The school day hours have never lined up with the typical working hours of parents. There are some jobs that allow parents the flexibility to make their drop-off and pick-up times happen. However, everyone else is left to piece together exactly how the whole family gets where they need to be, when they need to be there. Layer in the life complications of a global pandemic, and it gets a whole lot more complicated. The good news? You’re not alone.

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.

Before School

There’s never enough time in the morning to get everybody ready for the day and arriving on-time to where they need to go. With an extra set of hands in the morning, the parents can focus on their morning exercise routines and getting ready for work while the child care professional focuses on getting the kids dressed, fed, and ready for their day.

After School

There are a lot of things that need to happen between the school bell and dinner every afternoon. Pick up the kids from school, put their things away, probably snacks, get started on homework, look at any work or forms brought home, etc. With the right after-school sitter for your family, they can help with all of this so that all you have to do after work is to sit down to a nice meal with your whole family.

Child Care Options For Before + After School

There are a lot of different types of in-home 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.

Nanny

A nanny is an option for parents who want to personalize and individualize care for their child. Finding someone who you feel comfortable with taking care of your kids requires some thoughtful planning. Start by making two lists with your partner: your must-haves and your nice-to-haves. Knowing what you want and what you’re willing to adjust to is the important first step of finding a nanny. Whatever the details, nannies play an important role in the family dynamic and the process of finding the one for you doesn’t have to be complicated.

Nanny Share

A nanny share is when two (sometimes more) families work together to hire a nanny that will take care of all of their children at the same time. This is an attractive option for families because they still get the personalized care of a nanny, but have another family to help shoulder the cost. You have to find the right family to share with and work out all the details, but if you’re up for a little coordination, this could be the option for you.

Homework Help Sitter

Getting the kids to focus on homework after having been at school all day is no simple task. Especially if you’re just getting home for the day, dinner needs to be made, along with a million other household tasks. That’s where a homework help sitter can step in. Their sole responsibility is to assess what work the kids need to do for the next school day, help them finish it, and make sure their backpacks are packed and ready to go.

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 daily 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 kinds of tasks 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 they just helping with pick up/drop off and entertainment at home?
  • Will they help with meals?
  • Are they helping with homework after school?
  • 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.

More Content

Making the Babysitter’s First Day Go Smoothly During COVID-19
The anticipation of their arrival feels like a kid waiting for Christmas, but what can you do to make sure everything goes smoothly?

Kid-Friendly Face Masks and Tips to Actually Keep Them On
Face masks have become a staple in daily life as we battle through this pandemic. As kids head back to school, how will we realistically get kids to keep masks on all day?

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:

100% Remote Schooling
Hybrid Schooling
Homeschooling

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