5 Reasons Why You Should Join a Babysitting Coop (Instead of Hiring a Babysitter)

It’s a dilemma every parent is familiar with: how to find a good babysitter? Most parents search for babysitters online or through town bulletin boards, hoping to find a sitter they like. But that’s just one part of the problem. Even when you have a go-to sitter, there is the issue of scheduling. And, as all parents know, there are no guarantees that your sitter will be around on any given night.

What most parents don’t know is that there is an alternative to hiring a babysitter: joining a babysitting coop. For a large number of families, babysitting coops solve the childcare problem in ways regular sitters cannot. Because of this, coops are sweeping the country! Is a coop right for you? Read some of the benefits below to find out!

1. Save lots of money. In a babysitting coop, you trade free childcare with other parents. Aside from your membership fee (usually around $25 per year), you never pay a dime for using the coop. Whether you go out once a week or once a year, your babysitting is essentially free.

2. Have a sitter available when needed. If you’re in a babysitting coop with 15 other families, you have 15 potential babysitters. Imagine you need a sitter on a Saturday afternoon. What are the odds someone is available? All but guaranteed. And because your one sit request goes to everyone in your coop, there’s no need to worry about calling or emailing around. Simple.

3. Get higher quality care. Who knows how to look after kids better than another parent? Babysitters can be great, but usually those babysitters are teenagers or twenty-something’s with limited experience – doesn’t compare to someone who already does the job 24 hours a day.

4. Create fun for your kids. My son used to call our coop the “Friends Come Over and Play Club” and with good reason. Whenever we were sitting for another coop family, he treated it like a play date. And when I told him he was having a coop sitter (aka another mom or dad), he clapped with excitement because it meant he got to go to another child’s house to play.

5. Build community. A babysitting coop is an amazing way to get plugged in. You get to know the other families in your coop quite well and in essence, create an extended support network. As new families join your coop, this network continues to grow, providing support and friendship beyond babysitting.

Think a coop is right for you? Browse our SittingAround Coop Directory to find out if there’s a coop in your neighborhood. Or, grab a few friends and start your own!


SittingAround Launches New Babysitter Vetting and Booking Service

BOSTON, MA — For millions of parents, the ever-present stress of finding and scheduling a sitter is about to become a thing of the past.

SittingAround is launching a first-of-its-kind marketplace for vetting, booking, and sharing babysitters.  SittingAround’s Sitter Marketplace takes a modern approach to childcare, leveraging existing social networks to create trust. Parents can build their own robust networks of babysitters and book those babysitters directly on the site.

“As soon as you become a parent, finding a babysitter completely controls your social calendar,” says Erica Zidel, SittingAround Founder and CEO.  “Our goal at SittingAround is to end that. By revolutionizing the way parents both find and schedule sitters, we are going to remove the phrase “if I can find a babysitter” from the parenting experience.”

The SittingAround Sitter Marketplace is the first online sitter tool that utilizes parents’ and sitters’ existing relationships (e.g. friends on Facebook, connections on LinkedIn) to pass trust along the social graph.  Gone are the days of picking up the phone and asking your neighbor for a referral. Now, you can see who she would recommend just by logging in.

The Sitter Marketplace also removes the need to hunt down individual babysitters to check their schedules.  A unique and easy-to-use calendar allows sitters to post real-time availability.

“Until now, babysitting technology hasn’t caught up with how we live the rest of our lives,” says Zidel. “SittingAround is giving babysitting a much-needed modernization.”

Part of that modernization means making it easy and affordable for sitters and parents to make sure others are who they claim to be. SittingAround has partnered with leading employment screening provider, TalentWise, to provide initial background checks to all users free of charge.

The SittingAround Sitter Marketplace officially launched this week in six cities: New York, Boston, DC, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Seattle. Sitters in the six launch cities have been quietly allowed to request an account since December, and SittingAround boasts a waitlist of over 1,000 sitters in these markets. While not officially launched in other locations yet, the Sitter Marketplace is open for anyone to sign up.

About SittingAround

SittingAround, founded in 2011, is a provider of network-based babysitting solutions with a presence across the United States, Canada, UK, and Australia. SittingAround was honored by the White House in 2011 as a company that is “winning the future through innovation” and was featured on the December cover of Entrepreneur Magazine.

Erica Zidel, Founder and CEO