Summer means warm weather and school-free kids. With more hours and summer plans to consider, it can also mean finding the right childcare for the season. If you’re searching for summer childcare, you may need to take a different approach than the one used when hiring a sitter during the school year.
If you’re planning on hiring a summer sitter then we’ve identified six issues you should cover in your interviewing to help you to find the right one for you and your family.
1. Address your needs
Already have the summer schedule packed with camps, programs and other extra-curriculars for your children? You may simply need a sitter who’s available to drive them from one destination to another or help out in the afternoons for a few short hours. If that’s the case, discuss things like the sitter’s driving record and what she considers suitable activities for the afternoon.
If you’re in search of more hands-on child care, look for a sitter with an active and energetic personality. Because he or she may be playing sports, swimming or going on long walks with your child, it’s crucial that they can (and want to!) engage in all manner of summer fun.
Again, because summer schedules are often subject to change, hiring someone who is adaptable and flexible will go a long way in easing stresses that crop up when things don’t go exactly as planned.
It sounds obvious, but before you interview potential sitters, sit down with your calendar and figure out your exact needs. This is a critical (and often overlooked) first step. Consider:
- Will you need care for the entirety of June, July and August?
- When does school end and begin again?
- Are your children in camps or summer programs?
- Are you taking any time off or long weekends this summer?
- Does your company give summer Fridays/summer hours?
- Will your family be traveling and, if so, will you want your sitter to come with you on your vacation?
- What does your work schedule look like, and do you have any flexibility with it?
Initiate a similar conversation with your prospective sitter. Find out her availability, travel plans and potentially fluctuating schedules (is she taking summer classes, working part-time at another job or going back to college in mid-August?).
3. Salary & taxes
What can you afford to pay the sitter? Check out the going rate for caregivers in your area. How will you handle employment taxes? You’ll need to figure out the personal allowance and the amount of employment taxes you area required to withhold from her pay in your Province.
4. Daily activities
Get an idea of what types of activities the person you’re interviewing will do with your child during the summer. Are they creative, age-appropriate and feasible?
Ask: What is your idea of a perfect summer day spent with a child? What age-appropriate activities would you plan for a sunny/rainy day?
Safety should always be a top concern when you’re interviewing potential caregivers. During the summer, it’s particularly important. Kids spend a lot of time outside and involved in energetic activities. Is the caregiver trained in CPR and first aid? What would she do if your daughter fell in the park and skinned her knee? What are the proper safety precautions when playing in the water?
Summer sitters are typically high school or college-age students and teachers. If on-going education for your children during the summer is important to you, talk to the potential caregiver about their experience teaching or tutoring. Can this person help your child get through a summer reading list, review material from the past year and continue to challenge your little one’s brain?
- Summer Sitter Preparation
- 12 Brain Boosting Summer Activities
- Summer Fun: 101 Things to Do with Kids