Choosing a Babysitter...

Finding a care giver you can trust and leaving your baby in the hands of someone else is difficult. There are several things to be taken into account before you plan to hire a babysitter. Questions like whether your baby would be safe in the hands of the babysitter or if he or she would be happy with the babysitter would bother you. To find the perfect answer to these questions you need to do a bit of homework to zero in on the perfect babysitter. The first and foremost, while searching for a babysitter think about how long you want to leave your children with the babysitter. The best references generally come from your friends and relatives. Your office colleagues can also be of good help while you are searching for a babysitter. Funny enough, I remember babysitting at 14 years old, but I do not find many parents now willing to leave their baby to a 14 year old – myself included. I much prefer that I have someone capable of driving in case there is an emergency; yes, I know there is 911, but it makes me as a mom feel better that my babysitter has a license. However, if you are in a situation where none of your family, friends and neighbors do not have good suggestions for babysitters, consider looking into the following websites Care.com, SitterCity.com and/or CareNovate to help navigate through the world of babysitters.  Provided below are key benefits for Care.com and SitterCity, but unfortunately I have nothing yet on CareNovate because they were just launched in October 2011. Care.com Key Benefits Secure sitter service but smaller database which can affect more remote towns. Background checks and references available Instant access to sitter profiles Reviews from other...

Child Care Emergency Checklist...

With our new Au pair starting last week, I knew it was time to update our Child Care Emergency Checklist. You might not use a babysitter, care giver, family or friends to watch your children often, but there will be a time when your child is left in the care of someone else; therefore, have the emergency checklist prepared before you need it. Here are some items to include in an emergency checklist. Keep the list on your refrigerator or close to the phone and give a copy to your care giver. Child Care Emergency Checklist Your children’s full names correctly spelled. Your children’s address, ZIP code, and phone numbers. List two addresses if parents live at separate homes. Contact information for each parent, including work and cell phones, name of employers, work addresses, and hours they will normally be there. Please provide the best number to reach the parent at, for my family it is always our mobile phones. The pediatrician’s name and contact information (including address) and the same information for any specialists your children see, along with a notation on what their specialties are. Contact information for the dentist and orthodontist. Drug and food allergies your children have. Local Poison control number. Fire Extinguisher status. If you have one in the home, let the care giver know where it is located. Fire Escape Emergency Route. Medical conditions your children have, medications taken, and danger signs to be aware of for each of those conditions. Your children’s health insurance policy number, the subscriber’s name, and the address and phone number of the insurance company (there’s usually an 800 # or member service number listed on the back of the insurance card). According to Care.com, some insurance companies will allow you to order duplicate...

Choosing an Au Pair

As I mention in my last three posts about child care, this is one of the biggest decision a parent makes when it comes to the wealth fare of their child/children. I have outlined a table of alternative child care if staying at home is not option, including nannies, Au Pairs and day care. As the term Au Pair and nanny are often used interchangeably, it is worth pointing out that, in fact, Au Pairs provide very different childcare support from nannies. When deciding on child care options, I often mixed the two up, so it is common and most likely have to explain to people the difference. Au Pair is a French phrase for “as an equal” – the idea is that an Au Pair becomes a temporary member of the family. When you are choosing an Au Pair, it is recommended that you adopt a similar approach to the one you would use if you were selecting other types of in home (e.g., nannies, babysitters and/or family). Au Pairs are entrusted with the well-being and safety of your children, so it is up to you as a parent to ensure they are capable of performing the tasks involved. It is also up to you as an employer to ensure that you treat them in a fair and professional manner and that they are abiding by the local immigration laws. You can decide on the level of childcare experience and training you would like your Au Pair to have. Similar to the post about choosing a nanny, you and your family need to assess your needs before moving forward with the Au Pair process. How many hours a week will you need the Au Pair to work (from 30 hours to 45 hours)?...

