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Psst – free child care

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

Thrifty parents are swapping babysitting or joining sitter co-ops to avoid the $10-an-hour cost of the local teenager's services ...Read the full article

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  1. Basser Basser from Canada writes: Yep, pretty typical of the me first generation. Forgetting that they made there money as a teenager by ... babysitting... Snort snort, 'it's all about me'
  2. Econo Clast from NY, Canada writes: How about some personal responsibility from so called parents these days? Where is it?
  3. Sydney Dyck from Toronto, Canada writes: I was a member of the No Name Babysitting co-op 25 years ago and I'm glad to hear that it is still going strong. It was a great idea to have an adult babysit and also not to have to pay for babysitting. When it was my turn to babysit I enjoyed going out to another person's house and having peace and quiet after the kids went to bed and not have to feel I had to do laundry etc. I made a lot of great friends through the co-op that I still have today. The co-op was also a great way to network in the neighbourhood if you were a new stay at home mom.
  4. Keystone Provincial from NOT Winnipeg, Canada writes: I wonder how many of these moms earned their nickels babysitting as teenagers themselves. Oh, and they can spring for expensive concert tickets, but paying someone to look after their kids breaks their recessionary budgets? Nice.
  5. A C from Albertario, Canada writes:

    'The co-op meetings, held every six to eight weeks, are to be attended by all members. Missing two consecutive meetings without good reason will result in review of membership.'

    I missed two meetings but I had a good reason: I couldn't get a sitter.

    They were all at the freakin' meeting.

    .
  6. Joe V from Canada writes: It's only free if your time is worth nothing.
  7. Cheryl Bloome from Toronto, Canada writes: Econo Clast: In what way is arranging for a babysitter shirking parental responsibility?

    Basser & Keystone: As you're no doubt aware, the economy is bad. If parents feel that arranging co-op babysitting will work better for their economic situation, why is that a problem for you? Perhaps it will mean they can go out and inject money into the economy by going to movies, going to restaurants. I don't understand the objection. My parents sometimes babysit my children. Is this an issue because we're depriving a babysitter of income? Not in my books.
  8. B Reynolds from Canada writes: I swear - some people can find something negative to say about everything.

    Since when has being a parent meant that you had to abdicate personal freedom to stay home with your kids, 24/7?

    Since when is it a crime to come up with innovative solutions to problems?

    To those of you who are so quick to criticize for no reason other than to be mean: may you have a nice day. Seriously.
  9. The Middle Finger ..I.. from Canada writes: Believe it or not, I believe that Revenue Canada would have an interest in the bartering of these taxable services. Normal child care is taxable income as is babysitting income. Enforcement may be another issue but I wouldn't be advertising myself in the G&M.
  10. g m from Summerland, Canada writes: This isn't anything new. Please let's have some news. There's lots of it. Try researching school funding and playgrounds. See how many schools no longer have them -- and why parents are paying for them directly.

    Let's talk about the 4km a Grade 1 child (5 years old) is supposed to be able to walk in order to get to school -- busing is only available if you live more than 4 km away. Let's talk about the environmental cost of all these parents driving their kids to school.
  11. Bart Farquart from Canada writes: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    B Reynolds from Canada writes: I swear - some people can find something negative to say about everything
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    No kidding. What a change to have people helping each other cooperatively instead of squawking like spoiled teenagers for the government to babysit their kids for 'free'.

    Hopefully, as someone has alluded to above, the parents involved won't attract the Revenue Canada ferrets.
  12. Hockeydad London from Canada writes: Funny, hit this one in my morning read. Remember our neighbourhood co-op. Good idea, if everyone pulls their weight. My children are now all teenagers and adults, and I think I still have babysitting time tickets from our experiment. There were too many takers. My wife and I built up babysitting credit hours and could never find those we babysat for available for us. Thing fell apart in about three years. Thankfully, our kids got lost of babysitting work after that!
  13. Keystone Provincial from NOT Winnipeg, Canada writes: Cheryl Bloome from Toronto, Canada writes: Basser & Keystone: As you're no doubt aware, the economy is bad. If parents feel that arranging co-op babysitting will work better for their economic situation, why is that a problem for you? Perhaps it will mean they can go out and inject money into the economy by going to movies, going to restaurants. I don't understand the objection. My parents sometimes babysit my children. Is this an issue because we're depriving a babysitter of income? Not in my books.

