Here's how it works. Find two families that you trust and get along well with that have kids roughly the same age as your kids. One of the families will babysit all of the kids while the other two sets of parents are free to go out to dinner, a movie, shopping, whatever they want to do. Then the couple that did the babysitting gets two nights out with free babysitting while one of the other couples babysits all three sets of kids.
Pretty simple, right? So for ONE night of babysitting someone else's children you get TWO nights of FREE babysitting for your children. You keep rotating until all three sets of couples have performed babysitting duties once and gone out twice.
When we've done it in the past, we have tried to follow a few simple rules:
1. The kids must come over already having been fed their dinner.
2. We agree to a start time and a stop time so both families are dropping their kids off and picking their kids up at roughtly the same time.
3. There should be a time limit so that all three families get the same amount of babysitting. We use three hours but this could be adjusted to fit the needs of the people in your little babysitting circle. You don't want one family babysitting for a 5 hour stretch one night and then only getting to go out for a three hour stretch when it is their turn.
One other thing to note, it helps if all three families have similar schedules so that it is easy to find evenings to trade off. For example, don't include a family that has a husband that works nights or weekends if you are going to want to trade out on Staurday nights. Or don't start this with a family that has a parent that travels frequently so that they are never able to participate. If all three families have similar schedules it makes it much easier to find weekends that all three families are available to participate.
This has worked great for us and when it's time for my husaband and I to babysit, the kids are having so much fun playing with their friends, there really isn't even that much for us to do!
This works for us! Head on over to Rocks in My Dryer for more Works For Me Wednesday tips.