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How to Start a Babysitting Co-Op

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As soon as my oldest son turned 12, it was like DATE-NIGHT FREEDOM for me and my husband- we finally had a built-in babysitter that we trusted, and one that didn’t cost an arm and leg to afford! Today we are going to show you How to Organize a Babysitting Co-op to take the struggle out of finding a babysitter. You too can have a responsible & reliable babysitter the moment you need one… and your babysitter won’t cost you a thing!

What is a babysitting co-op?

Basically, a babysitting co-op is a group of parents who agree to trade babysitting hours, using a ticket system. When you bring your child to another family’s home, you pay tickets. When you sit for other family’s children, you earn tickets!

It is a trade {instead of pay} system, so you no longer have to hunt down a babysitter or pay out of pocket! And the best part is – you can be assured that your child will be looked after by the BEST type of sitter – another parent you know and trust.

Peaked your interest? Let’s get started!

How to Set Up A Babysitting Co-op

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Step One: Get Your Group of Parents

Decide how many families you want to involve in your babysitting co-op initially. You can always add more later, but at the beginning you will want to have families that you know and trust. Your babysitting co-op can be made up of family members, neighbors, friends etc. These are your children! You want to make sure that they are in the best of care when you leave them in someone’s home.

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Step Two: Get Your Babysitting Co-Op Kit

As the Co-Op organizer, you will want to provide each of the participating families with the materials that they will need to get started. These are all available in our amazing printable pack created by Courtney at All Things Bright and Beautiful. We did all of the work of organizing your Babysitting Co-Op, and all you have to do is print! If you want to make any changes to customize your Babysitting Co-Op, we’ve even included blank stationary-like papers for you to tweak anything you want! We TOTALLY have you covered!

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Step Three: Prepping the Participant’s Packets

The easiest way to keep your Babysitting Co-Op organized is to give each couple in the co-op a binder. In that binder you can place the darling binder cover sheet on the outside and inside include all the printables they need for this Babysitting Co-Op to run smoothly, including: a detailed instruction sheet, the official membership agreement, the description of expectations, the group’s contact information sheet, the individual child information sheet, and the calendar. Yes, our Babysitting Co-Op printable pack comes with ALL of that! You are welcome!

How-To-Organize-A-Babysitting-Co-Op 4Step Four: Prepping the Babysitting Tickets

Along with the Co-Op binder, each family receives 30 hours-worth of babysitting tickets. Each family starts out with 20 1-hour babysitting tickets, 14 30-minute babysitting tickets and 12 15-minute babysitting tickets. In your Babysitting Co-Op Kit, this is conveniently arranged on a printed page, so all YOU have to do is print a page for each of the co-op families. We DO recommend laminating the Babysitting Tickets so they last longer. Hopefully, you will be planning dates and relying on this babysitting co-op for many years to come!

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Step Five: Babysitting Co-Op Paperwork 

Have each of the couples involved fill out the babysitting co-op paperwork & return it to you. As the organizer, you can hold on to the membership agreements for your records and the babysitter notes should be copied and given to all the other families to place in their binders.

  • The Babysitting Co-Op Membership Agreement: This lays out the policies of the group. Participants sign and return to you.
  • Babysitter Notes: This is where the parents can leave details about their child before they plan their dates! Encourage parents to be very descriptive about any medical concerns, behaviors, preferences in discipline, allergies etc. Anything you would need your babysitter to know! Babysitter Notes will be copied and distributed for each family to have.

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Step Six: Set up Your Schedule

For your own babysitting co-op, you can decide what type of schedule you want to set up. We have a calendar with 2 shifts Monday-Saturday 9:oo a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. as well as Friday/Saturday 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. {date night!}. The participating families sign up for shifts (the more consistent the better!). Once all the babysitting slots are filled, make sure that each family involved has a copy of the schedule. You may even want to consider some type of online babysitting scheduler so that everyone can have constant access to the schedule and any changes that may come up!

More Tips For a Successful Babysitting Co-op:

  • Choose your babysitting co-op group wisely! You will be trusting your children into their care. Choose other parents who are responsible, available and who would care for your child as if they were their own!
  • Keep it close! Keep your babysitting co-op members within a reasonable geographic distance. This organization’s purpose is to make your life more convenient – not more difficult!
  • Enlist help! Organizing a Babysitting Co-Op can be a lot of work. Divide out duties and share the load!
  • Use the Babysitting Co-Op often! The co-op works best when babysitting tickets are circulating within the group. If you start to have too many tickets, consider giving up one of your shifts or paying generously next round!

And there you have it: An amazing solution to a typical date night problem! Now you can go out for date night knowing that your children are well cared-for! Plus, you’ll have zero hassle in finding (or paying for!) a babysitter!


Just a re-cap, this 41- Page Babysitting Co-Op Kit includes:

  • Babysitting Co-Op Binder Cover
  • Detailed Instruction Sheet
  • Official Co-Op Membership Agreement
  • Written Expectations
  • Babysitting Exchange Tickets
  • Contact Information Sheet
  • Organizational Calendar
  • Individual Child Information Sheets
  • Child Drop Off Notes
  • Blanks of all the documents so you can personalize your own Babysitting Co-Op!

Get  EVERYTHING You Need To Launch Your Babysitting Co-Op…  for just $12.97!

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