by Tash Hughes of
term babysitting club implies a group of early teenage
girls sitting around waiting for babysitting jobs to
come in, it is actually something of use to parents!
would like to have more opportunities to get out of the
house together and have some adult fun. However, by
the time you pay for a babysitter on top of dinner and a
movie, it becomes a very expensive night out. So,
unless you have a supply of family or friends willing to
babysit your child(ren) for free, you tend to stay home
for weeks in a row.
forming, a babysitting club instead is another option.
club is essentially a group of parents who share the
babysitting between them. That is, each family earns
babysitting time from the group by babysitting for other
members’ children. Different groups work differently,
counting points or hours or tokens, but the concept is
It doesn’t mean
a direct swap is necessary, which is what makes it more
flexible than just swapping with friends.
Mary babysits Joy’s children so Joy can attend a seminar
one afternoon. The following night, Joy babysits Fred
and Wilma’s three children so they can have a romantic
dinner out. A week later, Fred babysits Mary’s daughter
so Mary can visit a friend in hospital.
the cost and lack of suitable people, belonging to a
babysitting club can give parents some much-needed time
out and support. All members of the club are known,
and often are friends, so you know who is caring for
your child(ren) and there is some comfort in knowing an
adult is there.
Some clubs even
have some checks carried out before accepting new
clubs cater for night babysitting, but daytime sessions
are unlikely to be excluded. This can make them harder
to access for single parents, but some creativity can
get around this. Single parents could take their
child(ren) with them as they babysit, or have the
child(ren) brought to them instead.
and control, clubs are kept to a reasonable size –
usually with a maximum of 20 families. Some clubs will
have an annual administrative fee or will expect members
to rotate the chore of record keeping (ie recording who
has done how many hours.)
starting your own club with neighbours, parents from
Mums group/kinder/school/ sports clubs and people you
know at the park. Otherwise, clubs may be advertised on
community noticeboards, through your council or library,
or ask at community centres/neighbourhood houses.
Tash Hughes is
the owner of Word Constructions and assists businesses
in preparing all written documentation and web site
content. Tash also writes parenting and business articles for
inclusion in newsletter and web sites.