Do you need childcare help for working parents? Are you one of the millions of parents working from home – looking for clever ways to make it easier? Well then you have come to the right place! This is a four part series for parents working from home, learning how to maneuver working at home with childcare, schedules, your daily routine, and keeping up with daily chores. Join me for the 4-Part series for parents working from home!
Your WFH Go-To Guide for Parents Working from Home (because of the Pandemic)
This series is a 4-Part Series. Today we are talking all about CHILDCARE.
To see all the episodes, check them out here:
- Episode 1 – How to Start Working from Home: Expectation, Flexibility, and Planning
- Episode 2 – How to find childcare while Working
- Episode 3 – How to create a work & home routine that works for you
Amidst all the scheduling, kids routines, cleaning the house, organizing life, and actually taking a shower…sometimes we forget that we have to work. Like actually work.
Some of us put in 40 hours. Some of us have a fluid work schedule – long weeks here and short weeks there. Some of us get paid according to how much we work. A slow week = less money.
At the end of the workday, the working is what keeps everything going. Want to afford your kids shoes? Put in more hours. Want to take a vacation? Find a new way to make money on the side (or find a promotion).
It doesn’t stop.
Fortunately though, there are ways to make it easier. Let’s dive in.
(PS. If you are looking for jobs for SAHM moms that can earn you money now, check out my master list here!)
Let’s start talking about childcare help for working parents by asking ourselves some questions.
Childcare help for working parents – what to ask yourself:
When it comes to your family, your internal questions and your family solutions will change a LOT. One season you will be in a great cadence with kids, work, and life…and the next season things fall apart.
My husband and I have gotten very intentional about asking each other weekly questions: Are our children happy? Do we need to make any family changes? Have we had intentional time together recently? What does each person need in the coming week?
These check-ins give you permission to change things up, and make sure the right things are prioritized.
When I am talking to my friends, I try to never say “We always do this…” because there is no “Always”. Things change so much, that each season brings different patterns.
THESE ARE THE QUESTIONS WE ASK OURSELVES:
- What does each child need from us this season?
- Which time of day is the hardest, and what do I need the most then?
- How much money is childcare worth to us?
- How can we keep our family balance and budget as the most important thing?
1. Watching kids while I work
The Questions I ask:
- “How much can I afford per month for childcare?”
- “What season are we in? Do I need to watch them and work?”
- “How will my childcare decisions weigh on our mental health or family dynamic?”
My solution: We have gone through every possible form of childcare during this roller coaster. We have had: no childcare, part-time playtime, part-time babysitters, full-time nannies, preschool, no preschool, family members help, neighborhood mother’s helper, drop-off nursery/daycare….you name it!
Our budget decides a LOT.
I’m not just talking about full-time care budget. But just anything you can set aside per month.
Even if you can swing only $50/month, SET THAT ASIDE and use it for activity box subscriptions, learning education apps, craft materials, new toys, or baby equipment…anything to help you out.
This budget (even if its just a tiny amount) will give you freedom to get help.
Ask yourself what season are you in? If your kids are home, invest in toys and activities to make that easier. Can you get a 10 year old neighbor to help in the afternoon? Spend $20/wk on that. Lean into the season you are in!
If you are needing real childcare but can’t afford traditional daycares/babysitters, here are some tips:
- If your child takes naps, you might only need a babysitter/childcare for the morning hours. Start with this and see if it works.
- My favorite place to find good babysitters & nannies is the NextDoor app for your neighborhood. Also, if you are religious, look at nearby seminaries and theology schools, because they might have listings for their students needing daytime babysitting jobs.
- Ask neighborhood kids if they want to be a mother’s helper – playing with your kids from 4-5 after school/naps.
- Look for drop-in nurseries or church childcare services (Mother’s Morning Out) for flexible childcare morning hours.
2. How To Choose A Child Care Center/Child care providers
The first thing that you need to realize is that you might not need traditional full-time childcare. If you are able to think outside the box and find something that is more custom to your family, go that route! But, if you are looking to choose a child care center near you, start here!
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I need full-time or part-time?
- Close in proximity, or is there space for me to look for good options far away?
- Do I want a nanny or caregiver, daycare, group childcare, early learning program, or mother’s helper?
- Do I need child care assistance or financial assistance?
- Can I use my relatives or grandparents?
- What quality of child care am I looking for?
- Long term or short term?
- What are my options considering child care expenses?
- How much time do I have for enrollment?
- Do I need a low income solution for my family?
- Do I just need temporary assistance?
Do your research and read reviews! I love using the Next Door app, local reviews, and Facebook Groups to help me find the best in my area.
Once I’m ready to start touring schools, daycares, and child care centers, I set up tours and visits with the top locations that I want to visit. This process can take weeks and even months, so allow time to visit all the different locations.
