Babysitting Co-Op: More than "Free" Babysitting
Are you fortunate enough to have friends and family nearby, willing to drop everything so that you can enjoy an evening out, attend an adults-only school function or just run some errands without kids in tow? If you're one of these lucky few, no need to read any further. The rest of you may want to read on.
The typical cost for babysitting in Chicago starts around $10/hr and goes up from there. And a good sitter is tough to find. Our breaking point with sitters cam about three years ago on the night before New Year's Eve when our sitter cancelled at the last minute.
The Northside Babysitting Co-op
Soon after our New Year's debacle, through the NPN discussion boards, we discovered The Northside Babsitting Cooperative, a group now including families from across the city.
Founded more than 20 years ago, the Co-op provides member families access to a pool of "babysitters" at no cost. Co-op parents are the babysitters, ensuring an unmatched level of childcare experience and reliability. The Co-op also serves as a support system, helping make a large city seem a little smaller and more livable for families with children. Membership is limited to 35 families to ensure a strong sense of community.
The Co-op rules include:
- Completing an application, attending an initial meeting and maintaining an up-to-date online profile
- Attending at least one out of every three bi-monthly meetings
- Using the Co-op (by either performing or receiving babysitting services) at least once every two months
- Reporting hours through an online database
To earn credits, a Co-op member may babysit for any other Co-op member, and Co-op members redeem credits for babysitting services from any member family. Babysitting may take place at the children's or sitters home; the two families work out the logistics.
We've found some terrific sitters over the years that we love (and pay) dearly. However, the Co-op has been a godsend for our family. More than just free babysitting, it has provided a network of amazing families whom we enjoy and trust.
To learn more about the Northside Babysitting Co-op, please contact Co-op Coordinator Monica Lasky at firstname.lastname@example.org