Babysitting Swap Basics & Benefits

The perfect solution for when you need a bit of time away.

I love to date my husband.

While most weeks my husband and I enjoy having Date Nights In, we try to get out of the house every now and again for a “real” date. By far, our biggest struggle with going out for a date is getting childcare.

Sometimes there are complications with finding a reliable babysitter who isn’t intimidated by our houseful of kids. Other times, the cost of paying for a date as well as a babysitter is just too much for our budget.

Over the years, we’ve been blessed beyond measure by friends who will watch our kids for little or even no cost. Words cannot describe how amazing it is to know that our kids are loved by others so completely compensation isn’t needed.

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Yet, there comes a point in time where we want to make sure we’re not taking advantage of these good friends. Luckily, a babysitting swap has recently come to the rescue.

Babysitting Swap Basics

A babysitting swap is just what it sounds like: trading each other’s kids back and forth. The real key is that no money is exchanged in this transfer of children.

The babysitting swap we’re currently a part of originated within a group of close friends. Of the ten couples involved, only a handful of dates had been taken within the previous year. As a group, we decided this wasn’t okay.

Parents need a reprieve from their young children and a chance to reconnect with each other on a regular basis.

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The rules are pretty simple. Each couple puts out a request for child care, including when they would like to go out and a possible time table for the day. Any available couples then offer to babysit.

Babysitting for another family earns you a future date out, whereas going on a date means that you owe babysitting to another family in the future. To simplify matters, each family unit is treated as one date earned or owed, whether you have five kids or one.

Babysitting Swap Benefits

Babysitting swapping fits squarely in the “it takes a village” mentality.

While my husband and I are having a much-needed break from our little ones, I can rest assured knowing that my children are getting taken care of by people I deeply trust. My kids are able to form relationships and strengthen bonds with other adults we see throughout the week. Furthermore, they are able to practice listening and obeying other adults in charge.

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Having other adults who know and demonstrate love for my kids benefits us all. As a parent, I now have a built-in support system when we struggle through the tricky parts of parenting. As children, our kids are grateful for another lap to curl up in when they have a childhood struggle.

Of course, babysitting swap means that children are able to spend time with other children by playing together, creating things, and working through differences. They form relationships with others their own age and continue to learn the necessary skills of how to work out problems with people outside our immediate family.

I can’t say enough amazing things about getting deeply involved with the people around us. Babysitting swap allows us, as a couple, to recoup and be rejuvenated and also gives us the opportunity to learn how to love others’ kids better. It’s easy on our checkbook and the perfect solution for when we’re needing a bit of time away.

Who watches your kids when you need that date night out?

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Jess Wartinger

Jess Wartinger

Jess Wartinger resides in rural New York with her husband and five children. Formerly an early elementary teacher, Jess currently spends her time loving her kids and holding down the fort at home.

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