Do you sometimes want a night out, maybe a girly night or a date night with the other half and then get put off when you add up just how much it is going to cost you? If you consider the cost of babysitting, cost of taxis and then the entertainment or meal out it can quickly add up.
When I consider the babysitting charges I often just don’t bother going out unless it is a special occasion or promises to be a really good night. I very rarely have a date night with my husband for that very reason. Either he goes out down to play snooker and meet his friends or I go out. Occasionally the children will go to nanny and grandad’s for a sleepover or Dylan is at a sleep over and then I leave Chloe babysitting Erin but we are not at a stage of leaving Chloe and Dylan together. A ten yr old and fifteen year old left together just causes me arguments and I wouldn’t relax anyway.
This is probably the reality for many of us parents and one way to help each other out is by setting up your own babysitting circle. The best way I have found to operate one is by making laminated cards that all say one hour on them. Each member of your babysitting circle then starts off with the same amount. I would suggest 15 hours each. Alongside the cards you need the contact number of each person involved. You then ask someone in your circle to babysit for you and ‘pay’ in your 1 hour cards.
This way each person in the group benefits and each person has to babysit in order to receive more tokens. This babysitting circle could save each person lots of money when you consider you may pay a babysitter £20 per evening. I think this idea would work really well with like minded school mums, NCT mums that you know or a group of friends. It works on mutual trust and everyone doing both babysitting and getting to go out.
The advantages are that firstly it saves you money on babysitting. Secondly you are leaving your children with people you trust and often that know your children well. Additionally you are leaving them in a safe pair of hands because they are parents themselves and will know how to soothe the child that wakes and you don’t have to worry about them inviting friends over the minute you have gone out (no – I never did this as a teenage babysitter – honest).
The only disadvantage is that you return the favour to those in the circle. I don’t see this as a disadvantage though because I wish we still all had a bit more neighbourly and community spirit. it will also enable you to get to know the fellow mums that little bit better.
Are you part of anything like this in your local area?