Best of Both Worlds podcast: Listener childcare tips

Best of Both World podcast with Laura Vanderkam

For most working parents, paid childcare is part of the game. Even families with a stay-at-home parent will need the occasional date night sitter or someone to cover the stay-at-home parent’s commitments. So how can you find caregivers, keep them happy, and deal with any trouble spots?

Today’s episode of Best of Both Worlds covers our listeners’ tips. From asking references what they wish the person had done differently, to maintaining a spreadsheet of potential sitters and their availabilities, this episode has it all!

In the question portion we tackle a sticky situation: A listener with one baby writes that her nanny doesn’t do any household tasks. We’re not talking scrubbing the floors, which would be understandable, we’re talking putting away groceries if the grocery order arrives, or emptying the dishwasher if it’s finished while she’s there. The child takes two long naps during work hours, so the listener is unhappy that she comes home to all these tasks. We discussed the importance of setting expectations at the beginning of an employment agreement, because people don’t all assume the same things are part of a job description. Certainly this could be negotiated later on if need be; a list of tasks with a raise attached. But ultimately, you do want to feel like you are all part of the same team. In all employment situations — not just caregiving ones — it’s great to work with people who are looking to be helpful, vs. looking to do the bare minimum. If the listener does need to move on, we note that changing childcare isn’t the end of the world. Kids get new teachers each year and do OK with that.

Please give the episode a listen and share your tips!

6 thoughts on “Best of Both Worlds podcast: Listener childcare tips

  1. I love these tips! I think my favorite was about what exactly to ask references.

    I seriously LOVE our set up of M W home with a nanny and Tues Thurs at our favorite daycare. Our nanny packs lunches for the school days, gives our kids lots of special attention, and our school gives them socialization and love too. The days she’s not with us our nanny works at a local school so I think she’s actually very happy with the balance in her days too.

    My employer also gives us “back up days” through care where if someone is sick, they help subsidize sitter help for 12/hour. We’ve had to use it a few times in a pinch and have been really happy- the sitters are vetted by care but they’ve far exceeded my expectations. If listeners work at big companies but don’t have this option, they may want to petition HR to get it added!

    Also, I’m just catching up on all the latest editions of BoBW and can’t wait to read Juliet (just bought it on amazon). I kept startling a bit every time you said my name when you were talking about the book. Hopefully I have my priorities more in line than your Riley!

      1. @ Laura Riley in your book is a mess! I just started the book this morning and I want to chuck her phone in the ocean. Enjoying the read though.

  2. Aww, it was lovely to hear my contribution ‘on air’ – the tips about weekly prep and trusting your teachers in an info-light environment. I think it was really helpful to compile all these tips, particularly as you and Sarah have a similar childcare set-up.
    I’d love to hear something similar about city parenting – I know you did it in the early years and maybe tips could be gathered from readers. It has loads of advantages but also some distinct challenges.

    1. Yes to this! Im a physician with 3 kids and a partner who works full time in NYC. Some things are much easier but others more logistically challenging. Would be interested to hear how others do it.

  3. Thanks- this was a helpful episode! We have one daughter (age 2) and use full time daycare and on occasion, use a babysitter, especially when I travel/ have a lot of evening events in a week. My husband and I typically split drop off and pick up and love having a bit of help to not feel rushed or unable to do evening events (some required by work and others are for board/ volunteer commitments).

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