I’ve spent a lot of time with various parents in different stages of their childcare journey. There are the new parents who are just starting out figuring out childcare—the parents who now have multiple kids and need help juggling it all. Right now, the “We never had to think about childcare until COVID” parents are the ones that I’m helping most. Regardless of where you are in your journey, the best place to start is pinpointing exactly what your family wants and need in childcare. Not only will this make the process smoother, but it will help make it work for YOU. Not all families will have the same needs, wants, or even schedules. There will be similarities in some, but everyone is SO different. What matters most is figuring out what works best for your family. In this post, I’m outlining the basic family childcare evaluation. These questions are for the newbies or the ones who are starting to re-assess their childcare situation. If you need ANY help, feel free to schedule a FREE 30-minute session with me.
First off, Are you looking for a Long Term or Short Term Solution?
For some families, they need childcare daily for them to be successful in life. Others need help part-time so moms can get self-care or errands completed without the children in tow. I’ve also worked with families that only need childcare during a specific short term period (6 weeks - 2 years), so a parent could go to school, work towards a promotion, or a life event like a new baby or family member is ill. Especially during COVID, this understanding of your family’s situation is crucial. Currently, there is a lot of nanny contract hires being done due to school being virtual. What happens when the kids go back to school? Do you still have hours to offer, or will the contract end? The answer to this question is just the first significant piece to the childcare puzzle.
What are your Time Needs? Part-Time or Full Time? Date Nights?
This answer won’t just help you determine the price of childcare. It will also help weed out options that might not work for your family. For example, if the hours you need childcare don’t coincide with daycare hours, then that option isn’t feasible for you. The essential part is to figure out the schedule and if you have flexibility. You may realize that you have no flexibility and need specific hours, days, and times.
What is your Budget? Most importantly, is this financially feasible for your family? Childcare is not cheap. I say that as a nanny and a mother. I could go on for days about how it should change and that in some cities, childcare is equivalent to a rent payment each month. But knowing your realistic budget will help you find a reliable long term childcare solution for your child. For some families, this means to adjust their family budgets in other ways so that they can afford a single or better option for their child. For other families, it means changing everything all around. I’ve had parents realize that one person’s entire paycheck and more was going to childcare, so they decided one would stay home with the kids or had family help for free. You are the only person who knows what you can afford.
What do you need most out of this childcare?
First and most obvious: safe and reliable childcare that works for you. This section is more for narrowing down your options and finding your non-negotiables. Do you need someone to deal with virtual learning only? Are you looking for a nanny who has special abilities like experience with disabilities, therapies, allergies, etc? Do you need someone to drive the kids around? Are you looking for your child to learn new languages? You can even take it a step further and discuss what qualifications you desire in a childcare provider. Writing down things like this will help you narrow your childcare search to what you want and NEED.
I promise to do an entire detailed post on the various childcare options soon. I feel like they deserve a real breakdown because they are so different. You will notice I didn’t put Baby-Sitters or Mother’s Helper down on the list because these terms have become synonymous with other terms. I’ve been a nanny in one home and a babysitter in another. The only difference was one house I was working full time for, and the other family was date nights only once or twice a month. It never bothered me because the rate was still the same for both jobs. Mother’s Helper traditionally is meant for a teenager or new nanny who follows Mom’s around being her extra set of hands for everything like errands, chores, and babysitting. It can sometimes be confused for a nanny position. Below I’ve listed childcare options by the most cost-efficient to most expensive.
Daycare Center Childcare - this can also include after school services/clubhouses for older children
Au Pair/Live In Nanny/Manny
Nanny Share or Pod
Live Out Nanny/Manny
If you are still confused or want to ask some specific questions, let's schedule a session with me. I would love to chat and help you figure out your childcare situation.