So it’s been decided: your kids are going to be doing 100% of their schooling remotely from home. You may be feeling the overwhelm of April 2020, but you have a major advantage on your side this time: the ability to plan ahead. By taking some time to plot out what you need and where you can find it, everyone just might feel a bit more prepared this semester.
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.
Working From Home
In theory, if a parent is home, no child care is needed. However, any parent who has tried working from home while the kids are around (without help) knows that interruptions happen far too often. It’s difficult to focus on something when someone is bursting through the door every 10 minutes with a question or a “desperate” need. When a sitter is around, the parent working from home can actually work.
Working Away From Home
For a lot of parents, their job requires them to leave home. Without someone quitting their job, a child care professional is going to be needed to step in and be with the kids throughout the day as they’re learning from home.
Child Care Options For Remote Schooling
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
4 Helpful Back-to-School Strategies in a COVID-19 World
Even though back to school looks vastly different this year, there are strategies you can use to keep your kids feeling like they’re still on solid ground.
School-At-Home Organization Inspiration
Instead of falling back on the make-shift, school-at-home setup you made in the spring, we’ve got some organization inspiration for you to help start the new year off strong.
School Burnout At Home? A Teacher Shares Her Advice
As someone who cares deeply for the well-being of kids, this public school teacher believes your well-being as a parent is just as important. So she has some encouragement just for you that she can confidently say would be echoed by the teachers you may be currently working with.
Giving In to Screen Time—A Parent’s Dilemma
With so much of school being tied to a screen in addition to keeping kids entertained while parents work from home, the concept of regulated screen time is basically impossible. One mom shares how she’s cutting herself some slack and adjusting her concept of screen time in her home.
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: