COVID-19 has drastically changed the world as we know it! Not only has it altered our personal lives but our professional lives as well. Here are some new realities and what to expect if you are in search of a nanny or sitter during this time:
New Reality #1 | The In-Home Child Care Industry Is Still Evolving
Due to the current state of the world, there has been a shift in the in-home child care industry, as it continues to recover. Some providers have lost jobs, some have left the industry to pursue other work, new providers are entering daily, and others are reentering after taking a break. With so many changes happening, the search and hiring and process can take longer than expected.
- Give yourself time to search.
- Be patient.
- Keep in mind that this is a unique time.
New/Not So New Reality #2 | Vaccines
Vaccine requirements have been around within the in-home child care industry for many years. Families have always asked nannies and sitters to keep up to date with their TDAP and Flu shots. The difference now is the type of vaccine, the emotions attached to it, and how new yet urgent it is. There are still a great number of nannies and sitters who are not open to getting the vaccine for personal reasons.
- Be open about what you’re looking for.
- Ask questions, but be respectful.
- Expect questions to be asked of your family.
New Reality #3 | Building Trust Is Even More Important
Trust is a big component of the caregiver and family relationship and is important—more now than ever. We’re moving from isolation to resocialization and this transition should not be taken lightly. We’re rebuilding our lives around our “new way of living,” so building trust from the start (your job post) is vital for a successful relationship.
- Trust can be built through respectful conversations, open and honest dialogue about the family’s and caregiver’s needs, and effective communication.
- Building trust includes respecting boundaries.
New Reality #4 | Respecting Boundaries
Since the spread of COVID can happen in any place and at any time, this has brought up the need for families to want to know the whereabouts of everyone who will be in contact with their family. Since caregivers are entitled to their private life and you are entitled to keeping your children safe, this brings up tension between family safety and caregivers’ personal life.
- Take time to build a relationship with your caregiver.
- Trust them to respect the needs you vocalized from the interview process.
- Honor their safety needs as well.
New Reality #5 | Plan In Case Of Emergency
With a lot of uncertainties due to COVID, it is important for you to let potential caregivers know about your baseline requirements and your future plans, just in case an emergency arises. Though a lot of families are choosing to send their children back to school, COVID exposure in schools is on the rise, which results in whole classrooms/grade levels being sent home to quarantine, and distant learning being the backup. Communicating with your potential caregiver about your plans in case of an emergency is very important.
- Discuss how flexible the caregiver’s schedule is.
- Find out the caregiver’s comfortability with being around children who are potentially exposed.
- What are the financial details of this kind of backup care?
Bonus New Reality | Working From Home
If you’re working from home during the hours that your caregiver will be caring for your child(ren) in the home, it’s important to continuously communicate how the day will go. Not only are you required to work and need to focus, but the reality is that children tend to act differently when their parents are around (regardless of who’s in charge). Depending on the household, parents can be stricter or more lenient, and children typically adjust, but with both parties in the home at once it has caused a shift in the dynamics.
- Overly communicate in the interview and every day.
- Setting boundaries with your children from the start is vital.
- Discuss adjustments as things evolve and you both learn things.
The bottom line is that with the industry steadily changing, it’s important to be proactive, communicate effectively, be respectful, and find the balance. Caregivers are humans that are passionate about caring for your children. They’re navigating life and learning daily, just as you are. Be upfront about your needs, be patient, and take these new realities into consideration when searching for a new nanny or sitter for your family.