Why You Should Give Sittingaround.com A Try
Everyone is familiar with national online babysitter resources, those that allow parents to find and hire babysitters and nannies whenever they need them for a fee. Some websites even go beyond child care—they also help their members or users find other service providers such as housekeepers, tutors, senior care givers and pet walkers. Based on the name itself, Sittingaround.com, it is easy to assume that the website is just like the others. While it is true that it does serve the same purpose, this online resource is definitely unique. It will allow you to do something none of its competitors do: become a part of a cooperative where you can exchange sitting services with other parents.
How Sittingaround.com Works
You can use Sittingaround.com in two ways. First, you can use it just like you would use other babysitter resource websites. You can utilize it to find paid sitters, who have their profiles posted on the website. You will be able to determine if they are the right person to watch your kids for you based on the information provided. You also have the option to post a job on the Sitter Job Board. Once you post the request, the available sitters in your area will be the ones to contact you instead of you contacting them. Once you find a sitter you like and one you wish to hire again, you can add them to your Trusted Sitter List.
The second way is what makes the website different from the rest. You can use the website to become a part of a babysitting cooperative or coop, which is basically a group of parents in a neighborhood that trades child care. The parents in this group babysits for one another. However, you will not be paying a parent for babysitting for you. What happens is that you will be exchanging sitting for the other. You can may create your own coop.
Sittingaround.com has a distinct credit system: when you babysit for a parent, you will get points for it; when you need a parent to babysit for you, you will have to use these points. Every cooperative has its own rules for how points are calculated, though usually the number of children and numbers of hours serve as basis. Sometimes, coops give additional points for special considerations, like sitting early in the morning or late at night.
The great thing about Sittingaround.com is that it allows you to use the website both ways at the same time. You need not choose one over the other, so you have a bigger network of sitters at your disposal and you can increase your chances of finding someone in the process. You can send a request to your coop and the paid sitters you are considering, and decide which among your choices is the best one to sit for you.
Advantages of Sittingaround.com
As a parent, you will love the fact that Sittingaround.com lets you get help whenever you need it and still save money, especially if you choose to get help through the coop. Premium membership costs just $15 annually and transactions among parent members of the coop involve the use of points instead of currency. Of course, you will be paying sitters if you choose someone outside your group.
The website also allows you to maintain privacy even if you are a part of a large group. Your public profile, that which is seen by all users, only contains a few impersonal details. Your detailed profile information are visible only to users you trust, like the members of your coop and those you have included in your Trusted Sitter List.
However, probably the best thing about the website is that it promotes community development. You will be encouraged to get to know more and become closer to parents like you in your area, and in turn form bonds of trust. No parent will let just anybody watch their kids, so you and other parents in your area will create a network of people you can trust to babysit your kids.
As Sittingaround.com points out in their website, parents today do not have huge extended families. In the past, parents can leave their kids with other members of their family or relatives while they run errands and do other important things. These days, parents do not have such luxury, with their loved ones usually living a good distance away from them. What the website gives to parents like you is an ‘adopted extended family,’ which your coop actually is. Your neighbors and other people in your area can provide the child care when you need it, and you will be able to repay the favor.
Disadvantages of Sittingaround.com
You would have no problem trusting your kids to your neighbors if said neighbors are your friends and you know them personally. Trusting your kids to just anyone in your neighborhood or in the general area where you live is a different matter. While other parents in your coop can no doubt sit for kids (since they have their own), you have no idea if they can do a good job, even if you will only be gone for a couple of hours, unless you know them well enough. This is most especially true if your kids have special needs and conditions. The same thing applies to paid sitters, but at least they have background checks and certifications.
Another problem with Sittingaround.com is that unlike some websites, it does not process payments for sitters. The users or parents are responsible for paying the sitters after the sit. If there are payment disputes, the parents and the sitter should settle the problem by themselves; the website will not be in anyway involved.
The Verdict on Sittingaround.com
Despite its shortcomings, Sittingaround.com is worth a try. It gives you more than enough options when it comes to sitters thanks to the cooperative and the paid sitter network, so you would have no problem when the time comes that you suddenly need one.