If you are like me then you know the value of allowing yourself some child-free time. I’d like to keep my sanity please. Whether it be by yourself, a much needed date-night with your spouse, or even to just get the grocery shopping or laundry done without little ones in tow; casual childcare, especially with the going rate of teen babysitters these days, can be a luxury many families just cannot afford. If you find yourself in this boat and are desperate for a mini break, its time to get creative with these childcare alternatives!
Creative Childcare Alternatives That Won’t Cost a Dime
1. Swap Child Care with a Mom-Friend.
If you have friends with children around the same age as yours offer to trade child care with each other. Local mom groups on FB are a great way to make mom-friends and find other parents open to swapping child care. You take the kids one evening, and the other set of parents take the kids another evening, and both sets of parents will enjoy a free night away!
2. Co-op Daycare/Pre-School.
This one is along similar lines as swapping child care with a friend, but the main difference is this is usually run by a daycare or pre-school with licensed ECE’s overseeing the facility where they allow a group of moms to do rotating volunteering shifts in exchange for childcare.
3. Ask Relatives for Help.
If you are fortunate enough to have relatives nearby, this is another great option if you are in need a little “me time”. Aunts and grandparents are often more than happy to watch little ones for free just so they can spend time with them.
4. Church Events.
If you attend church that also has kids activities and day camps, this is a great way to get a free day or night out. Lots of churches have activities for toddler aged kids all the way up to teenagers, so whether you stay for adult activities or head out and do something else, you’ll be glad to know your kids are in good hands.
5. Trade Favors.
If you are like many people and don’t like asking for free help but cannot afford a babysitter, try offering to trade favors. For Example: If you are good at landscaping you could offer to mow the lawn or trim trees. Handy with a wrench? You could offer to change the oil in the car. Or help clean their house…etc…in exchange for an afternoon or evening of child care.
6. Date Night In.
While going out without the kids is preferred, no one says you have to go OUT to have a date night. Why not get creative and have a date-night at home? Whether you have a late candle lit dinner, sit on the porch sharing a bottle of wine, or cuddling on the couch watching a movie…you can still find ways to connect as a couple after the kids are asleep.
I love my daughter more than anything, but I have also learned that allowing myself a little “me time” or time with my partner is a vital part in taking care of myself too. Do you have any other secrets that allow you a little kid-free time to get away that doesn’t break the bank? Share with me and I’ll keep this list updated with fresh ideas!