We're fortunate that my brother, Dario, and sister-in-law, Grace, live nearby so we can take turns watching each other’s kids and save money on child care. And the kids love the regular playdates with their cousins. But before Dario and Grace moved to the Boston area, it was hard to find other families I trusted who were willing to share care. With the economy the way it is, we’ve had many parents writing in asking us for help around this—so we launched Care Exchange! It's a simple way to find other families in your local area that have similar needs.
Care Exchange is a way for Care.com members to network online, meet each other, and set up times when they want to trade care services for their kids and pets. Think of it as an easy way to start a one-on-one babysitter co-op. Say you want to set up regular dates with your special someone. Now you can post an ad to trade care on weekend nights with another family. They'll watch your kids one evening and you watch theirs' the next. It's a simple trade and everyone wins. Care Exchange is also a great way to save money and your kids will love the chance to have extra playdates.
This concept is already a hit in the mom-world:
"My husband and I frequently sitter-swap with our good friends down the street. Once a month, we drop our son at their house for a romantic Friday night date. Then, the following day, they drop their children at our house for a night on the town. It's a great way to save money and help our children develop close friendships with those in their neighborhood." - Michelle C.
"It has been a very busy and tiring week. Much of what had to get done just didn't. But now I have 2 hours to catch up with as much as I can. You see, I just dropped my daughter off at [a friend's] home. Its not a lot of time but it is something, and its completely guilt-free. No money, no sad faces, it's all good." - Lisa G.
"It's wonderful to have a group of women to depend on in this day in age when most people are becoming more and more disconnected. Friends, flexibility, and free childcare are really fantastic benefits of this wonderful group of women." - Stacey L.
"I love that my children get to interact with so many caring adults, and because of it, experience different personalities and techniques in childcare. They also get to play with children they may not meet otherwise, especially children of ages other than their own... And, of course, I love that none of this costs any money!" - Kristen P.
And it's not just about date nights. You can also use Care Exchange to set up regular care-sharing sessions. If you need a set time to run errands, look for a Care Exchange in your neighborhood and see if anyone else is willing to swap days. You'll get your work done, which is great, but it's also a wonderful way to meet other families with similar interests. Who knows? Maybe you'll meet a new best friend!
We're also letting pet owners use Care Exchange to swap pet care services, so if you've got a furry, four-legged friend, check it out, too. Exchange doggie day care service for vacations, or just set up regular exercise sessions for your pets.
What else is new at Care.com?
We have even more exciting, new offerings. First, we've added lessons to our tutoring service. It's not just about reading, writing, and arithmetic anymore! Now, you can find teachers for your kids and set up private lessons in music, art, sports, drama, public speaking, driver's ed, and more. If you don't see the teacher you want today, check back soon because we're adding more on a daily basis.
We're always looking for better ways for our members to find the babysitters and nannies that fit their families, so we've added a new search function for their profiles. You can now sort by hobbies and interests. Need an athletic, soccer-playing sitter to keep your kids active? Or do you want to find a health nut that knows and loves making wholesome foods? Finding one will be a snap, since you can now look through caregivers' hobbies and interests. And it's a way for babysitters and nannies to add a little extra personality to their profiles.
Be sure to check out Care Exchange, Tutoring and Lessons, and the new ways to find a babysitter or nanny. Once you do, let me know what you think! Post a comment and tell us if you'd be willing to set up a Care Exchange, too.
I hope you're as excited as I am about the new things we have going on here at Care.com! We're always looking to serve you better. Thanks for reading!