Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Free Babysitting - And I don't mean Grandma and Grandpa

Yes, Grandma and Grandpa are great free babysitters and we use them as much as we can, but if you aren't near family, there is also another way to get reliable and free babysitting so that you can enjoy some time alone with your significant other.

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.

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22 comments:

Missy said...

This is a great idea! We've been struggling to know how to go on a date when Grandparents aren't available (who heard of such a thing :-)). Thanks!

the dragonfly said...

Sounds like a really good idea! We just have to meet some more people (with kids) over here...

Mari said...

My sister does this too. It's a great idea and I wish I had thought of it when my kids were young.

Family Adventure said...

Great idea! Now we just have to meet those people :)

Heidi

jennwa said...

O.K. My kids will be at your house Saturday 6:00.

Don Mills Diva said...

That is a great idea - there are always options if you just get organized and think about things logically...

The Q Family said...

That's a great idea. We will try this with our group bible study. We are studying Marriage and we all mention that we need more date nights. Thank you!

Joanne said...

That is a great idea. I remember wishing that we could find friends for our little ones like that.

Praise God, our oldest is sixteen now...my husband and I go out ALOT now. Even if it is just for a few minutes to get a cup of coffee.

That time together is SO important.

Blessings, Joanne

Christine said...

This is a really good idea!

Annikke said...

This is awesome. Thanks for the tips!

carrie said...

That's a great idea! Our problem is, we usually want to go out with our friends too -- so we've found one babysitter who can handle ALL the kids (and bonus, she's our relative, so we can trust her) if she brings a friend.

Good babysitters are like gold!

Teachin' this mommy new tricks! said...

that is a great idea! Thanks for the tip.

Bonnie said...

You are a genius !!!

My Goodness said...

Oh, what would it be like to have TWO dates??

Great idea! :)
Need to do this!!

Kellan said...

Yep - this is a great idea and I have done this over the years myself. I highly recommend this too! TAke care Beth - see you later. Kellan

Jen said...

This is an excellent idea. I will keep my eyes peeled for these type of friends when we move.

Angie said...

Good idea. We have done this with other couples to accomplish our Christmas shopping for the kids.

On a totally separate note - you left a comment on my blog today about the failed pancake puff experiment and it left me quite curious. I did a search on your blog for "pancake" (Nov 2, popped up) and "pancake puff" - nothing. What was the pancake puff experiment?

KEEP BELIEVING

Valarie said...

It sounds like a great idea.....if only there were two other couples that live in Florida that were still young enough to have children living at home with them....... *sigh* I'm not ognna hold my breath.... :)

Cathy said...

This is such a good idea! We don't have any family nearby, so our nights out are few and far between. I do, however, have several girlfriends with kids and a similar dilemma ...

beth said...

My neighbor and I were talking about trying to organize something similar. Great to know that it has worked for you!

girlymom said...

What a great idea. I will have to think through some of the people around here that I could swap with. Thanks!

Daisy said...

We do this and it's WONDERFUL!

We have 3 families in our little group and one family babysits once per month.

It's HEAVENLY let me tell you.