Author Topic: Parents - do you "trade" babysitting with other families?  (Read 5074 times)

ender

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6816
Parents - do you "trade" babysitting with other families?
« on: December 31, 2013, 07:25:47 AM »
From another thread:

Some nurses I know set up their schedules to work opposite days, and then take care of each other's kids.  They both work at a hospital that does 12 hour shifts, so they each work 3 days a week.

So I'm not married. But I've always thought it makes sense for people with kids to coordinate with others of similar ages for childcare purposes. For example, maybe Wednesday night one couple takes all the kids and then Thursday the other couple, so each couple gets a night free.

Similarly for families with SAHMs, trying something similar seems it would go a long way to giving parents some peace.

Why don't people seem to do this more?

gecko10x

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 420
    • SawyerPF
Re: Parents - do you "trade" babysitting with other families?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2013, 07:29:31 AM »
Not sure about other peoples' experience, but we tried for 6 years to find people to do this with. It only worked out just recently since we've moved and another couple moved in near us. I never was sure why no one would ever take us up on the offers.

JessieImproved

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 160
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Atlanta
    • Jessie : Improved
Re: Parents - do you "trade" babysitting with other families?
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2013, 08:42:19 AM »
I think a lot of people would rather pay for childcare than watch someone else's kids.  I have to admit, I struggle with this question myself, since childcare as a job does NOT appeal to me at all.  Luckily, we have 3 grandmas chomping at the bit to watch our girls. 

NeverWasACornflakeGirl

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 231
    • Mommy Won't Work
Re: Parents - do you "trade" babysitting with other families?
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2013, 08:48:30 AM »
We have just one daughter, so we are always eager to have her friends over as two eight year olds playing together = almost no work.  Otherwise, we have to entertain her.  We know a lot of other parents who have only one daughter my daughter's age, so we trade off play dates and overnights all the time.  It works out great for us!

Janie

  • Guest
Re: Parents - do you "trade" babysitting with other families?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2013, 09:16:46 AM »
Why don't people seem to do this more?

I think it's actually pretty common, both informal play dates (like Trina describes) and neighborhood babysitting co-ops http://www.babycenter.com/0_babysitting-co-ops_51.bc

Thegoblinchief

  • Guest
Re: Parents - do you "trade" babysitting with other families?
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2013, 10:51:33 AM »
We do with my sister. It was really easy a couple years back when we lived across the street from them, so my kids and their cousins grew up together. But I can pretty much count on babysitting back and forth any time either of us has a need and the other doesn't have a conflict.

Meggslynn

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 253
Re: Parents - do you "trade" babysitting with other families?
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2013, 11:40:41 AM »
I don't know very many people who do this but that might be the age range our kid and friends kids are in. Our son is two. The positives of paying someone to watch him rather than bring him over to a friends house share sitting services is that his bed time is 7:30pm and he is getting to the age where he doesn't sleep well when he is somewhere new and exciting.

Our friends talked about doing this but it just didn't make sense at this age. We will revisit it when bedtimes are later and other houses are not that exciting.


BigRed

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 203
  • Age: 45
  • Location: NJ
Re: Parents - do you "trade" babysitting with other families?
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2013, 01:54:09 PM »
Our oldest is 3 1/2, we started suggesting this to friends around the time he was 2.  We just kept suggesting it, and we finally got a taker.  We regularly trade babysitting with one of his good friends now.  It's easier to do a Saturday or Sunday afternoon than an evening, but we've done both.  It works really well, I highly recommend it. Just keep suggesting to families where you get along with the parents and the kids get along as well, eventually they'll take you up on it.

imustachemystash

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 405
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Parents - do you "trade" babysitting with other families?
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2013, 08:12:14 PM »
I'm not really interested in doing this because I work with kids all day for my profession.  My kid's grandparents are more than happy to watch them for us if we need.  That is part of the reason we live where we do, so we can get free childcare.  If I was in a different profession, trading babysitting with other families would be a great option!

Argyle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 906
Re: Parents - do you "trade" babysitting with other families?
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2013, 10:48:44 PM »
I have done this for years.  It's especially helpful for afterschool care. 

scrubbyfish

  • Guest
Re: Parents - do you "trade" babysitting with other families?
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2014, 11:30:00 AM »
Why don't people seem to do this more?

