Whether you carried your baby under your heart or went through adoption – your little bundle of joy is finally here, and you couldn’t be happier. That is until you realize that in a few short weeks you will have to go back to work. Sadly, the US is one of the very few developed countries that does not offer paid parental leave. As a human, as a woman and as a business owner of a company that provides childcare – I wholeheartedly disagree with that US policy. It’s simply not right.
As a parent, sooner than later, you’ll have to face the harsh reality of leaving your (newborn) child in the care of another person. I might not be able to change the laws, but I sure hope I can help navigate the process of finding the right for your family childcare option.
Where and when to start?
Finding a childcare coverage that works for you will take time. Whether you are interviewing nannies, daycares, or considering another family for a nanny share – give yourself time. Allowing a minimum of three months before you have to go back to work should be enough – two months to do interviews and trial days, and then one month for the trial period.
Which childcare option to choose.
You can’t put a price on the safety and happiness of your child or your peace of mind. And as much as that is true, one of the most critical factors in your childcare search will be your budget.
Which option is the most affordable and which will cost you the most?
Daycares are usually the most cost-effective, with prices starting around $175/week. Prices though vary greatly depending on the neighborhood, and the kind of daycare – home daycares are generally less expensive than Child Care Centers. Although the most affordable, daycares have some limitations:
– long waiting lists – in some places you need to sign up while you are still pregnant to have a chance for a spot;
– age requirements – some daycares only accept children over a specific age;
– not taking in children if “under the weather” – in those cases, parents need additional coverage;
Hiring a nanny will be the most costly. Weekly salary for full-time nannies in NYC ranges anywhere from $700 to $1500, sometimes more. Salaries depend on nanny’s experience, education, language fluency, and number and age of children they have under their care.
Nanny’s rate in a nanny-share scenario is usually higher but split between the two families. In part-time situations, the tricky part is keeping the nanny – the more you offer(paid vacation, sick days, metro card), the more likely that the nanny will stay for longer.
Having a great nanny has a long list of benefits, including your child’s proper development and everyday happiness.
The biggest plus, though, is having a peace of mind knowing your child is safe. Leaving your child will always be hard – trusting the person that stays home with your little one makes all the difference.
You made a decision, picked the childcare option that works for you and now it’s time to schedule interviews. What should you ask? Depending on the childcare option you are going with, here are some pointers:
Take a tour of the space and ask a lot of questions:
– how is all the staff educated?
– is everyone on the staff CPR, AED and First Aid certified (both adult and pediatric) and by which institution? (Some companies accept online CPR – certificates; only in-person courses can provide adequate and practical knowledge applicable in emergencies.)
– what is the child to caregiver ratio?
– how often do kids go outside?
– is there a backyard accesses?
– are all smoke CO2 detectors working?
– are all inspections up to date?
No question is silly or irrelevant!
When interviewing nannies, consider not only their work experience, references but also personality traits and lifestyle. The experience itself means nothing if your ideas about raising children, boundaries, or healthy food habits, does not match your nanny’s childrearing views in any way. Most carrier nannies have their own set of rules – and they may not match your standards.
Here are just a few questions you should ask:
– how did your previous employment end?
– what is your social media policy?
– would you follow our instructions even if you do not agree with it?
– how would you address any arising issues?
a) interviewing for nanny-share
In a nanny-share situation, you will need not only to interview nannies but also families; my advice when comes nanny-share, don’t go into it with your friends, as it is a business situation and sooner then later someone will disagree about something regarding money, time off, boundaries; much easier to resolve issues when the second family is virtually a stranger;
After the interview process and completed trial month – always sign a written agreement. It is much easier to go over the salary, overtime, sick days, vacations right after the trial month then sometimes down the road. And if later on, any issues arise, it’s much easier to solve them if you have something to fall back on.
Another option, when considering childcare, is to hire a nanny agency or babysitting company – like PDN – to conduct the search and/or interviews for you. This will add a bit of a cost but will save you time and give you the best chance of finding a truly great match.
If considering an agency, choose one that will take time to meet with you in person and get to know you. Also, be wary of how they charge fees. Most agencies that charge both families and sitters tend to be very pushy but not deliver the right candidates.
You can download below a complete list of interview question and example of a work agreement that can be tailored to each situation.
Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions!