Choosing Child Care - Individual Care Providers
Types of individual providers
- Babysitters and mother's helpers. Babysitters provide informal in-home care for your
child, such as when you need to run errands or have planned an evening out.
They are usually paid hourly and maintain general household order. But they are
not expected to do housekeeping chores. A mother's helper is similar to a
babysitter but is someone who watches your child while you are
- Relative or family friend. When you
have a relative or family friend care for your child, the formality of the
arrangement is up to you. Some parents need help on occasion or part-time. Others have a detailed arrangement that may or may not
- Nanny. Usually a nanny
cares for one or more children of a single family. Nannies usually have at
least a high school education. Many have college degrees in childhood
education or have completed a special training program. Nannies are considered employees. They may work part-time or full-time in the family's home. For more information, contact the International Nanny Association at www.nanny.org.
- Au pair. Au pairs are
child care providers from a foreign country. They speak English and typically
live with a family for around 12 months. Au pairs usually are young adults (18
to 26 years of age) and often have completed a college degree or are pursuing
further education. Families usually are matched with an au pair through an
Selecting an individual care provider
Have a clear idea about what type
of person you are looking for. It may be helpful to:
- Write down the qualities you want in a
caregiver, such as educational background and experience.
- Look for
- Consider how
having a relative or family friend watch your child could affect your relationship.
There are two basic ways to find an individual child
- Advertise. Talk with your neighbors and
friends about the kind of person you are looking for. Post an advertisement in
places where people in your community look for jobs or services, such as
newspapers, local colleges, churches, or community bulletin boards.
- Use an agencyagency.
Some organizations will help you find child care. Many
nannies and most au pairs are hired with agency help.
It's important to interview potential providers. Use a
phone interview for the initial screening. Ask questions about their work experience, their references, and whether they have questions for you.
When you have narrowed down your selection, conduct a
personal interview with each of your top choices.
Allow enough time for the applicant to be
introduced to your child.
Be sure to check the references of your
top choices. Ask each reference how long he or she has known the provider,
specifics of the provider's duties, and why the employment ended.