Monday, 22 December 2008

Babysitting Clubs

Posted by Bel
from Spiral Garden

Whilst the Co-Op Blog is undergoing some changes, I thought I'd pop in with a timely post. With all of the end-of-year holiday celebrations happening in many parts of the world around now, childcare is something you might need to consider...

A babysitting club is one way to organise a fair system of reciprocal childcare. By formalising childcare arrangements everyone’s needs are better met. Each club will develop its own rules, devised by members at an initial meeting. Each club requires a secretary to keep records of members and points exchanged. Clubs are most often set up between a group of friends, but could also be created between families within a neighbourhood, kindergarten or by advertising locally. Obviously, when the other families are not well known to you, meetings will need to be held initially, until the children are comfortable with each other and their carers.

Here is a list of one club’s rules:
- Organise your own babysitter from the contact list. Ring secretary to arrange payment of points (handy to keep a standard record sheet for all members). Keep your own personal record to check against the quarterly statement. An administration fee may be charged by the secretary, or members may take turns keeping records.
- If children are being cared for over a mealtime, supply children’s meals and snacks (unless otherwise arranged).
- Remember to inform babysitter of any health problems, allergies, rules and contact phone numbers.
- Everyone’s points balance starts at zero. Members should attempt to establish a zero or positive balance before leaving the club.
- Prospective members are required to turn up to a meeting or social get-together to meet other members.

Points
- For the first child – at carer’s home: 2 points per half hour – at child’s home: 3 points per half hour.
- For subsequent children – “half price”.
- Double points after midnight.
- An example: Sue cares for Mary’s two children at Mary’s for 2 hours. Mary pays Sue 18 points, being 12 points for the first child (3 points x 4 half hours) and 6 points for the second child (@ “half price”).
- The points are not dollars, and are only redeemed through reciprocal care.
- When leaving the club you forfeit any points owing to you. Please try not to leave the club owing points.

Members List
- Requires name, partner’s name, children’s names, address, all contact numbers.
- Distributed to each member and kept up-to-date.
- Personal information may be left off if the club is large, for security.

Babysitting clubs are a way of sharing resources fairly amongst like-minded friends. They allow members to access the childcare they need in a system that ensures reciprocal benefit.