    I have no problem with sharing childcare duties with others in your circle. We did it when our kids were young and it's a very helpful option. What bothers me is the tone of the article that seems so smug about shafting some young person out of an opportunity to earn a little money doing something that is within her capabilities at a time in her life when financial independence is not always easily attained. So you'll go out and 'inject money into the economy' but won't consider helping out those who might see a night's earnings as a huge boost. That's what I find bothersome about the article. That, and the fact that this is supposedly 'news'.
  14. Tony . from Waterloo, Canada writes:
    Haven't people being doing this for, like, ever?

    Ok, maybe the organized co-op service might be a bit new (though not really), but honestly, having a neighbourhood friend, aunt/uncle or cousins take care of the kids and then returning the favour? This is hardly groundbreaking!

    Parenting has always been a bit of a communal activity since the dawn of time. Every last one of us was raised by more than just our parents alone.
  15. R. T. from Canada writes: Basser, EconoCast and Keystone, I sense some jealousy here for probably not being able to form their own sitter co-ops in their community. Quite frankly, although some teenagers are fairly responsible, they in no way have the same parenting skill-set, experience, intuition and knowledge that mothers have. I would anyday have my children cared for by an experienced mother, and the fact that this is an exchange of services is an added bonus!
  16. Dodging Wrenches from Ottawa, ON, Canada writes: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Bart Farquart from Canada writes:
    Hopefully, as someone has alluded to above, the parents involved won't attract the Revenue Canada ferrets.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I object to this insult of ferrets! They truly are great little animals...
  17. Rick C from Calgary, Canada writes: So long as I'm not paying to babysit their bratty kids I don't care how they get the job done.
  18. farmer girl from Canada writes: I think it is a great idea! If I lived closer to town, I would for sure be involved in something like this. Right now it is my sisters and parents who look after my kids if I need a favor..... Thanks guys! I also take my sister's little one for her too. Kind of like the honour system.
  19. A person from Toronto, Canada writes:

    Revenue Canada has nothing to do with this. It's called doing someone a favour...it's not a taxable service unless you are being charged. If this were true, I would have to hide the fact that friends and neighbors have helped me shovel snow, move, paint...etc.
  20. ginny smith from Canada writes: First of all, this is nothing new. This is how I was raised many years ago - you found your kids' parents and you organized something. And that was just the norm.

    RT - I'd say you're being unduly harsh on teenage babysitters. We've had a few that we'd trust far more than we'd trust some of the neighbourhood parents... and when you're just 'exchanging' rather than 'paying', it's far harder to make your own parenting ideals known. You basically just 'put up with' what the other parents consider normal....in our case, we don't watch TV (it's never on, not even in the background). We also don't eat junk food and don't keep it in the house. We don't leave our children unattended in the house (which, believe it or not, is what some of the parents in our neighbourhood do with their 6 year olds, rationalizing that they'll just pop over to the neighbour's for a few moments).

    And in general, yes, there is a sort of smug satisfaction in this article, that the moms interviewed (And certainly they are probably not representative of all moms) feel they've pulled one over the 'greedy teenage babysitter' who (gasp!) wants $10./hour for babysitting 4 kids. No kidding. I'd want at least $10/hour for four kids too.
  21. Ivan Wilson from Canada writes: Revenue Canada wasn't interested in half of the crook Mulrooney's hundreds of thousands - does anyone really think they are interested in babysitting swaps??

    Give your head a shake - numbnuts.
  22. MommaBear in BC from Canada writes: Wow, people think $10 an hour is too much to pay for looking after four kids?? Teenagers can get a real job (here they were hiring 13 year olds last summer) that pays $9 an hour, which is a lot easier than looking after kids.

