I’m a kid swapper. I have a mini-van and I will pack it full of kids. I will carpool and I will get child-free time because of it.
A friend of mine first introduced me to the idea of swapping kids. It started out just by trading off regular play dates and has grown to where I have swapping going on almost every day of the week. I’ve stepped up my swapping to this rate because I’ve started working from home again and I needed the kid free time to work and not pay for childcare.
I like swapping because generally the children I swap in are good kids who get along well with my girls and they all entertain each other and it’s not that much extra work. The one thing that all this swapping does require is some good scheduling skills!
I’ve had a few friends ask me how to actually pull all this off, so I decided to make a blog post out of it. I never would have thought I could take on extra kids, on top of my own, but it’s fun and easy and I LOVE really feeling a part of my community and truly making Berkeley MY Village.
So, here is a little list of the types of swaps I’ve worked out.
1. Friendly play date swaps. You take my kids X hours every other Wednesday (for example) and I'll take yours for the same amount of time the next week.
2. I'll take your kids every Tuedsday am or pm and you take my kid every Friday am or pm.
3. Carpooling- I'll drop off at school 2x per week, you pick up 2x per week- trade drop offs and pick ups.
4. Rotating swap with a number of families. Set up a day of the week and time that works for everyone. Each member takes a turn hosting the swap. 2 adults stay, the rest get to go. Trade off duties on who watches and who is hosting. We cap out at 9 kids/2 adults.
5. Our babysitting Co-Op. Basically, I had a friend that had an idea to get a bunch of families we all trust together to provide free childcare. Every family gets 10 hours to start. Hours are our currency in the form of "hour cards". There are guidelines we all agreed to, safety standards (everyone is CPR trained) we agreed to and we meet once a month to ensure the kids all get to know the other kids and parents. A Google mail group was set up and we just email the details of the requested babysitting gig and someone takes it. You pay for childcare in hours and the cycle just goes on and on. The rotating swap was built out of this group.
This has made my life so much easier and relaxed if you believe it! If it's your thing, give it a go- you could be a swapper too!
I totally appreciate comments and would love to hear from you.