Childcare is stressful enough, now you add COVID-19 into the mix. The pandemic has made navigating childcare more difficult than ever. Below are ways to get through this safely and with your sanity intact.
Continuous communication. To avoid fog or friction, communication is imperative. Communication might be challenging for some; be sure to provide multiple ways and opportunities for you to communicate effectively. Plan a weekly check in, text, email, journal- whatever it takes!
Whichever way you decide, here are some things that should be talked about frequently:
- Who you are exposed to? Roommates, family members, essential workers, healthcare workers, the elderly, public places, etc. Be honest about where you go and who you see!
- Nannies’ needs. What does your nanny need to be safe and feel comfortable?
- Families’ needs. Nannies, ask your employer, “what can I do, or what precautions can I take to make sure you are comfortable with me working in your home?”
- Pre-screening, potential symptoms, testing.
- Revision or additions to the COVID-19 Healthcare Protocol, Nanny Service Agreement or contract.
- Planning for changes or other scenarios.
- New guidelines, orders, or recommendations from officials.
Plan for safety. Develop a cooperative and proactive safety plan.
- Provide protective supplies such as masks, disinfectant wipes and spray, hand sanitizer, gloves, etc.
- Come up with a detailed cleaning/disinfecting checklist of what needs to be cleaned, by who and when.
- Check temperatures regularly.
- Commit to recommendations made by the CDC.
- Make a list of free testing sites, emergency resources, and healthcare information.
- Families, limit visitors coming into your home.
Plan for the what-ifs. Think about the best-case scenario; now think about the worst-case scenario. What does that look like for you, your nanny, your children, your home, your sanity? Ask yourself these questions and come up with an answer and plan of action.
- What if schools reopen? What if they don’t?
- What if daycare closes?
- What if you get sick or show symptoms of illness? Even worse, what if you test positive for COVID-19?
- What if there’s another outbreak causing another Stay-At-Home order?
- What if a parent’s or nanny’s employment situation changes?
- What if you have differing opinions?
Let’s agree. Most family-nanny arrangements have a contract or Nanny Service Agreement in place. If you don’t, consider one! If you do, consider adding to it. One of the biggest mistakes was the lack of information and preparation for a pandemic like COVID-19. We never anticipated a crisis like this to arise; consequently no one was prepared. Well, now let’s get prepared and come up with a family-nanny agreement pertaining to COVID-19.
- Develop and agree to what precautions need to be taken in and out of the home.
- Consider offering reimbursement for healthcare, paid time off, leave for testing.
- Identify what is cause for paid leave and what isn’t. Also include how long paid leave is acceptable.
- Define what employment, furlough, and unemployment means to you.
- Create a realistic, equally-fair way to end amicably.
Be a decent human being. Above all, be considerate. Compassion, empathy, understanding, support, and adaptability is essential. Read more about this vision from Dr. Joe Sanders, CEO of Colorado Uplift #wereallinthistogether
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