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Baby sitting - am thinking of setting up a baby sitting circle but don't know where to start...any ideas???

(14 Posts)
chocolateshoes Sat 12-Sep-09 20:38:19

Have suggsted to a couple of Mums that we do reciprocal babysitting or set up some kind of 'circle' but I don't really know where to start. can anyone give any advice please- dos or don'ts maybe?


chocolateshoes Sat 12-Sep-09 21:06:39


choosyfloosy Sat 12-Sep-09 21:15:15

We have a local circle and it works like this.

There is a single person who is a contact for the circle.

There is a meeting every 2 - 3 years which all members are invited to, and a written list of rules + a written list of members with phone numbers. People who may be interested in joining can come to the meeting too. They get invited via word of mouth.

Each household joining gets 40 tiddly winks! Each tiddly wink = 30 mins babysitting. In theory you 'pay' more if your children are awake, but in practice this tends not to happen.

Members arrange their own babysitting using the list. In practice I end up asking perhaps three or four people again and again (and I get asked by them).

There's a written rule in our circle that you have to tell the person who asks if it's a man who's going to babysit. I'm quite unhappy with this rule as I think it is unpleasantly sexist. It is usual for the women to do it as the children tend to be more familiar with the women and I prefer to have someone I know in the house with the children.

That's about it! any other qs?

chocolateshoes Sat 12-Sep-09 21:29:13

thanks for that....very useful. So you tend to stick to the sam egroup withing your group? So you can request a partic sitter/ Do you contact them yourself & then let organiser know what is happening so a record can be kept?

strongblackcoffee Sat 12-Sep-09 21:36:32

I'm interested - thinking about trying to start one up locally. Choosyfloosy - can I please be nosey... what sort of things do you have in your rules? Thanks smile

cat64 Sat 12-Sep-09 21:47:22

Message withdrawn

strongblackcoffee Sat 12-Sep-09 21:51:07

thanks, that's quite helpful actually, I think it's really good to have it all in black and white before you start, then it doesn't get difficult at any point. I really like the 'just tea/coffee/biscuits' idea!! (have had situations before where stressing about what to put out for the babysitter, etc.)

cat64 Sat 12-Sep-09 21:58:03

Message withdrawn

choosyfloosy Sat 12-Sep-09 22:02:26

No central record kept - no need really - you hold your own tiddlywinks! If you are running out you can ring the organiser and ask her to drum up some babysitting for you so you can 'earn' some. In practice you just start bugging the people you normally ask to go out more!

Rules include:

how many tiddlywinks you start with
1 tiddlywink per 30 mins
inform people if man going to babysit
sitter should be walked home at end of evening (we are in a city area and live close together)
sitter is allowed to make self tea, coffee and small snack

Not much else needed really.

GreenPeas Sat 12-Sep-09 22:07:24

There's a website called which can save you from tiddlywink madness... I've used it a little bit with a group of mum friends and it was great. You have to have an administrator who sets up the circle and then all the members can access it online to request sitters.

chocolateshoes Sun 13-Sep-09 18:59:13

oh fantastic lots more replies - thanks everyone. Will look into that website GreenPeas. And brilliant idea to leave just tea coffee basics. Found myself mulling it all over when I went to bed last night!

ELR Mon 14-Sep-09 17:56:12


I am in a Circle we all start on 0hrs then go into plus or minus depending on whether you sit or go out.
We have a babysitting group on yahoo and then if you need a sitter you email your request and then whoever can sit will email back, we work on a who ever needs the most hours gets first refusal then if they cant sit its first come first serve. Once an arrangement has been made you organise that directly with the person sitting for you.

We have a monthly social, we all meet and go out for a meal or drinks or go to each others houses for food ect. We take it in turns to organise. We have a yearly Spa weekend too!!! Thisis usually just us the mums. Every so often we have a family social in a park so all the kids and dads get together too.
We have an administrator who updates hours, we just email her when we have sat for somebody she also sends out up to date info like contact details and names of kids ect.
Its great and its only on recommendation that someone can join.
Hope this helps

chocolateshoes Mon 14-Sep-09 21:10:52

thanks - that's really useful. Sounds great & love the fact that you all get together socially as well.

rookiemater Mon 14-Sep-09 21:16:04

Another vote for seriously it is no work at all and no requirement for an administrator or tiddlywinks or nights out together unless you want to off course.

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