In a babysitting cooperative, neighborhood parents join together to share childcare. Instead of hunting for a babysitter every time you need to go out (and paying too much money!), you can rely on trusted mothers and fathers in your co-op network.
Since co-op members trade time and take turns watching each others' kids, no money is exchanged. At the same time, a babysitting co-op strengthens community ties: Parents gain a reliable support system in their neighborhood, and kids gain regular playmates! Far from a fringe idea, there are hundreds of babysitting coops throughout the country.
This June, the Center for a New American Dream created this webinar How to Start a Babysitting Co-op. Topics include different types of babysitting co-ops, how they work, and tips on how to successfully start your own co-op from scratch.
For more resources and links on how to start one or to find one in your area, see the Center for a New American Dream.
Renai Gallagher (Albuquerque, NM): Gallagher started up a babysitting co-op almost 6 years ago when her son was a year old. Her co-op now includes about 15 families in her neighborhood.
Julie Holland (Berkeley, CA): Holland decided to start a babysitting co-op in 2010. Through the co-op arrangement, she was able to afford childcare for her young daughter and attend classes at the same time.