21/07/2010 08:07 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Summer Childcare: Swapping With Friends

In our ongoing series of guides to summer childcare, we look at swapping with friends.

How does swapping with friends work?

Basically a group of friends get together to take it in turns to look after their collective children. So one mother might looks after the kids one day, another the next day and so on. if you're really organised you could even draw up a rota, or you can play it by ear.

Best for

Parents who have flexible work hours and a good network of parents with children the same age who, most importantly, get on well together.

  • Your children will hopefully already have a good relationship with the parents involved.
  • Easier to be flexible.
  • Free!


  • Your child has to enjoy the other children's company, not be pushed together because it suits the parents.
  • Potential for conflicting parenting attitudes and fall-outs
  • Not 100% reliable for working parents, eg, if your friend's child is ill.
  • Everyone needs to put in the same amount of time.


Free! Although it will cost you more on your childcare days in food and ice creams and possible excursions.

Tomorrow: childminders

Do you swap childcare with your friends? Does it work for you? Any tips you'd like to pass on?