Tag Archives: childcare

Can You Bear To Leave Your Kids Alone With A Babysitter?

Summer time is vacation time. The kids are taking a break from school and the single mom is finding out that if she didn’t make advance arrangements for childcare, she may be having a hard time finding a good babysitter for her kids with a space available for them.

To complicate matters, daycare providers schedule summer vacations themselves. These vacations aren’t always planned far in advance, so clients are often left in the day care crunch when the babysitter finds a vacation package deal at close to the last minute. Mom may be wondering if it’s a good idea to leave her children home and in the care of an older sibling.

The minimum age recognized in most states for a babysitter is 12, although many states allow a child to be left alone at a younger age. As mom wonders if her family can be left alone as she works or runs errands, there are a few things to consider.

While a 12 year old babysitter may be trustworthy and responsible when left alone, taking care of younger siblings is a different matter. The single mom has to be honest with herself and be sure that the younger children will recognize the authority of the older brother or sister. Your 12 year old may be perfectly capable of babysitting outside of the home, but when it comes to family, tempers flare, resentment grows and problems could arise. Here’s where your babysitter’s qualifications should be examined.

If you decide that your children have reached an age that they don’t need a hired babysitter or daycare every time you leave the house, double check their qualifications and that they know how to react in the following situations:

  • Do they know what to do when someone knocks on the door?
  • Do they know how to answer the telephone without giving too much information on your whereabouts to strangers?
  • Do they know how to recognize an emergency and how to respond?
  • Do they know how to get in touch with you and the criteria for trying to reach you?
  • Do they know how to recognize illness?

The American Red Cross offers a baby sitting course to youth from 11 to 15. The training course uses hands on skills in addition to activities and video that will give your young child the confidence and knowledge to care for infants and older children.

Basic first aid, rescue breathing and responses to illness and emergencies are taught in the one day classes. The babysitter is also trained to make decisions under pressure. They are given tips on communicating with parents and the need to know and follow the rules of the house.

The care of infants, including how to feed and diaper them is also taught as part of the American Red Cross training course. Hygiene and safety issues are addressed and your child can even learn how to start a babysitting business.

The American Red Cross is listed in the phone book. Call and see if they offer babysitting training courses in your area. Knowing that your child has the best tools available to take care of themselves and their siblings will give the single mom a sense of freedom when she knows that she doesn’t have to take her whole family with her every time she leaves the house or spend money of childcare.

Questions to Ask the Childcare Provider

Daycare costs a lot of money, but when the single mom is searching for affordable childcare, she worries that she may be putting her children at risk by putting the cost at the top of her list of priorities. It’s possible to find high quality daycare at lower price,s and at the same time put your mind at ease on the well being of her family while she is at work. During the interview, make sure you get satisfactory answers to some basic questions.


Licenses, Accreditation and Compliance

Ask the childcare provider if they have been licensed by the state. Also ask if they have been accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Not all states require that the staff of licensed child care facilities undergo a background check before they hire staff. Ask what kind of checks have been made on all employees and make sure that they have all had a criminal background check.

Ask how many of the staff have been trained in first aid and CPR. Does the facility have a policy of a trained staff member being onsite at all times? It doesn’t make any difference how many of the staff have been trained if they aren’t working on the day your child may need help.

The Better Business Bureau and the local health and social services department will have records of any complaints that have been filed against the provider. Take the time to check with these sources to find out if there have been problems in the past.

Check the Surroundings

Take a careful look around the facility. Do play areas seem safe? Be on the lookout for furniture or equipment that has peeling paint or sharp edges that could harm your child. While you’re looking around, check for cleanliness. Pick up a few toys and make sure that they are clean and safe for the age of your children.

It’s best to visit the potential childcare provider when they are open. You can judge if the staff is relaxed and the children happy. Some people are meant to work with young children, and some people are capable of working with young children. A few minutes of observation will show you the difference. Maybe you’ll be able to witness a conflict and learn how the staff handles it.

Are the children playing at structured activities or are they basically left to amuse themselves. Is there good communication between the children and the staff?

Do a quick sweep of the area looking for cleaning supplies or medicine that may not be properly stored. Scissors and other materials for activities can be dangerous for young kids and should not be lying out.

Policy

Many single moms need a bit of flexibility in the pick up and drop off time set by the childcare provider. Ask how strict they are if mom is running late.

How will the center communicate with the parents? Will you have a chance to speak with someone daily, or will they communicate with you only when there is a problem so as not to take attention away from the other children in their care?

Make sure that you agree with the discipline practices of the staff. How will they handle issues with toilet training or picky eating habits?

Make sure that emergency contact information for your family is easily accessible, just in case. Make sure that parents are welcome to drop in without notice.

Finally, ask about emergency plans and where the children will be taken in the event that the area has to be evacuated.

Once you have satisfactory answers to these questions, leaving your children with a new daycare provider will be less stressful.

Daycare Resources for Single Moms

Being a single mom presents many challenges, but one of the biggest is finding someone to watch the kids while you’re at work. Traditional daycare can be like a second mortgage in some cities, and daycare center philosophies can vary from center to center and when you’re struggling to make ends meet as it is, that just isn’t an option. If working from home isn’t an option either, there are other places to look for daycare or babysitting resources.

The best way to look for affordable daycare resources is to network with other single moms in your community. You’re not the only single mother in town – and you’re definitely not the only one looking for daycare. Check your community newspapers or bulletin boards at the grocery store (or other stores) for postings. There may be a childcare co-op in place where mothers trade off babysitting responsibilities. If there’s not, you could start one. Offer to trade daycare services with mothers who work different schedules than you. For example, you might find a single mom who works nights, but could watch your kids during the day in exchange for you watching her kids at night.

