It’s Brooklyn’s babysitters’ club! New website helps local parents find free childcare, arrange play dates • Brooklyn Paper

It’s Brooklyn’s babysitters’ club! New website helps local parents find free childcare, arrange play dates

Online play dating: Kids Club website founder Manisha Snoyer hosted a play date with tots Vir, center, and Yuri, right, that she arranged via the online service.
Photo by Trey Pentecost

Goodbye wife swap, hello baby swap!

A new free website makes it easy for borough parents to connect for play dates and find other willing moms and dads to watch their kids, according to its Brooklyn-based creators, who sought the help of dozens of experts to put their platform together.

“We met with 100 families from ‘Bococa’ and developed a website we thought would meet their child-care and early education needs for free,” said Manisha Snoyer, using the unofficial portmanteau to refer to Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens.

Parents who sign up to host one play date a month on the new Kids Club site in exchange receive unlimited access to a calendar of other get-togethers hosted by moms and dads living nearby, which include a healthy number of “movie night and pizza” gatherings, along with arts-and-crafts sessions, board-game playing, egg painting, cooking and baking, and something called a “develop your mindfulness super power” workshop, which Snoyer described as a sort of pint-sized wellness retreat.

“It’s a combination of meditation and yoga,” she said.

Would-be hosts can also fork over $50 to $100 and submit to a criminal background check to assure other moms and dads of their ability, according to Snoyer, who said parents are encouraged to swap kids with folks they know.

Still, some do leave their tots with people they haven’t met, but in those instances, participants typically bond over their shared experience of, well, being parents, the Kids Club creator said.

“We’ve had people book play dates with parents they haven’t met already, but generally their kids are the same age, or go to the same school,” she said.

Carroll Gardens resident Rima Khusainova dropped her 5-year-old, Yuri, off with a stranger she met on the website earlier this month, and everything worked out great — despite her husband’s skepticism — she said.

“He’s French and very skeptical about everything,” she said. “But the lady who hosted it was so nice and sweet.”

More than 80 families from across the borough joined the service since it launched earlier this month, Snoyer said, and she believes that even more residents will take advantage of Kids Club to avoid the burden of paying for babysitters, who can charge moms and dads more than $20 an hour, according to a New York Family report.

“Babysitting can cost up to 20 percent of a family’s income, or more,” said Snoyer. “This will help them meet their child care and early education needs for free.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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