So it’s been decided: you’re going to start homeschooling your kids this year. You may be feeling the overwhelm of doing something entirely new, but you’re making a terrible situation work—because that’s what parents do. Just because you’re taking over your kids’ education, it doesn’t mean that you have to go it alone. Take some time to plot out what kind of help you need and when you need it.

Gaps In Child Care

Unfortunately, it’s very rare that everyone’s schedule lines up perfectly. Inevitably, there will be gaps in any family’s child care coverage.

Part-Time Care

Just because you’re now in charge of your kids’ education via homeschooling, doesn’t mean that there aren’t other responsibilities you have in or out of the home that require your attention. Let alone, time to yourself. Bringing in a child care professional part-time can help relieve your 24/7 duties. They can assist you with whatever educational project the kids are working on or simply take them outside for “recess” to burn off some physical energy.

Educational Background

It can also help to have another adult with some education experience to support you in educating your kids. Maybe there’s a subject you’ve always struggled with or feel inexperienced with? Finding a child care professional with that type of educational background can help you fill in the gaps.

Child Care Options For Homeschooling

There are a lot of different types of child care options out there. The key is to think about what exactly you need and find the type of help that’s the right fit.

Schooling Pod

It’s a home-schooling hybrid that builds a bridge for families navigating the current school ecosystem currently reeling from COVID-19. Similar to the wave of Family Pods or Quarantine Bubbles, a Schooling Pod pulls together collective resources to address the new hurdles COVID has presented for families with school-aged kids.

Tutors

Is there a subject that your kid always seems to struggle with? Is there a subject you struggle helping your kid with? As a parent, you’re typically asked to be everything to your kids. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Bringing in a private tutor for a specific subject (or that new kind of math) can help both you and your child feel more confident about their education.

Babysitters

Unstructured time to simply play is an important part of your child’s development in addition to their education. Having a go-to sitter to spend time with them outside of educational hours is great for them and gives you time and space to have to yourself.

Virtual Sittings

A virtual sitting is not the same thing as in-person babysitting. A virtual sitting is hiring a professional to engage children digitally for a short period of time. The sessions can be used to assist kids with schoolwork or facilitate an interactive game—like charades. It’s not a replacement for physical care.

With virtual sitting, a sitter can:

  • Help with their schoolwork
  • Play games to keep them occupied
  • Guide them through engaging activities

This child care option is a great one for parents who are working from home and their kids just need a little help working through their schoolwork while they sit on the other side of the room on work calls.

Before You Begin Your Search

Before you post a job or start browsing sitter profiles, there are a few things you should consider to make sure you’re making the most of your child care experience.

COVID-19 Precautions

Consider the health conditions of everyone in your family and their risk of exposure. The purpose of social distancing is to reduce the spread of the virus. Introducing a new person to be in contact with your family shouldn’t be done lightly. It’s important to consider some of the ways your family and the sitter can take precautions to reduce everyone’s risk of exposure.

Know Your Options To Make Child Care Affordable

It’s no secret that child care is expensive and that budgets are tight in every household. While there are many big ideas and long-term options for lightening this burden, there are also a few simple ways that you can make your child care coverage more affordable.

Prepare A Child Care Contract

When it comes to putting your relationship with your sitter on paper, things don’t have to be so complicated. A child care contract is important because it outlines the specifics of your relationship with your sitter. When you have an agreement to refer back to, there’s less confusion for both of you. It gives you the opportunity to clarify expectations and your sitter a chance to have concrete answers to their questions.

Especially during the time of COVID, this is a great way to outline your hygiene and safety practices to make sure everyone is on the same page. For example:

  • Mask-wearing practices
  • Social distancing practices
  • Who’s in your bubble
  • Regular cleaning schedules

Finding Child Care

Finding the right care for your kids doesn’t have to be complicated. Bottom line: clear communication helps everyone get what they need.

Tips To Post An Attractive Job

1. Drive Interest with a Catchy Title

A strong title can make or break your chances of catching a great sitter’s eye. Titles that are too simple or lack specific information will not fare as well as those that include clear information.

2. Include Clear Details & Expectations

What kind of schooling assistance are you hoping your sitter can help with? Each family has different expectations of their sitter’s responsibilities, so spend extra time making a list of child care needs for your family. Here’s a list to get you started:

  • Are you providing a curriculum or are you asking for the caregiver to bring it?
  • Are they just helping your child stay on task, or are they teaching some lessons?
  • Do you need them to: check homework? prep them for quizzes? create practice tests
  • Do you want help filling in education gaps by coming up with and leading your kids through creative projects related to their current work?

3. Talk About Your Family Culture

While it is not necessary to write down your entire family history (and probably not possible in a brief job post), sitters will appreciate if you offer a few small details about your family. Think about what your family values most.

4. Include Information on Rate and Perks

While talking about money isn’t always the most comfortable topic, it’s important to be clear on exactly what rate you expect to pay your sitter. Do your research and learn more about the going rates for sitters in your area.

5. Check Your Spelling and Grammar

Finally, once you’ve written an excellent post that you’re ready to publish, make sure that there are no spelling or grammar errors. Poorly written posts can turn off great potential sitters from being interested in working for your family. Don’t forget to proofread!

How To Interview Child Care Professionals During COVID

The typical interview routine for child care will have to be adjusted to incorporate some important questions and details to ensure your family and the sitter are staying safe and healthy.

Virtual is the New In-Person

Remote interviewing is a great tool you can use in lieu of face-to-face interviews. In a very short period of time, video conferencing has become the primary form of connection in our society. Request to have the interview via a free video-conferencing platform like:

Talk Openly and Directly About COVID-19

The national and local Coronavirus situation will impact the nature of the questions that you have as a parent, and what the sitter may ask you during the digital interview process. Here are a few things to consider discussing:

  • Social and Physical Distancing Practices
  • Potential Exposure Outside of the Home
    e.g. Are parents leaving the home to work?
  • Daily Temperature Checks
  • Hygiene Expectations Entering and Leaving the House

As the situation surrounding COVID-19 rapidly evolves, we strongly encourage you to continue to refer to the CDC and your local municipality (city, county, and/or state) for recommendations of what’s appropriate at this time. Many municipalities have established websites specific to their area’s latest guidance on managing/working during this time.

Have the Sitter Engage with the Kids While on Video Chat

While conducting the video interview and ultimately make the hiring decision is your responsibility, don’t forget about the most important stars of the show: the kids! If the sitter and the kids don’t jive well together, this job might not be the best fit for your family.

While it may be a little more difficult to “meet” the children while interviewing remotely, it’s still an important step for the sitter to familiarize themselves with the kids, and them with the sitter. This will make for an easier transition should you hire them. This is also a great way to see if hiring digital care is an option with this sitter as well.

What Isn’t New

Outside of the above, a lot of interview best practices remain the same for digital interviews.

Offer Competitive Rates
If you’re looking to attract high-quality child care candidates, offer a rate that’s fair and competitive.

Ask for References
Be sure to ask for child care references with both the phone number and email address so you can contact them easily.

Run a Background Check
Running a background check can give you extra peace of mind about your new hire.

Other Helpful Information

As parents, we’ll always take all the help we can get. Here are a few more resources you might be interested in while getting your child care coverage squared away this school year.

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Different Schooling Support

School will look unique to every family this year. That’s why we have multiple guides based on the type of schooling. If things change for you, check out our other child care guides:

In-Person Schooling
100% Remote Schooling
Hybrid Schooling

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