Summer ChildcareWHEN: Start Early. Beware the ides of March…because after that, before you know it …It’s June 15th.  Heads up,  If you are looking for someone to start in June… you should start your search at the end of March. Great, organized, on the ball nannies/babysitters/employees will also be looking early. If you leave it to the last minute…pickings can get quite slim. WHAT: What does an enriching and inspiring summer look like to you?  Will you send your kids to camp? Hire a summer nanny? Share a nanny? Use an on call service, or maybe take some time off work…

WHAT (Again): Priorities? What are yours?  Here’s a list of possible priorities to think about; Hours needed, days needed, what you can afford, whether a nanny drives, location of the camp, is a Male or Female nanny better for your kids, do you need someone who is happy to do light housekeeping, or willing to do a nanny share, who has their ECE, an ability to swim, to teach a skill,  or a certain number of years experience/in business, etc.

HOW: Will you use a professional agency? Will you look on craigslist? Will you find someone through referrals from friends or word of mouth? Will you post a notice at a family place or at your child’s daycare? How will you go about finding your summer solution? An agency will do a lot of the work for you and make the process much easier and more streamlined.  It will cost you a finding fee though. Find out when and how much different agencies charge and then decide if the convenience and time saved is worth the cost.

WHO: Who will you entrust you children too? Be sure to get written references, to verify those references, check all credentials, do the leg work. Make sure CPR/First aid is in place and up to date. Ask for more information if you need to…and trust your instincts.
WHY: Why should you have a written contract…it’s a job. Whether this is a summer nanny or a summer camp…Be sure to clarify expectations on both ends with regards to sick days, holidays, rate of pay, additional duties/costs, etc.  Be as specific, and detailed as possible.  If you start earlier you will have plenty of time to hammer out ALL the details.

WHERE: Where can you go to look for resources, ideas, answers? Check out local reputable placement and on call nanny agencies, inquire at your local family place, check your preschool notice board. Look in parenting magazines (print and online) for advice, Google, Craigslist, talk to other families in the same situation with similarly aged children…what has worked for them.

WHY: Why think about it now? More time means more choice. If the goal is to create a summer experience that is enjoyable, affordable, inspiring… and makes your life easier, now is the time to start to thinking about what exactly that means to you and your family. Maybe you can rig your work week so you only need a nanny two days a week…or only for three weeks. Maybe you can then afford to have a nanny who can plan excursions and make her time with your kids an adventure. The bottom line is…start early…finish ahead.

Leanne Hume is first and foremost a Mum. She has also worked as  a live in, live out and on call nanny as well as  a teacher in Vancouver, Northern Canada, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and Fiji. Leanne now works as the Vancouver Nanny Recruiter for Nannies on Call …The West Coast’s premiere Nanny Agency.  Photo:  Leanne Hume.