10 Reasons to Consider a Babysitting Exchange
Babysitting exchanges are growing in popularity, with parents in neighborhoods across the country actively participating. Instead of paying a sometimes inexperienced or unreliable babysitter for a night out or a quick shopping trip, parents are banding together and watching each others’ children. If you’re researching childcare options, here are a few of the reasons you might want to consider a babysitting exchange.
- Networking With Local Parents – A neighborhood-based babysitting exchange can be a great way for parents to get to know each other better or share experiences.
- Reliable Childcare – Instead of paying an unreliable, usually-teenage babysitter for a few hours, you can leave your children in the hands of another parent.
- Saving Money - Because a babysitting exchange works on a barter system, you can save a bundle with this option. If your current babysitter makes $10 per hour and works for five hours once a week, you can save $2,400.00 in one year by forming a babysitting exchange.
- Social Opportunity for Children – A babysitting exchange is basically a play-date, from your child’s perspective. Playing with children he or she already knows and is comfortable with is much easier on your child than being left at home with a babysitter.
- Peace of Mind – Participating in a local exchange means that your children are under the care of other parents. Knowing that the person looking after your children has experience with their own is much more comforting than worrying about the competence and experience level of an often young babysitter.
- Flexibility – Because an exchange usually consists of parents with similar needs and backgrounds, it tends to foster an environment of flexibility and understanding. A teenage babysitter may pout if you’re twenty minutes late because of a flat tire; another parent can usually sympathize.
- Familiar Surroundings – As a result of being watched by the same group of people and spending time with mostly the same children, there’s a sense of familiarity. Being comfortable and accustomed to their peers and surroundings can help toddlers and younger children adjust to separation from you.
- Shared Philosophy – If your exchange is formed within your place of worship or a similar group, you can rest assured that the philosophies and ideas being passed on to your children in your absence are similar to your own.
- No Competing For a Babysitter – In every neighborhood, there’s one highly sought-after babysitter that everyone competes for. Participating in a babysitting exchange takes you out of this competitive environment, leaving you assured of having assistance when it’s needed.
- Established Routine – If your exchange operates on a rotating schedule, it can help your children feel comfortable with an established routine, as opposed to a revolving door of babysitters with varying degrees of skill.
Sharing childcare responsibilities with other parents in your social circle or neighborhood is not only helpful and cost-effective, it’s also a great way to form and maintain lasting friendships. Because of the similarities in your lifestyles, you may find it easier to relate to the other parents in your exchange. In addition to the peace of mind and camaraderie a babysitting exchange offers, it also presents the opportunity to establish routines and scheduling that works best for everyone, instead of a rigid, inflexible system.