This post is sponsored by Little Helper on behalf of The Motherhood, but all opinions are my own.
If you’re anything like me, you already have a handful of friends and sitters that you trust. Let’s call them helpers. When you need help with your kids, you send these people text messages, shoot them an email, or maybe give them a quick phone call, and there’s almost always someone willing to raise their hand to help you. You trust them more than third parties, and only go find more when you run out of options. There are already services that let you find babysitters, dog walkers, and the like… but what about a way to manage these helpers once you have them? This is why Little Helper was developed – to fill this void for the millions of households across the country. This new mobile platform helps you create and manage resources related to your day-to-day household needs and the unplanned events that pop up with little notice. You can think of Little Helper as an extension of sites like Care.com and other listing services to help manage the occasional or ongoing support needs of your family after you’ve found a sitter, mixed with the ability to add parents and neighborhood teens to one simple support network.
Let’s say you need someone to watch your kids after school because you have a sudden doctor’s appointment. Instead of contacting each of your friends and neighbors individually, Little Helper makes the process easier and more efficient in that it lets you send a request to your entire network at once, so a person is able to volunteer their services by their own choosing instead of possibly feeling obligated to help. They may be able to help, but if they can’t, they will likely know someone who can.
HOW LITTLE HELPER WORKS
- Create an account at my.littlehelper.co.
- Build your essential network by adding the email addresses of at least five people you typically ask for help with the kids (neighbors, babysitters, family, etc.) They’ll be invited to join your network.
- Ask for help. Add an event or activity where you’d like someone to watch your kids and request help from the people you’ve invited.
- Once your contacts have accepted your invitation to join the network, they’ll see your event request and either decide to help you or will recommend someone else who they trust who that you can consider adding to your essential network.
- Find ways to help others. Essential networks are more than networks—they are relationships. Relationships are first built on trust but are quickly followed by mutual support and a desire to help. Encourage friends to schedule events and help them get support by growing their network or offering to help directly.
- That’s it. You can keep adding people and support requests as you find and approve and new events come up where you need a little help.
Last week,I was able to listen in on a briefing with Paul Burke, the founder of Little Helper, and had the opportunity to learn all about the service, like what makes Little Helper different than other networks…
- Little Helper is an ‘Ask’ network, where people can go to ask for help and it’s okay because people who are seeing it will be looking at a dashboard full of help that’s needed and they can choose whether to provide it or not.
- Little Helper provides trust and protection and is being kept separate from other social media sites. As networks are becoming larger, this is becoming more important. People are more afraid of sharing things like photos of their kids, because if it happens to be geo-tagged, someone can potentially look at that and go find that child. It makes people uncomfortable. People also don’t want to reach out to a large network and say, “Hey, I need a babysitter,” because then everyone knows that they are going out and left the kids at home.
- Little Helper lets you give and get. If you build your network, share your relationships and offer to help others, you increase the likelihood of getting help when you need it.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR LITTLE HELPER
- It’s not just about babysitting. In the future, there will likely be a broader set of available skills, from pet care to lawn care and other things. These are jobs that teenagers in your neighborhood can do.
- Time tracking and payment management for full-time care are also in the pipeline. How awesome would it be to pay your babysitter with an app? So convenient!
- Barter/credit system to trade time (instead of buying it). People who have money, not time, are willing to give money as payment. People who have time, not money, are willing to give time as payment, which is the case for me most of the time.
- GPS-connected carpooling will allow parents to see where there kids are and make arrangements.
- Add teenagers to the system. There will be a way of getting teenagers and younger kids who are of babysitting age to get into the Little Helper network by way of relationship with their parents.
Do you think you’d benefit from a service like Little Helper?