Sunday, November 23, 2014

Babysitting options

As we have 2 full-time working parents in our household, we have come up with some creative options to ensure that our daughter is well cared for all of the time. For full-time care, we've employed a nanny share (a nanny who watches 2 kids at the same time), as well as an amazing family daycare and preschool. Now that our daughter is in kindergarten, we sometimes make use of the elementary school's before school program, and almost always send her to after school.

Still, there are times that we need additional childcare outside of the standard daytime arrangements. All 4 grandparents and 2 uncles live out of state, so that is generally not an option. Here is a list of other types of sitters we have used.

A mother's helper is a person, generally a female college student, who helps with childcare, dishes, laundry, cleaning, or similar tasks as needed. I have met some lovely people using this form of help, and my daughter really enjoys spending time with them. On an ideal evening, like last Thursday, my mother's helper will come at 3, start the laundry, clean the kitchen and clutter, then take a break to feed and hang out with Lu so my husband and I go on a date. After Lu goes to bed, my helper resumes cleaning so that the longer the date lasts, the cleaner my house gets. I can think of few win-win situations that are more attractive than that.

Babysitting co-ops are the next option I want to mention. I wrote part of this post while on a play date with Lu and 2 kids who have become friends with Lu through the co-op. I just fed and played dress up with all 3 kids, and now they're relaxing and watching a movie. Yesterday, the same family watched Lu overnight so that my husband and I could go on a date.

Co-ops are groups of parents who are part of an exchange in which they trade childcare. We joke that it's like the mafia, you have to be vouched in so that the other parents know you are trustworthy. Points are exchanged for time spent sitting, and the balances maintained via Google forms. There are 12 or so active families in our swap, and we meet every month or so to have brunch together. Just because you sit for one family does not obligate them to sit for you next time; sitting requests go to all active families. You put the request out on our Big Tent website, and any families who can sit for you will email. Then the family looking for the sitter can pick the best arrangement, maybe based on how close one family lives or another convenience factor.

Swaps are similar to the babysitting co-op, but less formal, one-off arrangements between classmates or friends of your child for a few hours of childcare. They are generally reciprocal arrangements within a close time window.

A Sleepover is the best type of childcare swap. You drop your child or children off at another family's house, and then you can go back to your house, or visit a bed and breakfast if you are feeling fancy. The reason why this type of childcare wins is because you, the parents, get to sleep in the next morning.

1 comment:

  1. Hey there, I found you via the NaBloPoMo blogroll.

    As part of NaBloPoMo I try to comment on as many participating blogs as I can, and I am also adding participating blogs to my feed reader. So I’m just dropping by to let you know I’ve added your blog to my feedreader, whenever you publish a post I will see it. :)

    I have created three bundles on Inoreader so that bloggers can easily visit other participating NaBloPoMo bloggers which you can find a few posts back on my blog.

    Your blog is in the second bundle.. I also have a link up going at my place so my readers can find participating blogs which you are more than welcome to add your blog link to.

    Looking forward to seeing your posts. You may see me drop by again during November, but it might be December before I finish my first drop by to blogs if I don't get faster at leaving comments. :)

    Happy NaBloPoMo to you!