4 Ways to Get a Little Bit of Free or Cheap Childcare

I love my kids, I do.  I love having the opportunity to stay at home with them.  But, as someone who teeters on that introvert/extravert line, I can only handle so many questions and chatter.  Sometimes I need a minute to think in my own head, to take a deep breath, to sip and not chug a cup of coffee.  Sometimes I need to do some paperwork or business and I’ve gotta have a little bit of childcare.

  Babysitters are expensive these days, yall! You know daycare is!  Mother’s day out is a good option, but I don’t need that much childcare, just an occasional bit on my own schedule 🙂 

Here are some options for when you need a little breather:

1. Visit an Ikea – People may wonder why I have an intense love for IKEA.  Cool furniture…check….free coffee….double check…..free childcare…..SOLD!  Drop your kids off and peruse around for new silverware and linens.  Have a nice quiet lunch and enjoy the free coffee and wifi at the cafe.  Every Smaland is different, so you will need to call about the restrictions before you go.  All of them require a child to be potty trained and a certain height.  They have care available from 30 m up to 1.5 hours, depending on the facility and the day of the week.  They do have a capacity, so I would not suggest going on busy weekends or holidays.


TIME: 30 minutes up to 1.5 hours

2. Look for Parent’s Night Out – This is something I have discovered recently.  PNO is typically on a Friday or Saturday around 6-9.  Many churches do a monthly parent’s night out for anyone in the community, you don’t have to be a member.  Also look for a PNO at gymnastics centers, bounce houses, drop in childcare facilities, etc.  They charge a wide range of prices depending on what is offered.  I’ve seen from $7 up to $25 per kid.  The best deal will be for someone who has 2 or more kids as there typically is a cap per family.  Usually a kid friendly dinner is served (like pizza) and there some sort of organized entertainment.

PRICE RANGE: $2-$8 per hour

TIME: 3 to 4 hours

3.  Join the YMCA – While this option will be the most expensive, the YMCAs offer so many amazing perks, it’s worth it!  I will have to do another post with all the benefits of the Y, I just want to focus on the childcare portion here.  Our Ys in middle TN offer a family membership around $100 a month.  You can also get a reduced rate based on your income.  We get 2 hours each time, up to 9 hours total per week of childcare.  Sometimes I work out, but many times I take the kids to play and just chill on the free wifi or go to the pool by myself.  You do have to stay on site to use the childcare, so no sneaking out to buy groceries.  If you pay $100, go 4 times a week for 2 hours each, you are getting some cheap childcare for $3.12 per hour.

PRICE RANGE: Monthly membership of $100

TIME:  2 hours at a time, up to 9 hours per week

4.  Find a mom group with a babysitting coop (or start one!) – You can trade off hours with a friend on a regular basis.  No cost, but you will have to take care of someone else’s kids.  There are organized mom groups who have coops.  Most start off with a certain amount of tickets per kids and you can trade off within the group.

PRICE RANGE: Babysit someone else’s kids

TIME: Unlimited possibilities!


So there are a few ideas to get a little mom break 🙂

What about you guys?  Have you had a good experience with any of these?  Any other ideas for cheap childcare?

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