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If you ever watched your neighbor's kids and then she returned the favor by watching yours, you've participated in the most rudimentary form of the babysitting co-op. This type of child care is generally used for occasional babysitting, although some full-time child care cooperatives have emerged using a cooperative business model. Parents in a neighborhood get together and design a simple system (usually using points or coupons) by which they will exchange babysitting hours and keep records so that every family can benefit from the co-op and parents have numerous people to call on when the need arises.
- Babysitting budget = $0.00.
- The co-op is neighborhood-based, so you and your children get to know other kids and parents.
- Babysitting co-ops are simple and popular, so there are plenty of models to choose from.
- In general, co-ops focus on occasional babysitting, not full-time child care needs. (And the ones that do take on full-time care involve such complications as capital investment and boards of directors.)
- The success of cooperatives relies on how committed the participants are, which can vary considerably from co-op to co-op.
- You should always have the right to refuse the services of a particular sitter. However, this can lead to hurt feelings and tension among neighbors.
- You have an obligation to provide sitter services yourself in these no-cost co-ops.