It’s a safe bet that if you’re reading this right now, you could use an extra hand in some area of your life. This tumultuous year has thrown us all for a loop, challenging us to overcome obstacles in our work lives and home lives. Creative solutions for making life more manageable, in turn, have risen to the forefront. Accessible, affordable, and high-quality at-home childcare is paramount across all fronts; keeping the country and the economy moving forward, and supporting the working parents, teachers, nannies, and children that rely on that childcare.
Fortunately, finding at-home childcare is easier than you might think. Here are some important tips for finding the right childcare solution for the unique needs of your family.
Sometimes securing the right childcare provider can feel like dating. And we all want to avoid going on a string of unsuccessful dates, right? So, being prepared before your search is critical.
That means establishing a few things upfront:
The rate you’d like to pay
The maximum rate you’re willing to pay
Number of hours per week
Scheduling (set or flexible)
Benefits offered (if any)
Applicant requirements (experience level, CPR-certified, special-needs, tutor training, etc.) \
The number of children and their ages
Job requirements and expectations
The last bullet, job requirements and expectations, is the most important thing to establish in advance. Think through your expectations so that they can be clearly established from day one. Do you expect your nanny or sitter to provide meals, do housework, drive to appointments?
Make a list that describes your ideal candidate and establish your non-negotiables. Maybe your number one need is a nanny who is safety conscious. Or perhaps you’d like a nanny that is bilingual or physically active. Whatever you’re looking for, define it ahead of time. Then, make sure your pay rate appropriately fits the bill. (Or, you may have to make some compromises on your list of expectations.)
The fact of the matter is, much of life is virtual right now. More traditional ways of finding childcare may not be as effective and may not give you the easy and accessibility that you deserve during a time with heightened stress.
Consider exploring a nanny & at-home childcare service that gives you access to a wide pool of nannies, infant caregivers, tutors, and more, screened and vetted to fit your needs. Finding, scheduling, and paying for your childcare shouldn’t be a headache — it should be seamless and virtual.
Additionally, while many of us do our best to limit screen time and minimize virtual connection in the house, this time during the pandemic sometimes requires the opposite. Much of our connection comes from digital interactions.
Oftentimes it’s the video chats with grandma, the family movie nights, and the Zoom calls that help us maintain a sense of normal. So, remember to go easy on yourself if you find yourself relying on digital solutions more than you used to. You’re human!
Establish Your Family COVID-19 Guidelines
This is a big one. Defining clear protocol within your family will help avoid the possibility of working with nannies, sitters, or tutors that don’t match your expectations and comfort-level (or vice versa!) in regard to COVID-19.
Make a clearly defined list of rules and guidelines for inside and outside of the home. Establish expectations for your caregiver and also define what you are committed to upholding for the protection and safety of your caregiver as well.
It Takes A Village
More than likely, your childcare solution will end up looking more like a mosaic than a painting. What do I mean by that? It will be made up of lettered pieces and moving parts. Different solutions for different needs.
You may have kids of different ages attending school virtually, in person, or with a hybrid approach. You may need to partner with other families in your neighborhood or switch off days with members of your own family.
To maintain your sanity, try to remember these two things: (1) The way things are right now won’t last forever. Distanced learning and separation will ease and dissipate in due time. (2) Your best is all you can do. (And sometimes less than your best is still okay.)