The definition of a co-op is “a cooperative society, business, or enterprise”. They are such a good idea- I am surprised more people don’t try them. Over the holidays, I organized a little child-care co-op among some friends. Four families participated. Each family took everyone’s kids for a day- about 4 or 5 hours, and in return, they got 3 free days to either work, catch up on things, or catch a movie. The kids had a blast playing at a different house each day with different toys and activities. The parents had glorious time to themselves knowing their kids were well cared for and having fun- and it didn’t cost anything! Even the one day we had to watch all 7 kids in our co-op was easier than I expected. Suddenly the two week vacation was over and we never had to wonder what to do to occupy the kids.
Here are some other easy ways to try a co-op:
- Carpooling– Parents taking turns transporting a group of kids somewhere or co-workers taking turns driving each other is probably the most common type of co-op.
- Date Nights– You watch my kids one night and I’ll watch your kids another night. The kids get a play date, and you can save the babysitter money for a nice dinner and movie.
- Dinner– You make a double or triple batch of dinner and share with someone else. They do the same thing. The more people involved in this co-op, the less nights you have to cook dinner and the more new foods you will likely get to try.
- Chores– You come help me clean out my cabinets and I’ll do the same for you. Chores are more bearable when you do them with someone, and for some reason, it is easier to clean someone else’s house than our own!
- Organize– Help me tackle my garage and I’ll help you do the same. Some jobs might be too big or overwhelming to do ourselves, but become possible if we get some help.
There are so many ways a co-op can help make a person’s life a little easier and save money. Gather a few people you know and trust and set a few ground rules. Make sure the give and take is even and enjoy a new way to get things done!