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How do you set up a babysitting circle?

(11 Posts)
Caligula Wed 03-Nov-04 21:43:37

I wasn't sure which section to put this in. Has anybody ever been part of a babysitting circle, and if so, how does it work? Or has anyone been part of one which petered out and didn't work, and if so why?

I'm thinking of setting one up, but haven't got a clue how to go about it. Help please!

Fran1 Wed 03-Nov-04 22:13:58

A nursery i worked in many years ago, had one which the parents organised. I'm wracking my brains to remember how it worked.

I think they had a points system, you sit for one parent and you collect a point, which can be redeemed by anyone in the circle (not just the parent you sat for). So i guess you need someone to keep a central score of points, which could be a bit of a pain for the whoever takes on that job.

Maybe if you are all on the net, you could figure a way of logging points via email?? And i spose requesting a sitter would be good that way too. Send email to whole circle with date you need a sitter and then people don't have to feel guilty saying no over the telephone, and saves a lot of time and phonecalls too!


paolosgirl Wed 03-Nov-04 22:14:31

I'm also thinking of setting one up, and asked my mum about this, as she used to be in one. They got a list together of willing participants, drew up some (basic) rules, and then everyone was given the same number of cardboard discs. Each disc represented an hour's worth of babysitting. You then bought babysitting using these discs, and it ensured that everyone on the list had to babysit at some point, or else they wouldn't have any discs. I think after midnight it became 2 discs an hour. I hope that makes sense! They had a lot of success with theirs. Good luck.

Fran1 Wed 03-Nov-04 22:18:35

Oh thats prob a much more efficient way paolosgirl!!

Do away with my high tech stuff caligula, cardboard discs sound much more sensible!

ponygirl Wed 03-Nov-04 22:18:52

Hi Caligula. We set one up in my village recently. I started a thread about it here . I think there are a couple of others too if you search under archived messages.

I think they're a great idea and so far (about 6 months) it's worked really well and we actually have a social life! Hope there's some useful info in the link, but any questions, please feel free to ask! HTH

Caligula Thu 04-Nov-04 09:24:22

Thanks all. Just one thing about the tokens - how do you stop them being lost (almost inevitable in my case) or forged?!

(Babysitting forging circle envisaged - black market in tokens - suspicions about the number of tokens Mrs X has got when she's only babysat once in the last year- committee raid finds raw materials for forging in the biscuit tin -perhaps I'm being overdramatic? )

ponygirl Thu 04-Nov-04 22:23:58

Funnily enough, my dh raised the forging question too, which prompted similar jokes. I don't think you can legislate against this, but I like to think that if someone was low enough to do this they would already be someone I wouldn't want to leave my children with. I think you have to trust people not to do it and deal with problems as they arrise. Sorry, not very helpful, but we haven't had that problem so far. At least, I don't think so...

As to losing them, they are so precious to me I take *very* good care of them!

KangaMummy Thu 04-Nov-04 22:30:39

I belonged to one a dh made rings from metal and they were sprayed pink.

I ring = 1 hour and 2 rings = 1 hour after midnight

Kept them on shoelace.

Elderberry Thu 04-Nov-04 23:08:42

Hi Caligula

I'm in a babysitting circle and we use points. Everyone has 20 points to start off with. When you go out you lose points and the babysitter gains points - 1 per hour and double after midnight or if the kids are up and need looking after. We keep a book with everybody's points and take it in turn each month to keep the book - not a big deal. If you want a babysitter you ring the person with the book and ask who has the lowest points - you have to ask them first and then next lowest and so on until you find someone who can babysit. It works really well and we've never managed not to get someone. We all know each other and each others kids in the group - there are 10 of us. HTH

lavender2 Thu 04-Nov-04 23:19:46

Have been a member of a babysitting circle for 8 years and have done the tokens bit and it does work....but you know some people actually forged the tokens (it's easily done) we had anothe rway of doing it...a book system which has a list of all the members and you have to write all the hours you do..


1. One person has the book for a month and people have to ring up with their hours

2. There is no charge as it is doing each other a favour.

3.You start with 15 hours and you have to babysit for other people to make it work

4. It is a good sytem and avoids deception and babysitting costs....

btw we have regular meetings in each others we have to open a bottle of wine or two and chat about it iywim...go for it!!

hovely Fri 05-Nov-04 22:17:08

I have just been setting one up, using good advice on earlier threads on MN. Try searching archived messages.
I have made tokens using clip art downloaded from the net, printed as many as possible onto a sheet of paper then had them laminated & cut them up - cost about £1.00 a sheet at prontaprint.
Things to think about - can partners substitute for you? What if there is a last minute cancellation? When if ever will you 'charge' extra - in our case we will have double time after 11 pm and before 7pm. Some people have suggested double time on Saturdays, but i think it will all work out because I'd rather babysit on a Saturday than during the week and we will all have our own needs and preferences. we have had a get together to meet each other, and will have some more with children later.
The biggest problem I am finding at this very early stage is actually getting people to respond to me chasing them up and asking whether they want to be in it or not!

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