3. What To Look For When Visiting A Child Care Center
My advice? Go with your gut.
There are a hundred things to look for – location, hours of operation, the student to teacher ratio, the day care center or school’s “mission statement”, the amount of time it will take you to drive, and if it fits well with your family.
But at the end of the day, all the details can be perfect on a brochure, but it just might not feel right.
Make sure you take a tour! I have found the best way to look at the all the high quality child care options in your area is to take a tour and see how it feels. Think about your child, your family needs, and go with your gut.
4. Cost of child care programs
Gosh, child care costs so much! Of course things are different depending on where you live, and what kind of childcare you are looking for. But this is what I have found in my area of the country (Denver). These rates are broken down by hour (even the ELCs that require a yearly rate).
|Price per hour|
|Drop-In Child Care Center||$13.50-$17.50|
|Private school early learning center:||$9|
|Public school preschool:||$10|
|Neighborhood high school babysitter:||$12-$15|
Here’s what I’ve learned: Instead of assuming you HAVE to get full time childcare, and you HAVE to pay and go over budget, start with your budget first and your family’s income and find something that fits.
For instance, we typically spend between $500-$700/month for childcare while we work. I can’t afford $1000/month per kid. That’s a lot!
Instead, I have chosen to keep our children in childcare during the mornings, to only pay for 4-5 hours/day. Then, I pick them up at lunch, and let them have play time and quiet time while I work.
(Check out how to teach your kids quiet time here!)
During the summer, if we can’t afford full-time childcare or summer camps, we have chosen to hire a nanny or high school babysitter for the morning hours. This gives me a chunch of time to work in the mornings, and then I’m able to watch them (and enforce quiet time) while I work in the afternoons.
Childcare help for working parents is not easy. Either you spend time working and watching your kids, or you pay a lot. But, you can do it!
5. Working With Nannies
Last summer we had a glorious 3 months of summer fun with the BEST NANNY. We found her on the Next Door App, and met her at a park to “interview her” and see her interact with the kids.
She drove to our house and watched the kids for 4 hours/day. I worked in my office, in my bedroom, or at Starbucks and got a lot done those 4 hours! When she left, we had lunch, and I was able to work and watch the kids for the rest of the day.
(Yay for these tricks to get kids to play by themselves!)
I stand by my previous thought that you need to go with your gut. You will “just know” if a person fits with your family. I know that’s really ambiguous, but you will know. Watch them with your kids. Ask them the hard questions.
I hope you are doing well! I am emailing because _______ gave me your name as a babysitting reference.
We are hoping to hire ____ this summer to babysit our kids, and have been thrilled to meet her. We live near her in ____, and it’s been a pleasure getting to know her.
I’d love to ask you some questions about your experience with _____. I’m going to include them here, but if you’d rather talk via phone, just let me know! I’ll also include my phone number below.
– Can you give me a little background as to how you know _____?
– What ages are your kids, and in what capacity did _____ help take care of them?
– From your experience, was _____ reliable and dependable?
– Did you feel comfortable with _____ driving your kids, taking them to the park, playing with them near water?
– Did you ever have any instances of being nervous with having _____ around your kids?
– I’d love to know if you had experience with her in your home and outside of babysitting, as well!
Thanks so much for answering these questions! Feel free to email back, or just give me a call.
Last thing! You need an easy way to pay your nanny. Because she/he is an employer, you can’t just write her/him a check. You have to have all the legal documentation, and pay quarterly taxes.
We used Poppins Payroll and LOVED it. They created the LLC for us, and took care of all our taxes and tax return paperwork. They used direct deposit to pay our nanny. I would highly recommend.
6. The Right Fit
We have used SO MANY kinds of child care programs while we’ve worked from home. We have had: no childcare, part-time playtime, part-time babysitters, full-time nannies, preschool, no preschool, family members help, neighborhood mother’s helper, drop-off nursery/daycare….you name it!
If we can figure this out, you can to.
Start small. Take on what you and your spouse/partner can handle. Check out all the resources in your area. Don’t be afraid to be selfish for your family, and ask for scholarships, and additional financial resources if you need them.
Chid care expenses can add up fast, and it’s so easy to be overwhelmed when you take into account your income, your household size, your needs for a young child, siblings, babies, all of it!
Know your family. Trust your gut. Start small. You can do it!
Childcare help for working parents – you can do it!
Do you need childcare help for working parents? Are you one of the millions of parents working from home – looking for clever ways to make it easier? Well then you have come to the right place! Start small, and know your family. You can do this!
Make sure you read the next episode here! Episode 3 – How to create a work & home routine that works for you
Read more about parents working from home!
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