A babysitting co-op

August 26, 2008 1:33:51 PM PDT
Child care is rarely a problem with this group. That's because their moms and dads are members of the Prospect Heights Babysitting Co-op. It's a child care solution popping up in neighborhoods all over the country.

Twelve families belong to this one. Everyone takes turns being a babysitter.

Requests are posted on the co-op's special website. The best part is no money is involved.

The program works on a point system.

Every time a parent sits for another family, they earn points that they can redeem when they need a babysitter.

"I would be happy to sit for another family if that means I can have a sitter without having to pay out cash," Andrew Draper said.

Another child-care option is babysitter sharing.

Sheila Lirio Marcelo is the founder of www.care.com. She says her website can help families hook up and share the expense of hiring one babysitter.

"So in general parents try to find each other and say 'Do you need mornings? I need afternoons.' So you can share a babysitter and reduce the costs for you," Marcelo said.

When costs are reduced or eliminated, couples are more likely to get out and have some fun.

"We do things we wouldn't do. We go out more. We do things more at night," Matt Curinga said.

"It's great. You're not counting how much am I spending on top of dinner, on top of everything else I'm spending," Dina Rabiner explained.

Families may also qualify for public assistance when it comes to childcare, so it's useful to check city, county and state agencies to see what's available.

For more information on how to set up your own co-op, please email the Prospect Heights group at phbabysittingcoop@gmail.com.



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