I don't know about you but when school started and I had to start looking for childcare, I started scouring every source possible to find out how to start a childcare share. Then, I did it. I got together with all of my mom friends and we really talked about how to start a childcare share. Then we actually started watching each other's kids and it has been great. But, there was a lot of trial and error at first. Now that all the kinks are worked out, I want to share a little bit of my experience and help you moms out there start your own careshares!
1. Ask Your Mom Friends about Their Schedules
Before you go in guns ablazin', the most important thing you need to know about how to start a childcare share is scheduling. It's going to be terrible if you present this idea to your friends and then have to take it all back when you realize that you all have the same schedule! So, before you do anything, my first tip is to ask your mom friends what their schedules look like. Once you have that figured out, you can proceed as planned!
2. Define the Rules
Seriously, be very clear about what the rules of the careshare are. You can't be mad at a mom for stepping on your toes if you haven't set some very clear boundaries. Ask all the moms for input and then get everyone to sign off on the rules. Every mom that you have in your careshare is an adult so this part shouldn't be very difficult. Once everyone is in agreement make sure that everyone gets a copy of the rules so that no mom can claim ignorance if one is broken!
3. Have Mom and Kid Meet and Greets
Once everyone has signed off on the rules and schedules are figured out, let your little ones meet up with the kids that they will be playing with. This way, you can see how they interact. This will also give you a chance to talk to the other moms in your group to make sure that all stances on discipline, play, what to feed the kids and things like that are all clear. Even if it's just friends in a group, a lot of times your friends will have very different stances on child rearing. Make sure they know what your child needs!
4. Make Sure Everyone is up to Date on CPR
Every county in America gives free CPR classes at least once a month, so make sure that everyone in your group is up to date on CPR and first aid to avoid anything serious happening in an emergency. It's also a smart idea to have an emergency plan. That way, no base goes uncovered.
5. Determine Your Childcare Share Type
Are you guys doing date night swaps? A very structured system where everyone has the same schedule every day of every month? Make sure that before anyone starts watching anyone else's child, you are all on the same page about what kind of careshare you are in and what is expected of you!
6. Determine Currency
My careshare is a watch for a watch type. I watch someone on Fridays and Saturdays and those moms watch my son on Mondays and Wednesdays. This is the schedule we will have until this quarter of school ends. But, if you have a date night careshare, you'll want to figure out how exactly each person gets "paid." Is it hour for hour or a watch for a watch? Make sure that everyone knows the currency of your careshare.
7. Hold Regular Meetings
Once everything is established and everyone has gotten into a rhythm, make sure that you hold regular meetings so that anyone can air grievances, talk out anything that they need to talk out or just make changes that need to be made. These meetings don't have to be formal though, they can even be a playdate in the park!
Well ladies, these are my tips for how to start a successful childcare share. Are any of you members of a careshare? Do you have any tips of your own to share? Let me know down below!