Considering hiring a babysitter or nanny during the coronavirus pandemic, but not sure how to do so safely? Here we share some best practices to evaluate the viability of an in-person childcare relationship and how to manage that relationship moving forward.
Best Practices for Hiring Childcare during COVID-19
- Verify that in-home childcare is allowed in your area. Consult your local city and county government websites.
- Ask COVID-19 related screening questions when hiring a caregiver such as:
- Are you following CDC guidelines on social distancing?
- To minimize the potential for exposure to COVID-19, would you be willing to work with just our family? If so, what minimum hours would you require?
- Would you be willing to have your temperature taken upon arrival at our home?
- To the best of your knowledge, have you been exposed to the COVID-19 virus?
- Are you currently, or have you recently, experienced symptoms that could be related to COVID-19?
- How many families do you currently work for?
- How will you be getting to and from the job?
- Set clear expectations with your caregiver. When hiring, be sure to describe your unique in-home childcare situation, your needs and any rules. For instance, “I will be at home, but I’ll be upstairs. I will make sure my child knows I’m working during that time. It’s okay to take them to the park, but they may not go on the playground and need to stay 6 feet away from other people.”
- Follow CDC guidelines for keeping homes safe. Families and childcare providers should mutually agree to follow safe hygiene practices.
Create an arrival routine for your care provider that includes things such as removing their shoes and coat by the door, washing hands upon arrival, and having a conversation with you about any changes to their health status.
- Check-in regularly. Set up a time each week for you and your caregiver to discuss how things are going. It is a stressful time for everyone and situations change constantly, so make an extra effort to check-in with each other and modify your childcare plans as necessary.
- If a child, a family member or caregiver is sick or has a fever, disclose the information with symptoms and relevant doctor information, to the other party so that families and caregivers can make informed decisions about whether to cancel a job. Specific to the COVID-19, the CDC recommends that people should self-quarantine for 14 days if you have been in contact in the last 14-days with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
More Creative Childcare Solutions for COVID-19
- Shelter-in-place together. Families that have a spare room may offer to have the childcare provider “shelter in place” with them.
- Be exclusive. Caregivers may ask for a minimum number of hours per week to work exclusively with one family or to limit the number of families they work with.
- Offer transportation. Caregivers may ask for rides to and from the family’s home to avoid public transportation.
- Combine groceries. Families may offer to do the caregiver’s grocery shopping with their own to help limit the caregiver’s exposure.
- Try virtual sitting. Families with older children may request “virtual sitting” with a caregiver using video chat (while the parent still remains at home), to keep kids entertained and assist with homeschooling while the parent works.