How would you like to go to a doctor’s appointment or go shopping without having to bring your children with you? How about a going on a date with your spouse but not spending more on the babysitter than the dinner? ABFN’s babysitting co-op can help! We are groups of ABFN parents who use a point system to provide childcare for one another. Someone watches your children for you, and in turn, you watch someone else’s children for them. And it’s all free!
Our co-op coordinator can answer further questions by email.
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Frequently Asked Questions
- How does the babysitting co-op work?
- What are the benefits of the co-op?
- Who is eligible to join?
- How do member families get to know one another?
- Are sits restricted to the daytime only?
- Are sits done at my home or the requestor’s home? Can my child(ren) attend sits with me?
- How do I request a sit?
- How do points work?
- Is someone in charge?
- What do I need to join?
- What is required of me once I join the co-op?
Acton-Boxborough Family Network babysitting co-op groups are designed for up to 20 families. These families exchange points for sitting services. The co-op groups share a set of bylaws that detail the specifics of running the co-op and being a co-op member. All members will receive a copy upon enrollment.
The co-op allows:
- couples to have date time
- time for parents to attend appointments, run errands (even while teenage babysitters are in school)
- one-on-one time for a parent/child while other siblings are being cared for—volunteer in an older child’s classroom while a younger sibling has a playdate
- a group of willing sitters—no hunting and begging, or imposing on that one neighbor
- friendships to blossom for the children and parents
- assurance that your child is being cared for by an experienced, nurturing parent
All co-op families must be members in good standing of the Acton-Boxborough Family Network (ABFN).
In addition to other ABFN-sponsored activities, the co-ops plan a few events each month where member families meet and socialize. These events are in members’ homes or public venues; during the day for at-home families, and during the evenings/weekends to include working and school-aged family members.
No, the co-op is for all families whether you stay at home or work. Members exchange sits that work for both parties. There are working parents (full-time and part-time) and stay-at-home parents enrolled in the co-ops. Prior to joining you should consider whether you would be able to do the same amount of sits as you expect to request. You may not use the co-op for regular work-related childcare.
For the convenience of the sitter, daytime sits are typically performed at your own home with your own child(ren). If you accept an evening sit, you will typically go to the employer’s home without your child(ren). Different arrangements are often made with the mutual consent of both parties, taking bed times, nap times, locations, etc., into consideration.
Members send out an email to the co-op mailing list requesting a sit.
When you join the co-op, you start with 12 points. If you have someone sit for your children, you “pay” points at a rate depending on the number of kids, for every 15 minutes of sitting time. (If you sit for someone’s children, you are “paid” the points.) It’s OK to have negative points, but not less than –75.
- For 1 child, 1 point for every 15 minutes (4 points/hour).
- For 2 children, 1.5 points for every 15 minutes (6 points/hour)
- 3 children or more is 2 points for every 15 minutes (8 points/hour)
There are two roles that rotate within each co-op group. The chair and secretary do not receive points or other compensation for their service; everyone takes a turn.
- The chair organizes and runs the business meetings, checks for inactive members, and acts as arbitrator as needed.
- The secretary takes minutes at the meetings and keeps the point spreadsheet. Members report sits to the secretary, who sends out balance reports regularly.
- Please contact the co-op membership coordinator to discuss your interest in the co-op and find out about any openings. If there are openings in more than one group, the coordinator will try to match you with a group where your family would fit demographically, unless you have friends already in a co-op group that has openings.
- We ask that you attend at least one co-op event before joining, so you have a chance to meet other members and their children, and for them to meet you.
- The coordinator will ask you to review the bylaws and complete a babysitting co-op membership form.
If all co-op groups are full, a waiting list will be maintained, and a new group will be formed when the waiting list has five families.
All co-op members must attend a minimum of 2 out of 5 meetings in a year and at least one other event a year, which could be another meeting or a social event. Members must participate in a sit (either as a sitter or employer) at least once every 3 months. Other requirements are detailed in the co-op bylaws.