Babysitting has come a long way from the days when parents would have to wait for family to have a free night, hire a neighbor’s teenage daughter (and pray), or stay home every night for fear of leaving the kids with a stranger. Today, there are so many ways to vet and secure babysitting services quickly and easily. Even better, babysitting has become a true participant in “swap culture”—where services can be bartered, traded, or exchanged between trusted and reliable adults. Learn about new ways to save on babysitters with swaps, co-ops, and exchanges—and save on peace of mind by using only sitters from a network you truly trust!
1. Babysitter Exchange
Babysitter Exchange has actually been in operation since 2000, and is still going strong. You can join and participate for free by providing your full name, email address, zip code, and a password of your choice. In addition to finding sitters, you can also use the site to find pet sitters, tutors, in-home help and more.
Sit4Sit is an online co-op that allows you to build a private network of trusted sitters, friends and family members. You can then use this network to request sitting services when you need them. You can also use the online site to log your sitting hours—which you can then use to redeem for sitting hours from other babysitters. Registration is a three-step process that’s free. First, you enter your full name, email address and password. Next, you enter your home address, time zone and country. Finally, as an optional step, you can add friends by entering their email address and a personalized message (this is how you begin to buid your network).
3. Swap Babysitting
Swap Babysitting is a similar concept to Sit4Sit in that you’re creating a personal, private network of trusted sitters made up of sitters you have previously used, friends, and family. “Payment” is made in credits—and participation requires one credit monthly, which means you need to provide one more hour of sitting than you redeem in order to stay active. You also get four credits when you join so you can book a sitter right away. The registration process is a bit more detailed than most swap sites, but the information is only used to help your network interact with you to swap sitting services.
4. Sitting Around
Sitting Around has been featured in Real Simple magazine, WalletPop, The New York Times and others. The site is free to join for sitters and parents (you can pay a small monthly fee if you would like to remove the ads). You can also alternate using paid sitters and free co-op services as you please. The best part of Sitting Around is the ability to create your own trusted circle of sitters you can turn to repeatedly as the need arises.
5. uSit iSit
uSit iSit is billed as “babysitting for the Mobile Mom”—and with its own mobile app, it certainly is taking babysitting into the next generation! uSit iSit is a mobile babysitting co-op that allows you to trade sitting services amongst a close network of hand-picked friends. You can use points to track sitting swaps (one point = one hour of sitting), create circles and invite friends to join, and (best of all) save big on sitting services by swapping instead of paying cash. The free app and all functions require free registration.