How to Start a Babysitting Co-op

Here are some general tips and ideas to get you started on forming a Babysitting Co-op

 

What is a Babysitting Co-op?

 

A Babysitting Co-op is a group families who babysit for each other.  Instead of paying with money, parents earn babysitting credit that can be used amongst the group.    

 

What you need to start a Babysitting Co-op:

 

Ideally, 8 families to start and a willing & patient parent to be a coordinator.     

 

How a Babysitting Co-op Works:

 

A Babysitting Co-op is based on a credit system that equates to babysitting hours.  Some Coops call this credit “points.”  Parents earn points through babysitting.  These points can be used with other families in the Co-op.  A successful Co-op has points/credit constantly in circulation.  

 

Credit/ Points:

 

Each Babysitting Co-op is different in how they establish points and organize time. There are a variety of methods to organize the credit system (see our Further Reading section to read about the different Co-op models out there).  

 

Looking for Babysitting Co-op By Laws? 

 

Go to the PSP Page HERE.

 

Some Initial Ideas to get you started include:

 

-          Each family starts with 20 points.

-          Points are earned/charged in half hour increments.

-          2 points for 1 hour of babysitting for one child, 3 points for 1 hour of babysitting for two children.

-          Set up a working agreement so everyone is clear.

How you want to monitor the points is completely up to you.  Some families exchange physical points like coupons, tokens or even used raffle like tickets.  Other co-ops have used Excel Sheets and there are even online management systems designed specifically for co-op purposes (see links below).

 

Pros:

 

-          Babysitters can be expensive! In a Babysitting Co-op, no money ever trades hands.  

-          Kids make new friends

-          Builds community

-          It takes a village! So build the village you want!

 

Cons:

 

-          The system is based on a self-enforcing economic model that assumes the system will maintain itself.   Credit needs to always be in circulation  So watch out for parents that never use their credit.

-          Have plans in place for when a family moves or leaves the Co-op.

 

Further Reading:

 

News Articles

 

Babysitting Swap on NY Mag

 

Online Guides

 

Baby Center article on Babysitting Co-ops

Frugal Mama's How To Start a Babysitting Co-op

 

A write up on why one coop did NOT work

"Baby-Sitting the Economy: The baby-sitting co-op that went bust teaches us something that could save the world."

 

Online “Point” Management Services

 

Some Co-ops use a website to monitor hours and points:

 

Some of these websites charge annually (around $150) for their services – but why not distribute the cost equally amongst the co-op participants.

https://www.babysittingcoop.com

http://www.babysitterexchange.com      

http://www.helpinghero.com

www.sittingaround.com

      one parent’s recommendation: “You can organize a coop through www.sittingaround.com, and that site also has a list of local sitters”