time but after a couple rounds of a babysitting co-op you, your neighbors and your kids will be grateful for the break.

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