In this post, I am sharing five of my favorite low-cost babysitting options! When it comes to childcare, everyone wants to know that their children are safe and thriving, but it can be difficult for many families to afford some of the options that are out there. As a full-time mom, these ideas have been helpful to me as I have sought to find pockets of time to regroup and recharge.
Babysitting Swap - Find a friend or a group of friends with whom you could coordinate a babysitting swap. You watch their kids while they watch yours - and vice versa. It is absolutely imperative that you find individuals who are dependable to keep their word and stick to the agreed-upon schedule. Whether you choose to swap kids weekly or monthly, this can be a great [FREE] option! Think errands, doctor's appointments, date nights, the sky is the limit!
Mother's Morning Out - Is there a Mother's Morning Out program offered somewhere in your area? Sometimes these are free, but if not, they are usually offered at a low-cost to families. They can be a great option for kids of all ages and can provide you with some time to tackle your to-do list or walk around Target without your kids in tow.
Trade with Hubby - I have an amazing hubby who is quick to push me out the door in order for me to have a break/time to myself. Why does he do this? Yes, he's wonderful in 1,000 ways, but when we started our family, he very quickly learned that I was a better wife...mom...all-around person when I am able to get a breather. For lots and lots of reasons, daddies need time alone with their children as well and this gives our kids that alone-time with him while I step away for a bit. Everybody wins! P.S. Ladies, make sure you are giving your man time to regroup as well - Do not expect that his time at work...alone time in the car (as jealous as we may be of that at times) is enough for him. Allow the man an evening with his friends...a morning on the golf course...a weekend retreat with his men's group from church. Whatever he needs, make it happen - especially, especially, especially if he is extending the same gift to you as you need it.
Mommy's Helper - This has been huge for us! We have a couple of different young tween/teenage girls who come help me with my little ones while I work on household tasks such as putting away laundry, starting dinner, cleaning the bathrooms, etc. These girls have even helped me tackle my kids at the pool - which with my boys being so close in age, this has been a huge help! In our situation, the girls' parent(s) drop them off at our house (No loading/unloading of kiddos!), and if there would ever be any kind of emergency, I am already at the house and able to assist. This type of situation provides young girls with great babysitting experience - and comes at a lower price than a babysitter. Once again, you definitely want to find find individuals who are dependable to keep their word and stick to the agreed-upon schedule.
Programs - Is there a local chapter of Community Bible Study or Bible Study Fellowship or MOPS near you? Does your church offer Bible Studies or workout class for moms? In the mornings? In the evenings? What about at other like-minded churches in your area? Depending on your schedule, these kinds of commitments can sometimes be a little tricky, but hopefully you have a few options in your area. In adding these types of things to our weekly routine, my kids have had the opportunity to be involved in some great faith-centered classes designed specifically for their age groups. When it comes to this option, I'm not just looking for babysitting, I'm looking for something that will benefit all of us - and I have been thankful to find some options that have provided me with time to focus on my spiritual health/physical health while knowing that my children are learning and growing as well.