How To Barter For Child Care
James Harvey Stout (deceased). This material is now in the public
domain. The complete collection of Mr. Stout's writing is now at
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can barter for many things which are needed by parents.
- We can
barter for a live-in babysitter.
- We can
exchange babysitting services.
- We can
start our own babysitting co-op.
can barter for many things which are needed by parents. One barter
club has these listings under its "child care" heading: sitting (day,
night, overnight, or weekend), adoption consultant, behavior
consultant, development consultant, foster care, legal rights,
clothing exchange, storytelling, party planning, physical therapy,
mother's helper for newborn -- and classes for kids in crocheting,
knitting, sewing, and other arts and crafts. Of course, if we do not
belong to a barter club, we can barter for these goods and services
in one-to-one deals with other people.
barter for a live-in babysitter. Refer to the chapter regarding
"bartering for housing," to read about the various issues which we
would have to consider in a live-in situation.
exchange babysitting services. Every parent has bartered babysitting
with friends who have little ones. But sometimes the friends are busy
or out-of-town. The solution can be to join a babysitting co-op, or
to start our own. The co-op is like a barter club; we are trading
services instead of spending money.
We can start
our own babysitting co-op. To publicize the group, put some notices
onto bulletin boards, and use the publicity methods which are
presented in the chapters regarding "meeting barterers" and "starting
a barter organization."
- The directory. The directory can include information about the
other members: their phone number, address, availability (e.g.,
"We work at night, but we can babysit during the daytime, except
on weekends"), any special child-care skills (e.g., "licensed
practical nurse") -- and their children (age, gender, etc.).
- The bookkeeping.
- In our co-op, we can create our own units of exchange. Each
"unit" can equal one hour of babysitting.
- The group can have a secretary, to keep a record of these
- We can design our own "money," and print it on paper in
various denominations -- 1 hour, 5 hours, etc.
- We can create a policy for people who quit the group. If
they have received more hours than they have given, perhaps
they can make up the difference by contributing money to the
group, to help to pay for the operating expenses.
- We might allow the members to use the "units" for purposes
other than babysitting. If we decide that one unit equals one
hour of babysitting (which equals $3), we might want to spent
10 units to buy a member's bicycle, for example. We have
expanded the concept of the babysitting co-op into that of a
barter club; now the units can be used to purchase any goods
and services within the group. This practice might be
desirable, because we will be able to get babysitting even if
we would rather give something else in exchange; and, vice
versa, we can offer our babysitting to get something
which we need more than we need a babysitter.
- Guidelines. The members can devise some guidelines which cover
- New members' qualifications, references, and screening. We
can do a background check (including, perhaps, an inspection of
the people's police record). To learn more about prospective
members, we can have a personal interview with them, and we can
interact with them at a meeting of the co-op members.
- Extra credit for babysitting on weekends, or during
mealtimes, or at late hours, or overnight.
- Limits on deficit spending, so that the members do not
receive more than they give.
- Complaints. We need a policy for dealing with complaints
- Treatment of children while they are at another person's
- Children's behavior.
- Violation of other rules.
- Serious infractions which require police involvement.
- Responsibilities of the babysitters. These responsibilities
- Knowing the fundamentals of child care. If we have
children of our own, we have probably had experience with
most situations which might occur while babysitting.
- Notifying the parents as soon as possible if we have to
cancel our agreement to babysit on a particular night.
- Responsibilities of the parents. These responsibilities can
- Giving miscellaneous information about the child: his or
her habits, quirks, bedtime, etc.
- Telling the sitter about the child's problems: medical,
emotional, disciplinary, etc. A child who is very sick
should probably not be left with a sitter.
- Telling the sitter where to contact us. We can also
offer the phone number of our doctor, and other services
(e.g., fire department, police department).
- Returning to pick up our kids at the time when we said
that we would return.
- Providing for the child's material needs: food, diapers,
- Calling the sitter at least 24 hours in advance.