    Unless they are sleeping. My daughter just says NO. She isn't lazy, and she loves kids. But chasing after them for hours on end in the afternoon for $5 or $6 an hour, just isn't fun, unless you are their mother. In which case, you do it for nothing...
  23. Chrissy Simon from Canada writes: Our challenge has been finding teenagers who want to babysit. Most of the responsible ones already have part time jobs in addition to all their extracurricular activities and they're just not available. Swapping child care with a friend with similarly aged children certainly isn't rocket science.
  24. Maplebird - from Canada writes: I think it's great to cooperate with other parents, who tend to have actual experience changing dirty diapers and who know the symptoms of a juvenile fever or the like. No offence to babysitters, some of whom are indeed more reliable than some parents - it's just that I have heard too many stories from parents who have had to cut short their only date in months because the sitter couldn't handle things (i.e. the baby had a fever, etc.), or the sitter simply cancelled. And to those who gripe about supposedly self-centered younger generations, consider this: my generation (Gen X, that is) was raised with these messages - 1) the planet is pretty much in the crapper because of previous generations and we have to save it, and 2) there will be less wealth and more responsibility for us because of the Boomer generation, which has consumed more than any other generation before or since. But I'm no martyr. This young mama needs an occasional night off from saving the planet. And to folks like Econo Clast who claim that younger generations are selfish, think again. A good co-op creates a socially-responsible network of people with similar values and goals. To me, the concept of a co-op is based on some of the simplest and most powerful lessons learned in kindergarten: share and cooperate. As far as I'm concerned, putting these concepts to work is a great way to teach our kids by example. They will learn the importance of shared responsibility and of taking personal time (We have to charge our own batteries before devoting energy to others. Otherwise, we burn out and are no good to anyone). Our kids will spend time in social situations in familiar environments that are close to home. As far as I'm concerned, it's a pretty smart idea (to create a sense of active, responsible community in this day and age - how radical!). Too bad that the article was smug where it could have highlighted the tremendous potential social impact of these co-ops.
  25. Ivan Wilson from Canada writes: Screw the teenagers! The only things that matter are the welfare of the children and the finiancial integrity of the family.

    Somebody else's teenagers are their problem not the parents needing babysitting. Tht's irrelevant.
  26. The Middle Finger ..I.. from Canada writes: A person from Toronto, Canada writes:

    Revenue Canada has nothing to do with this. It's called doing someone a favour...it's not a taxable service unless you are being charged. If this were true, I would have to hide the fact that friends and neighbors have helped me shovel snow, move, paint...etc.

    Ivan Wilson from Canada writes: Revenue Canada wasn't interested in half of the crook Mulrooney's hundreds of thousands - does anyone really think they are interested in babysitting swaps??

    Give your head a shake - numbnuts.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I wouldm't be so quick. If Revenue Canada thought it was cost effective and they could track it, they would be asking for their share.
  27. Jack Rip from Canada writes: Everyone knows the best babysitter is TV. And what better way to prepare your children for the Real World?
  28. Ivan Wilson from Canada writes: The Middle Finger ..I.. from Canada writes: I wouldm't be so quick. If Revenue Canada thought it was cost effective and they could track it, they would be asking for their share.

    A statement of the bleeding obvious.
  29. Angry West Coast Canuck from Canada writes: So it's not FREE at all, it's BARTER. There's nothing free about it. Bloody G&M should really start looking at the quality of their headlines.
  30. Chicky Loo from Canada writes: I don't feel for those teenagers.

    When I was 16 I baby sat two kids twice a week for a whole $4/hr (minimum wage was $6.80 at the time).

    Now that I'm looking for occasional childcare for my little boy (just one kid), these 16 year olds are trying to charge me $10/hr! That's MORE than minimum wage, and those kids aren't even paying taxes.

    So screw those teens, I'll pay my neibour $5/hr for regular daytime babysitting and I'll get my family/friends to watch him on the occasional evening where I have to work late or go out.
  31. Andrea from Vancouver from Canada writes: $10 an hour? Where can I get a sitter for that?! Not here in Vancouver. I'm paying $15 an hour under the table. I'd be thrilled to find someone responsible, kind and decent for $10 an hour.

    As for coordinating with other parents? It's hard to find other people who are willing to look after two extra kids, I find. In fact, it's even hard to set up playdates. Maybe it's just where I live, but I find most people would rather hire a sitter than reciprocate for childcare. And I can understand why...it's exhausting looking after kids all day and then signing on for more.
  32. Kaila E from toronto, Canada writes: stop hating on the teen sitters!

    i'm a university student and have heard a million stories about babysitting experiences/have a few of my own.

    of course teens have to cancel sometimes, but let's not forget to mention childish PARENTS that do not realize, if you say you're going to be home at 12 am on a thursday night - be home at 12, please! don't take a 2 hour detour just because it's "date night", leaving your sitter stuck at your house on a school night.
    don't become angry and upset that the 17 year old you hired can't borrow their parents car to chauffer your kids to swim practice/horseback riding/soccer and back (there goes your whole sitting paycheck in gas money).

    its ridiculous to expect teens to do a job that is MUCH more difficult, time-consuming, responsibility-laden, etc than some part-time cashier gig without paying them at least a little more than minimum wage !

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