Most couples realize the importance of dating to keep strengthening their marriage.
However, once you introduce children into the picture, dating takes on an entirely new purpose.
It is even more important to carve out that time to spend together or you may never get time alone.
Unfortunately for many young couples, money can be very tight when you are first married and just starting out, and the idea of paying for night out on the town and the cost of a babysitter can be daunting. Forming a babysitting co-op can make it a lot easier to continue to date!
Setting Up the Co-op
There are several different ways to form the co-op.
One way is to use coupons that you swap with each other when you babysit. This way allows for more flexibility and you can have a larger group.
When you need a babysitter, you contact another family in the co-op and see if they will babysit for you, and then you give them coupons they can cash in when they need a sitter.
Another way is to set up a schedule with each family in the co-op being responsible for sitting at their home each week, on a set night usually Friday or Saturday. Then the other families in the co-op will drop their children off for the evening, and pick them up. It helps to have a scheduled time that all the children need to be picked up by.
Although this does not have as much flexibility, it may help you begin scheduling and going on dates, because you will still need to babysit even if you do not use all of your co-op nights.
Choosing the Families
One key to success in the co-op is choosing a blend of families that will work well together.
It helps to have children that are near each other in age in the co-op. This does not mean that every family needs to have a two year old or a four year old. But if you can find a blend with both older and younger children, it will help the co-op to go more smoothly since one child will not be bored the entire time.
Additionally, you need to keep the number of children in the co-op to a reasonable and manageable size. Generally if you have more than four families it can get complicated, but if you have large families you may need to limit it to two or three families instead of four.
Babysitting on Your Night
It is best to have some sort of structure to the night, especially if you have a large number of children in the co-op.
You can begin the night with free play and allow the children to explore your home. If you have a yard, letting them play outside while it is still light out can really help to make things go better.
After free play, you can have a snack and possibly complete a craft activity. Generally, it is best to put on a movie towards the end of the night, as the children tend to get crazier as they become more tired. This gives everyone a chance to unwind and makes it easier to start having children go home as parents arrive.
Have you tried a Babysitting Co-Op? Does it sound like something you’d like to try?
Heather Green is a freelance writer for several regional magazines in North Carolina as well as a resident blogger for onlinenursingdegrees.org. Her writing experience includes fashion, business, health, agriculture and a wide range of other topics. Heather has just completed research on associates degree in nursing and online nursing programs in nc.