If you’re fed up with spiraling babysitting costs, and you don’t trust a young adult who does not have children herself, to watch your children, you might want to consider trading babysitter. Basically, the idea is that you select a group of women with children of their own, who will take turns babysitting.
The advantage of trading babysitting is simple: you save money. As well, you might have a higher trust factor, because the women who are watching your children have experience in parenting. Your children are happy, because they are playing with other children that they are familiar with. Also, for the babysitting parent, the time flies because the children play with each other, making babysitting a supervisory role rather than necessarily interactive.
There are disadvantages, as well, to a babysitting switch. You have to set the ground rules up front, so that nobody in the group is taken advantage of. You also have to set rules on what to do with the parent who does not meet the minimum expectations of the group. Therefore, the group initially requires more work than the regular hiring of a babysitter. As well, if you are the enforcement agent for the group, you have to play the “toughie” role, and you may feel uncomfortable doing this, particularly when the parent being reprimanded or even ousted from the group is a family friend.
When you do leave your child with the group, do not assume that they have your contact information. Provide all information to the responsible parent that you would normally provide to a babysitter. This includes: emergency contacts and medical information as applicable such as food allergies. As well, ensure that your babysitter has all the supplies that she will require for your child, for example, diapers, bottles, and so on. Finally, do not assume that the babysitter knows the likes and dislikes of your child, even though your child is friendly with her child- prepare a sheet of personal information about your child to share with the babysitters in the entire group. As well, provide specific scheduling information to the babysitter when you drop off your child; for example, let the babysitter know the last time your child used the toilet facilities, when she/he last ate.