Monday, December 10, 2007

Babysitting Exchange

I've had this idea mulling around for quite awhile now, and I thought this would be a perfect place to discuss it. There have been more than a few times when Taber and I haven't gone out because 1) no one in his family was available to babysit; 2) we didn't know of any responsible teenage girls in the area we could trust, let alone with twins; 3) we weren't too excited to shell out the dough to hire a babysitter; 4) we feel guilty having people watch our kids and not paying them; 5) you can't necessarily be spontaneous when a babysitter is involved. I read in a parenting magazine a few months ago about babysitting exchanges and it seemed like a near perfect solution. This particular group of mothers had organized their exchange as follows:
1. You get a group of people you trust together (i.e. mothers in the ward or close friends) that would benefit from the exchange.
2. You all receive equal amounts of "currency" at the beginning of the exchange.
3. When you watch someone's kids, you receive a set amount of currency. When you have someone else watch your kids, you pay a set amount of currency. That way, if you babysit for someone else, you're stocking up babysitting minutes for you.

I know there are a lot of you out there with young babies and it's hard to feel comfortable getting away from all the responsibilities that only you can perform (i.e. breastfeeding, etc.), but I think this would be great even if you just needed a nap, cause I know we could all probably use an uninterrupted nap. Or a trip alone to the grocery store. Or any number of things...Maybe you would be more willing to have someone watch your kids if you didn't feel like every minute you were away from them was costing you.

I found a website that would facilitate an exchange for free. Check it out.

I also found a fairly thorough explanation of how to set up an exchange.

Think about it and then tell me your thoughts. Would you be interested in getting something like this started in our neighborhood/ward?

And sorry that this post excludes some of the Mother's Lounge members because of locality.


Nancy said...

I think it's a WONDERFUL idea, Kim.

We should present it at playgroup, I think. I like the "online secretary" and the "currency based" systems...I think having a person act as secretary would really confuse things...

Nancy said...

And I think this would really help Megan--she needs help, I'm sure, but with her family so far away and the awkwardness of asking people to help out I don't think she gets much.

I think this would be a nice way to get her some nap time!

BriAnneW said...

Hey Gals! I Love the idea, and I think it'll totally go over well in our ward! I'd join today! I'm excited to hear more details!

Anonymous said...

Yeah Nancy, I have been thinking about it for awhile, but then when I heard her testimony yesterday, it kind of made me realize there are probably many more mothers just like Megan in the ward who need help, but just don't feel like they can ask. My heart definitely broke when I heard how much Megan has struggled with becoming a mom. I think we all know what it's like, to some degree. It's tragic that there are so many of us in the same situation and living SO close, but we're so hesitant to reach out. I think this will allow us to ask for help more when we need it, because we know we will be able to return the favor.

The Buchanan's said...

I am totally in!! I think it's a great idea. I usually end up watching other people's kids but I have a hard time asking people to watch my own kids. There has been so many times when Jared & I would have loved to go on a real date but we didn't have anyone to watch Ian so we would just take him with us and we really could use a date without any kids. Or it would be nice to take only one of kids to the grocery store with me, having 2 is hard sometimes. Let me know what I can do to get this going!!

Bonnie Parks said...

We are in too. And if someone just needs someone to help for a little bit and doesn't want to have to bother about the money thing for a quick errand, I'd be happy to watch your kids any time that I can. Also I don't mind going to others' houses or having kids at my house.

Bonnie Parks said...

Oh, and another thing that I have heard of that sounds good, in adition to this idea is a more structured exchange. A few couples work it out to where each couple takes a turn watching all the kids. The rest of the weeks, they get to drop off their kid and go out on a date. Does that make sense? So you can have a regular date night with maybe one night a month watching a bunch of kids.

Anonymous said...

I think I have sent invitations to almost all of you, but for those of you who haven't received an invite that would like to participate, send me an email.

Anonymous said...

There's another site that will help with your exchanges and it's not limited to babysitting.

It's called neighborex (

Check it out.