Let’s talk about the fundamental rules of the babysitting barter system amongst parents.
1. You should never initiate a barter system with someone you just met. This appears like you’re out right using the parent when most likely, they’re really seeking a companion for their child. This may also discourage the parent from further interaction with your child in an attempt to avoid you.
2. Don’t be too pushy. Initiating a barter system can benefit both parties. The key is not to appear overly aggressive. Some parents don’t need to be a part of a barter system, others may not feel comfortable. No matter the reason, the last thing you want to do is turn into a mob boss and begin issuing threats.
3. Remember it’s not about you, it’s about the children. Yes, you want to go out and have fun or relax, or take an uniteruppted guilt-free nap; but at what cost? If your child isn’t actually friends with the other one, or they are uncomfortable being with the other parent you may want to reevaluate that partnership. Where there’s smoke there’s fire.
4. Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself, “Am I a good babysitter?” If you can’t keep yourself from yelling, swearing and snatching up your own children every minute on the minute, what makes you think that you’ll be able to handle additional ones?
5. Only use the barter system as much as the other person is using it. If you and another parent have agreed to a barter system, then it should be equally beneficial. Think about a Libra balancing their scale. The moment it tips more to one side it’s over and the system will collapse along with your child’s companionship and your “in a pinch” baby sitter.
6. Remember it’s business even when it appears to be personal. I don’t care if you’ve known each other since second grade! Believe me when I tell you watching children can take it’s toll. Always remain courteous and professional when engaged in a babysitting barter system. This is the only way to ensure that the exchange will continue.
If you follow these six easy rules watch your babysitting barter system flourish. Not only that, but more parents will likely want to barter with you. Any parent knows how crucial babysitting options and emergency plans are. Don’t blow it!