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What Is Babysitter Sharing?

Tiffany Smith
Jan. 24, 2018

We'll explain what babysitter sharing is, as well as outline some of the pros and cons for babysitters who go into this type of child care arrangement.

What Is Babysitter Sharing?
Image via Stocksy.com/Kate Daigneault

Babysitter sharing is exactly what it sounds like: It's when families share a babysitter. As a babysitter, don't be surprised if you get this request. Think about it: If you're working for a family in a neighborhood with lots of little kids, it might be easier for everyone to have the same babysitter. All the kids will know her. The same set of rules will apply. The parents know who exactly is watching their kids. Seems like a win-win for everyone.

But, babysitter sharing can have its cons, too. Not all families' schedules are identical and let's face it-you can't be in two places at once. Two or three families may need you for the same night for completely different events. What happens? Competition. The families who share you as their go-to sitter may try to out-price one another to secure your services. Plus, if you are the after-school babysitter for families in the same neighborhood, you might quickly become overwhelmed. New families may hear about the "sharing" and want to participate and before you know it, you go from watching a pair of siblings to chasing a dozen kids. Remember, the most important thing is the children's safety.  If you feel that you are stretched too thin and cannot safely watch the number of kids the families expect you to care for at one time, let the families know. Be proactive and see if you can find some help-if you have a close friend who is up for the job, ask her to interview with the families so you can share the responsibility. 

Another type of babysitter sharing is a babysitting co-op. Typically, families will take turns watching each other's children-earning "points" for every time they act as babysitters. As a family earns more points for sitting, they can redeem these points by having others' watch their kids while they head out to dinner, the movies, or parent-teacher conferences.  So the more points parents earn by taking babysitting shifts, the more often they can have a date night.

Because there is no exchange of money, a babysitting co-op is something families may take advantage of to cut down on their child care costs. Although this doesn't affect a babysitter directly, you should still know what a babysitting co-op is and how it operates.  Sometimes it may be the best solution for families who can't afford to pay for a babysitter all of the time.

>>Have more babysitting questions? Return to the main Babysitting FAQs.


Tiffany Smith has written for All You, Time for Kids and the Boston Globe. And as a former babysitter, she knows a lot about fun games to play with kids. Follow her on Twitter @tiffanyiswrite.

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