How Central Ohio families are finding the right childcare during the COVID-19 crisis

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Parents have been waiting for Governor Mike DeWine’s announcement about childcare for weeks and they finally have an answer. Daycare and childcare centers can reopen on May 31st.

“It’s a double edged sword,” said Jennifer Goodman, a parent who needs help with childare.

Goodman hasn’t received her unemployment check and her funds are running low. 

“I need to work to maintain this roof that I have for me and my kids,” she said. “How can I do that without the daycare? I can’t leave them in the house by themselves.”

Megan Gregory is a new mom and she needs help but can’t afford a full-time sitter. So, she found another family who needed help and they went in on one together.

“I reached out to every person I knew,” Gregor said. “Choosing a daycare or finding a nanny, it’s a very stressful situation.”

Aliesha Fullerman is a mom of two and finally decided she needed some help too. She hired one of her children’s teachers who is currently out of work while daycares are closed.

“When she leaves at three everyday, I’m like oh my god please stay longer,” Fullerman said.

For a lot of families, the cost of daycare can get overwhelming.

“It gets tough when you’re paying twice,” Fullerman said. “That’s a big strain on families because daycare itself is already so expensive.”

A lot of parents are still paying and upwards of 75 percent of their daycare tuition and they don’t want to back out in fear of losing their spot when they reopen.

“It went down to 50 percent and now it’s down to 25 percent so it frees up enough funds,” Fuller man said. “So, I’m like, ‘Okay that’s enough money to pay someone to watch the kids a few hours a day.'”

Laurie Katz is a professor of Early Childhood Education and she has some advice for families looking for babysitters or nanny’s right now.

“I think if you’re going to bring a helper into the house, you want to check to see if whoever they live with isn’t an essential worker,” Katz said. “It’s the idea of the germs and bringing those into the house. If you are having the child go somewhere else, you want to make sure they don’t have a lot of children also in the house. I think it’s difficult. You have to give a lot of thought to it.”

And if finances are really tight, Katz says there are ways to find help.

“Work out some deals with some of these people now,” Katz said. “Say, ‘I can’t pay you now, I’ll pay you later.’ You can also do bargaining in terms of, ‘I’ll cook your meals.'”

Some apps to help find sitters or nannys include Care.com, Urban sitter, Bambino sitter, Sitter city, Sitter friends and Juggle.

Katz offered other tips for finding qualified help:

  • Reach out to family and friends
  • See if there are teenagers or college students you know looking for extra work
  • Ask your sitter if they have any training or emergency skills such as CPR
  • Use social media like LinkedIn for professional references
  • Meet the sitter ahead of time and introduce them to your children while you’re home

When it comes to safety, websites like Care.com and apps like Bambino do background checks for you but there are ways parents can do their own research such as using the state’s website to look up predators and do some digging online, especially on social media.

Most apps don’t allow anyone under 18 to join if you’re comfortable with a younger teen watching your kids. Religious communities are also a good place to network. The American Red Cross and other organizations like YMCA may have CPR classes where parents can find teens looking for work.

Parents should discuss pay up front. Payment will depend on a few things like location, how many children are being looked after, how old the children are and other duties and responsibilities.

Parents and sitters can use babysitting apps to help compare pay or even ask friends to compare pay. Care.com has a free calculator that will use the sitters age, experience and children to determine the rate of pay as well.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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