Read This Before Selecting Child Care
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Care provided in the child’s home.
Certification can be required depending on whether the nanny uses an agency for referrals.
Oklahoma does not regulate nanny-placement agencies or in-home caregivers. The family is responsible for criminal history checks, wage and hour requirements, payroll taxes and workers’ compensation insurance.
Parents often choose a nanny because they feel children are more secure in their own home environment and they have more control over the kind of care their children receive.
While Rainbow Fleet doesn’t endorse either, they direct families interested in finding a nanny to collegenanniesandtutors.com and sittercity.com. According to sittercity.com, nannies in Oklahoma City charge anywhere from $10 to $30 per hour, depending on the number of children in their care, ages of children and additional services required, like laundry or meal preparation.
For registered nurse Carley McLaughlin, mom to 23-month-old Tripp and 7-month-old Quinn, a nanny means her young children’s needs are carefully met, her children experience less illness and she enjoys greater flexibility for her working schedule. McLaughlin is appreciative of her nanny’s ability to keep in contact with her throughout the day, sending pictures and letting her know how they are doing.
“Our daughter has GI issues and needs more individualized care,” McLaughlin said. “Our nanny is very flexible with us and comes over early if my husband is traveling, as I have to leave very early for work, earlier than many daycare centers open. I know my children are safe in their own environment and get to stick to their schedules seven days a week.”
McLaughlin and her husband recommend asking candidates extensive questions about their vehicles and driving records, especially if the nanny will be transporting children, including: the current condition of the vehicle, the maintenance schedule, quality of the tires and the number of wrecks both the nanny and the vehicle have been in.
For McLaughlin and her husband who typically must go to work even when the weather is dicey, they also wanted to know their nanny would be able to come to work regardless of the weather. They were sticklers about CPR and first aid certification, and they wanted to know about candidates’ experience caring for multiple small children at once, presenting interviewees specific scenarios in which both children need something at the same time and asking how the caregivers would respond.
Engineer Meredith Schneberger, mom to 7-year-old Jackson, 3-year-old Mitchell and 21-month-old Carter, uses multiple types of care, including a nanny, after-school care for her oldest and a Mother’s Day Out program several days a week for her two youngest.
“My hope was to find a balance between interaction with other kids and a structured classroom experience, and making sure my children got enough rest and downtime to stay healthy,” she said.
Her boys’ nanny takes them to school, keeps them when school is out, starts dinner in the evenings and helps with dishes. She takes them on outings to the library and ensures they get adequate rest at home. At her youngest boys’ Mother’s Day Out, they play inside and out, are learning sign language and enjoy frequent art projects.
Because it’s important to Schneberger to minimize screen time, she values that they don’t watch television at Mother’s Day Out. She appreciates that her boys’ teachers regularly communicate with her, even though she is rarely the one who drops off or picks them up. She stresses the importance of giving constructive feedback to caregivers to ensure children are cared for in the way you want, and she believes good caregivers appreciate being part of the parenting team.
“I feel like my kids have a routine that includes a lot of play and a lot of people who love them and look out for them,” she said. “I think it’s important that moms not settle for child care situations they aren’t happy with.”
While in-home care can mean a nanny, it can also mean care by a grandparent or relative. Account director Amy Blackburn, mom to 8-month-old Everly, chose what she calls “the best of both worlds” for her daughter, three days a week at a daycare facility and two days a week with Blackburn’s mom.
“We love that Everly gets to socialize at daycare, but we also value the time she gets to spend with her grandparents,” she said.
When reviewing potential daycare options, Blackburn and her husband toured each facility and researched any violations with OKDHS. The most important factors to them were that the facility was clean and fostered a learning, creative environment. She values that her daycare facility sends photos and texts throughout her workday to keep her apprised of Everly’s activities.
Making the choice
Finding child care can seem like an overwhelming task, but a tailored referral list from a service like Rainbow Fleet and recommendations from fellow moms can make it manageable. Though we moms we often let the guilt and pressure of finding just the right caregiver for our children take over, business owner Erica Carr offers a heart-warming perspective.
“I love that I can leave my children in a loving environment where they can thrive and grow outside the home,” Carr said. “It’s so refreshing when they come home and tell me about all the fun things they learned that day.”
Next page: What does the OKDHS Star Rating mean?