Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sitter Swapping

We've been swapping baby-sitting with our neighbors (to avoid paying an extra $20 a date). This is great for a couple of reasons: 1) the kids have friends their age at this particular house, 2) all new toys to play with, 3) we have to be with each other even if we haven't planned anything. Wow I made that last one sound like a chore. What I mean is, if were up to me to call a baby-sitter every time, we'd only go out 4x a year.

I should remind you it was on one of these occasions that I broke my hand. It doesn't, however, change my mind that this is great.

Here are the rules to sitter swapping:
1. Find a family with (about) as many kids as you - give or take 1, but NOT more than that....otherwise it's not very fair for one of the parties. And don't believe them when they say, "it doesn't matter that you have 4 kids and we have one! We love your kids," because they are lying to you.
2. Decide on the night(s).....we try to swap Friday and Saturday. Sometimes we get in both, sometimes it's a busy weekend with school and/or church activities so neither of us get a date that weekend. Which leads me to number 3.
3. Be flexible. In the past, we've allotted that anytime between 6pm and 10pm their kids can be at our house. If for some reason they need more, it's planned far in advance.
4. Kids need to be fed before the arrival at the other house. I don't ask you to feed my impossibly-picky 3-year old. Don't make me do it to yours.
5. Know the other family's rules and discipline. It saves you time, energy, lawsuits, ...

I think that about covers it.

Tell me, are you strictly Babysitter People so your children can keep their regular bedtime or are you more frugal (ie: cheap, poor), and are willing to fight your kids when it comes to 9am church?

I just need to find someone to meal swap with. Tara, I miss you terribly. I'm teaching preschool today. When and what are you bringing to my house? I'll be hungry by 5.


Natalie* said...

sitting swaps are the best - the only way we can afford to have a date twice a month, that's for sure.
our rules are pretty similar - we do it with just one other family, who have two kids that are our kids' ages. we are totally flexible because of Jay's work schedule and the fact that the other daddy is EQ President and the other mommy and I are both in the YW, which ties us up every Thursday night. We therefore let date night happen what ever night of the week we can - weekends are preferable, but really, when ever our schedules allow is perfect. We say you get 3 hours from when you drop the kiddos - as long as it's pre 7 o'clock. They need to have had dinner and snacks served during play time is totally groovy.
It works out SO well - we feel like we get time together AND the kids get to play with their friends, too. We get two date nights a month - that means 6 hours of no-kiddos time together --- SOOOO worth it - we love our arrangement.

Emma said...

I love babysitting swaps! We've always limited it to 6-8, with a little flexibility, but we have a new group with a new plan. We drop off closer to bed time, and make it a slumber party of sorts (did it last night). That way you can have more time (3 hours or so) and the kids play for a bit and then "sleep" or at least stay in their rooms. Last night both kids fell asleep before we got back at 10:30. We didn't even have to put them to bed! Now we have time to actually catch a movie!

Brian said...

We only let grandparents babysit. Or seminary students. Or beehives and miamaids from the ward. Or another ward. Or people we meet for the first time at Jazz games.

On another note: Why don't we blog-swap with John? We all pick a day and then he has to blog when it is his turn.

Anonymous said...

I told you not to move!!!

Jodie Haney said...

I am a sitter only person because of the bed times. I just can't stand grumpy children...mine or otherwise.

Angela said...

We love date night swaps. Saving money is of course, a huge benefit, but when the kids get to go play at someone elses home it's fun for them too. I get tears and complaints when I hire a sitter, I guess we don't do it often enough.

I like to swap with two families at once, so I get two date nights out of one night of sitting.

We've also tried putting other people's kids down at our house, and it works well... Our kids don't go down so well at other people's homes, oh well, maybe that will come!

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