Thursday, September 23, 2010

For People Interested in our Babysitting Co-op

Welcome to the informational blog about our babysitting co-op, The Babysitters' Club. We're happy you found us, and we'd be delighted to meet you to discuss the possibility of joining our babysitting co-op.

What is a babysitting co-op?

Babysitting co-ops take many forms, but in essence, they are all loose associations of parents who have agreed to occasionally look after each others' children.

What is the Babysitters Club?
That's the name of our babysitting co-op, which was formed in 2002 by a small group of parents in Western Queens. The name is based on a popular kids' book. Originally, we were based on the book The Smart Moms' Guide to Babysitting Co-ops, but we have evolved a lot since then.

How does your co-op work?
We are a group of 7 families in the same neighborhood (right on the border between Woodside and Astoria), and our children currently range from babies to first graders. We trade in points - you sit for someone's kids, you receive points, and if someone sits for your children, you "pay" points to the sitter. We keep request sits, schedule sits, and keep track of points on our own private website, so members need to have some basic web-savviness. We meet every two months to discuss our co-op's status and make sure everyone's happy. We do require members to participate at least once a month, and to occasionally assume some co-op responsibilities.

Is a co-op right for me?
If you have a child or children who are under the age of ten, and you have a regular babysitter but would enjoy a break from paying someone to mind your children, you might enjoy a co-op. We find it to be especially useful for people who don't have extended families nearby.

What are the benefits of your babysitting co-op?

Well, the obvious benefits are not paying a babysitter tons of money and having a group of trusted parents to rely on to babysit your kids, instead of a stranger. But there are other intangible benefits: potential playdates and neighborhood friends for your children, networking with parents about local issues, and a stronger, more tightly knit community.

What are the limitations of your babysitting co-op?

We are constantly re-defining ourselves based on our members, so ultimately, the co-op works best when peoples schedules and expectations of the co-op are clear but flexible. We are not a substitute for full-time child care, nannies, or daycare, but a nice complement to them.

Where are you located?
Most of our members currently reside at the border of Astoria and Woodside in Queens. Membership is not at all restricted to just this neighborhood, but members need to be close enough together to facilitate feasible sits.

How can I find out more about joining the Babysitters Club of Astoria Woodside?

Please shoot us an email at to express your interest. After that, we will give you access to our website for your review, and invite you to our next meeting. At that meeting we will answer and ask questions and take it from there.