Part 3: Co-Op
Once we moved out to Las Vegas, I looked for a new community of moms to be part of. I found an established co-op and couldn’t be happier with it!
Now co-ops are more complex than kid swaps, but it’s the same basic principle. The group that I’m in is about 30 moms, but you can do it with 10-20, but I wouldn’t have a group of less than 10 moms.
How it works: There are two shifts Monday through Friday, 9:00AM – 12:00PM and 12:00PM – 3:00PM. Someone always has a shift during these times, so if I have to run an appointment at 1:30PM, I look at our Google calendar to see who has that shift and drop my kids off at their house.
With 30 moms in our co-op, that means I have one shift every 3 weeks.
Crazy right? Just 1 shift and I get to reap the benefits!
What makes it a little more complex is that we use our own “monetary system” to pay for the times that we drop off our kids. Each mom gets tickets that equal to 30 hours, so when I have my appointment and I know it’s going to take 3 hours, I drop my 2 kids off and pay the mom 6 1-hour tickets (3 tickets for each kid I bring).
Then when it comes to my shift the moms who drop their kids off pay me the tickets for watching everyone.
If you know that one week you’re going to be busy and use the co-op system a lot, then you can pick up extra shifts to get some tickets back.
We also decided that our kid to adult ratio is about 6-1. If one day a lot of moms want to drop their kids off at the 9:00AM mom’s shift, someone can volunteer to be the overflow shift.
Again, there are so many opportunities to rack up your tickets again if you do use them often.
Date Night Co-Op
As with our daytime co-op, we also have separate date night tickets and shifts so you and your partner can have that all important alone time.
The tickets are the same and add up to 30 hours. The shifts are Friday and Saturday 5:00PM-9:00PM. Your partner is usually home during these shifts so you two can watch more kids. Which means when it comes to your shift, you’ll be paid more tickets for watching up to 12 kids (if 6-1 is going to be your ratio).
Our co-op also keeps a Google Doc of all allergies each kid has so you don’t have to worry about a mamma accidentally feeding your kiddos something they can’t eat.
We also keep track of what moms have dogs and cats as well as pools, trampolines, etc.
My kids LOVE going to the different co-op houses and playing with their friends!
Daytime and date night co-ops have given me so much peace of mind knowing that I can drop off my kids and know that they are going to be in a safe and loving environment!