Another great place to look for daycare help is on a nearby college campus. If you have an extra room in your house, you could offer it to a live-in babysitter. There are plenty of undergrad and grad students looking for places to stay. He/she could watch your children while you’re at work in exchange for room and board. Of course, this option would require careful screening and selection. If you don’t have an extra room in the house, or are uncomfortable with a roommate, you might be able to find a college or grad student willing to babysit for a fair price. Check with the college’s child psychology or education programs for reference.

If you need help finding affordable daycare resources, check with the “Child Care and Development Fund” for low-income financial assistance. NACCRRA (National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies) is also a great resource. Don’t forget to apply for childcare grants-you can find them on the internet by searching “daycare grants for single moms”. There are many grants of this nature available to struggling single mothers.

When looking for good daycare resources, always check the daycare center philosophy and always remember to ask for referrals and to make sure you’re comfortable with the person or people who will be watching your children. In the end, that’s the most important thing.

Cut Down On Daycare Costs With Daycare Grants!

Single moms face many challenges, and one of the biggest is finding adequate and affordable daycare for their children. Daycare grants for single moms can help bridge that gap. Daycare grants for single mothers are offered in a variety of places, and it takes some patience — and perhaps a lot of paperwork! — to learn if you qualify.

Here are a few good places to start:

Start with DHS. You should always begin with your local Department of Human Services. This is the place where you can find all sorts of assistance, from food stamps to college funds to welfare. If there is a daycare grant available through the government for people in your unique situation, DHS will probably know about it. At the very least, they will have resources to point you in many different directions. Start there, and if you don’t find what you need, continue to the following resources.

Head Start. If your child is old enough to attend a Head Start program, it might not cost you a dime to send them there. They will receive all the benefits of daycare but also get the added bonus of learning quite a bit before they are ready to go to a regular school. That can give them a huge educational boost when the time is right. Contact your local school district to find out more.

Churches and Private Programs. Many churches and private schools offer extended hours for preschool, and some of them offer daycare services. You might have to fill out a financial aid form and prove why you can’t afford to pay the cost of daycare in order to be eligible. The rules vary from one organization to another, so if you are turned down by one, don’t let that stop you…simply prepare to apply for another one.

Your College or University. If you are a college of university student, you might be eligible for special grants that pay for daycare for your children. Some colleges offer daycare centers and watch over your children free of charge while you attend classes. Some offer cash grants, while others funnel the money to the daycare provider of your choice. Check with your admissions office, particularly the non-traditional student office, and find out what is available to you.

Offer Daycare Assistance. Many daycare facilities, especially those run by private schools or churches, will lower the cost if you are willing to volunteer with outings, paperwork, and the like. Decide what you can offer in exchange and be prepared to talk about it when you sign up for grant assistance.

Childcare for Single Moms at Work

Single moms often find themselves in the midst of a tough decision: when your child is sick and you have to be at work, what do you do? Many childcare services won’t take care of your child if they are sick, running a fever, or otherwise feeling under the weather. But at the same time, your boss might not be very understanding when it comes to sick children and having to take more than your share of sick days. So what is a single mom to do when she finds herself in that very tough place?

Finding reliable childcare for single moms can be difficult, but it is worth the long search. Start with day care centers that cater to single moms and understand that sometimes, the hours you might need them don’t fit into a neat box. Several day care centers will offer extended hours for a small fee.

Many schools offer before-school and after-school programs for children who need a bit more time before their parents get off work. If you have a child who is of school age, this might be a good option. It provides care for your child and very little disruption when you have to work later than usual.

If you can find a close friend or family member to care for your child during those times when you have to work late, you are in luck! Many single moms turn to friends and family for childcare to make life a bit easier.

During those sick days, working something out with your employer might be your best bet. If you can trade in vacation days for sick days, it might solve your problem and allow you to stay home with your child when they are sick. Also consider speaking to your employer about flex time, or telecommuting during those days when you need to be home with your child.

Many employers realize that single moms have a lot to offer their positions, and work better when they know their children are in good hands. Allowing more time to deal with family obligations like childcare is an important benefit more employers are offering as of late. So don’t be afraid to ask – you never know what might happen!

The Childcare Situation for Single Moms Working From Home

Single moms who work from home have to have childcare, too. Many people believe that single moms who work from home actually sit around watching talk shows all day, but that is hardly the case. As a working single mom knows, sometimes it’s impossible to do it all, even if you’re working at home. Your work day never ends, but neither does your child’s need for attention.

Many single moms working from home make rules that their children must heed, just as rules for chores or playtime. Their children understand that when mommy is on the phone, there are no interruptions. Or when the office door is closed, that means it’s time for work for mom. But even then, mothers have to have child care for their children when they are trying to work.

So what do you do? There are several options for childcare, but the best is in-home babysitting that is there when you need it. Perhaps you can schedule certain days to work, and those days include the babysitter in your home, entertaining your child while you get things done. Or you can work half-days and ask your babysitter to be there for that, then finish paperwork and other odds and ends after your children are tucked away in bed.

Older children will understand better, and can be involved in your work. Set up a desk for your middle-school children and let them know they can work on their homework after school while you finish up what you’re doing. Allow your teenagers to help you handle certain aspects of your work that you might find tedious, and pay them a nice salary for doing it. Even young children can be good at organizing and filing, if you supervise them on how to do it the first few times.

Finally, if you have a childcare solution that involves family and friends, that’s even better. Working at home as a single mom is supposed to allow you to spend more time with your children, and having family involved will help with that goal.