Sunday, July 29, 2012
The Childcare Swap
My best parenting "hack" is the Childcare Swap. Why this idea hasn't caught on with people like me who don't live around (helpful) family and who don't have a money tree in their yard is a total mystery, because I think it is genius.
We used to have the common problem of not having enough uninterrupted couple time, plus not having enough time alone in our home without the kids. Turns out the Childcare Swap is the free solution to these problems. Love it!
Here's how it works. You find another family nearby, preferably with the same number of kids and with similarly-aged kids as your own. You agree to take care of all the kids at your house for a day, and they agree to take care all of the kids at their house some other day. Simple.
Here's how we arrange it. The family we Childcare Swap with has 2 kids; our boys are 10 months apart, and our girls are 3 weeks apart. Neither family has any helpful relatives nearby. We started doing this last year when our kids were 3.5 and 1.5. When we first proposed the idea, the other family jumped at it.
We watch all the kids at our house once a quarter, usually on a Sunday at the beginning of the quarter. Then, several weeks, later the other family reciprocates. Bizarrely, we've noticed that taking care of all 4 kids is so much easier than just taking care of our own 2 kids - because they are totally entertained by each other all day long. The kids absolutely love it and beg us to put more dates on our calendars.
Today is one of the happy days that the other family will watch our kids at their house, so DH and I are off to have a free, day-long date. Ta ta!
Try it, you'll like it!