Choosing a Nanny

As a parent, child care is undoubtedly one of your biggest concerns. This can be especially true if you are a two-income family, a single parent family, or in a situation in which you feel you need a little extra help.   The typical advice is to start looking for a nanny eight weeks before you need someone. Between now and then, start talking to people you know with nannies and ask where they found them, what they like/don’t like, etc. and to assess what your family’s needs are as well. Do you want a live-in nanny or live-out nanny?  A live-in nanny is someone who lives in your home full time. A live-out nanny comes to your home during certain times, and may accompany when you go on vacation. How many hours a week you will need a nanny (anymore than 50 generally is too much)? What benefits you want to give and how much vacation time? Is it important to you to have an American nanny, or will a foreigner be OK with you? What will be your parenting philosophies and how important that your nanny believe the same way? What other duties will you want the nanny to perform? Do you want someone with lots of experience and are you willing to pay for that experience? It is also important to consider this in your screening process, since live-in and live-out nannies require some slightly different arrangements. With a live-in nanny, you will need to consider the following issues:  1) Privacy: Your nanny will need her own living space, including bedroom and probably a dedicated bathroom; 2)  Time Off: Even if your nanny is living with you, you will need to provide a couple of days off for the nanny, and certain...

Child Care Alternatives If Staying Home Is Not An Option...

In my prior post about Child Care Can Be Controversial, I mentioned several alternatives if staying home with your baby is not a feasible option. To follow-up on that post, I provided a table below that compares the benefits vs. disadvantages of three (Nanny, Au Pair and Day Care) options side-by-side. Good luck with choosing your child care. Please stay tune for follow-up post on How to Find a Nanny and/or an Au Pair and the cost analysis between the two. Nanny (Via Agency)Au PairDay CareNotesNanny (Via Agency)Au PairDay CareNotes Baby sitting servicesXXFor a Nanny and Au Pair it will require you to pay them the additional going baby sitting rate hourly fee. Background checksXXX Back-up childcare if the care provider is ill or/on vacationXXIf you got through an agency to hire a Nanny, you will get back-up care if you; however, do not expect it if you hire a nanny on your own. ConvenientXXFor example, if my son sleeps in, I do not have to get him up and dressed prior to leaving for work, the Au Pair can do it for me. Cost $300 - $600 per week per child (for 40 hours a week)XYou will be required to pay additional cost for field trips and if you have more than one child attending the Day Care. Cost $347 per week (for 45-50 hours per week)XThis cost includes: room and board, food, gas money, and weekly stipend of $197. Cost $640 - $800 per week (for 40 hours a week)XDepending on the agency and the type of Nanny you will require there might be additional cost including adding another child. Cultural ExperienceXNote: Your child might get cultural experience based on the type of DayCare/preschool you send your child to. FlexibilityXXXIf you are...

Child Care Can Be Controversial...

With the summer right around the corner, parents are starting to think about summer child care options especially for parents of young babies and toddlers.  There are so many options available, but they all come with a price. Although, child care is truly a decision between two parents, it is amazing to me what a hot and controversial topic child care is. People from all walks of life like to chime in and tell you what are the best child care option for you and your family. Some people say, “Be a stay at home mom and it will solve your child care issues.” I can go on and on about why this is not feasible for all; in addition to, pros and cons to almost every child care option (family care, day care, nanny, nanny shares, Au Pair, in home day care, and etc). But this is not what the post is about; it is just a few of my thoughts on child care options and what we found works best for our family. Being a stay at home mom/dad is not necessarily financially feasible option for every family or is not the best for “you” as the parent mentally. I use the word “mentally” meaning that some people (both mom’s and dad’s) are better parents if they work or have another purpose other than being “mom” and or “wife” (whether that be in the home or not).  People might disagree, but I believe a lot of women do not take this into account or factor this into their decision of being a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM); therefore – for some – their self worth tends to suffer and overspills into other areas (e.g., relationship with your spouse). I did extensive research...