I've never done it because having kids around exhausts me -even just their sounds in the background (tiny house), and knowing requests (water, food, or for me to listen to a play-by-play of the movie she watched last night) are coming sooner or later.

My conscientiousness also drains me -I feel very responsible to be alert to the kids' activities and safety at all times. For me, more kids = more concern. (Others I know parent differently, sending a group of 3-7 year olds to a park on their own, or leaving the 4 years old jumping on a trampoline in a marsh a block from any adult, or leaving these kids at home while they go grocery shopping. These parents are more relaxed, to be sure, and I can see how they don't mind bringing additional kids on board. But these approaches totally don't feel like an option for me. And once I learn this is what's happening, I won't send my kid there.)

For me, it's not at all a treat to have a few hours off if I had to have extra kids previously. I'd rather have no child care than that.

So, that's why I don't do it. However, despite my issues I do have a big love for children (and parents). From this, I have many times offered and provided child care -with joy and with zero reservations- when a family was in a pinch. I'll drive across town to pick up someone's kid from school, open my home, take kids in, sit for hours with them at a hospital while their parent is inside, have them overnight if their parent needs to work, etc. That I can do. But for a personal breather, I rely on trade-free options only.

Argyle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 906
Re: Parents - do you "trade" babysitting with other families?
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2014, 01:58:23 PM »
Scrubbyfish, you might try it once and see what you think.  My finding is that it is much less trouble than looking after one kid.  They amuse each other.  After a certain age, perhaps 4 or 5, the oversight doesn't have to be intense.  I wouldn't let them go to the park on their own, obviously, but they can be in the living room playing while you're doing stuff in the kitchen, or whatever.

Mark31

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 196
  • Location: Australia
Re: Parents - do you "trade" babysitting with other families?
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2014, 05:19:49 PM »
I've never paid a babysitter yet!

I struggle with the concept that people do so on a regular basis. I can see that it might happen occasionally.

We don't have grandparents living anywhere nearby. If we go out at night, a friend comes to our house, or vice versa. For care during the day (which is less often) they go to the other house.

More children are definitely easier to look after - it's actually easier if the other parent isn't there, because you get caught up talking to them, the children don't get those constant nudges of supervision, and they go feral.

The advantage of using friends, is that the children are familiar with them, and don't freak out with a stranger in the house. I'm also familiar with them, and know what to expect.

The light version of all this is taking turns on the school pick-up - I can't believe people don't do this if they walk or have space in the car.

We do a similar thing with pet care - we either agist, or get someone to come by and look after them (we've only got chooks). If we go away for a number of days, we'll bake them a cake when we get back, so it's not completely free! If we go away for weeks on end, we usually get a housesitter in.

We've only ever once had to pay someone for animal care.

scrubbyfish

  • Guest
Re: Parents - do you "trade" babysitting with other families?
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2014, 10:16:15 PM »
Scrubbyfish, you might try it once and see what you think.

How about 520 times? ;)    When my kid was 4-6+ years old, we had other peoples' kids over several times a week. I dearly loved the kids, mine and everyone else's, but I didn't love the level of noise and boisterousness. When my kid is alone, he plays quietly -imagining, digging dirt, moving cars, inventing things- but when even one more kid is over, the noise and/or motion goes through the roof.

Ditto my partner's kids. When I have just one of them (and not my own), they are each quiet as beans. One gets absorbed in art, the other in equations. Once in a while they'll come to me, but so calmly and peacefully, and share a neat idea or discovery they've just had, then go back to their task.

Put any two of these together, or bring in any neighour's kid, and it's noise and shrieking and running. Don't get me wrong, all of these kids are truly well-behaved, sweet, considerate people. They just get so excited when they're together. Heck, I'm the same when my favourite people come by! (Well, I don't roughhouse with them, but man do we talk talk talk to the sheer agony of the kids.)

I just came from a kid birthday party held in about 200 sq feet. Only four kids, but ugh. When one went home, it was significantly more peaceful.

I'm in about 400 sq ft, so puttering in the kitchen while they play in the livingroom puts us about four feet apart, with no wall between us.

A funny flipside of all of this is that kids will ask to come to my place solo, just so they can have a few hours of peace, do their own thing at their leisure, etc. So, it seems some kids like the same quiet reprieves that I do! One little 3 year old used to stop by several houses, gather up children at each until they were a big gang, then sneak away from the group to come to my house to enjoy a peaceful playtime, lol. His parents always knew where they could find their little introvert :)