Parents are facing tough decisions as coronavirus ‘shelter-in-place’ orders force many people to work from home and families to isolate. With schools closed for the year due to the pandemic, many moms and dads are trying to juggle their new work-life situation with caring for, and home-schooling, their kids—all while managing their own jobs and well-being. With this balancing act often comes difficult choices about whether to keep children home from daycare or not, and how to best protect kids if they do still require some type of childcare services.
Many private daycare centers remain open, but if you are considering home-based options, you may be thinking about hiring a nanny. This is a constantly evolving situation and information changes rapidly, but at the time this article was written, Indiana’s shelter-in-place orders still allow for in-home childcare. If you decide to investigate hiring a nanny for the first time during this coronavirus crisis—it’s a good idea to turn to the experts for advice.
Indy Nanny Concierge (@indynannyconcierge) was started by Morgan Corya and Nicole Pence Becker in September 2018 with the goal of helping Indianapolis-based families find the best caretaker for their unique situations. The company works with families who are looking to hire a qualified, experienced nanny to help within their home, and to do so, they screen and interview potential candidates and provide advice on legal paperwork and negotiating terms.
A former kindergarten teacher with an Early Childhood Education speciality and a current professional nanny, Corya knows her stuff when it comes to keeping children entertained and enriched, so her advice can be invaluable at a time like this. “Due to the impact of COVID-19, now that school is cancelled and there is no guarantee when the doors will open again, it is important to ensure that you secure long-term childcare with flexible options,” she says, adding, “In-home childcare can be especially helpful right now for parents working from home with school-aged children unable to return to school until September. By cleaning up after the children, keeping them entertained or focused on e-learning and running loads of laundry, parents can work peacefully (in another room!) knowing your nanny has kept your home in excellent working order.”
You may want to keep in mind that every person who comes into your home could potentially bring germs with them and could also be exposed to your family’s germs, so it’s a good idea to wash hands frequently, sanitize regularly and do your best to minimize potential risk. “Right now, I am recommending a two-week quarantine period for both parties before the nanny’s first day. This will ensure that everyone is healthy. Once the nanny starts, it is not unreasonable to ask them to sanitize and wash their hands more than normal or to continue social distancing from others in order to work with your family. There is an understanding that your family will do your part as well to keep the nanny safe,” Corya says.
To ensure your home is properly disinfected, a list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available here, and you can also check out this cleaning and sanitation guidance provided by the IN.gov website. It is also worth noting that if you hire a nanny, you are legally considered an employer and your house is now a workplace, so you may want to educate yourself by reading the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance for businesses and employers to plan, prepare and respond to COVID-19.
If hiring a nanny isn’t an option or doesn’t sound like the best idea for you or your family at this time, Corya has other advice on how to keep your children occupied and enriched. “Essentially, many parents are being asked to be a full-time employee, a full-time parent, and a full-time teacher. That’s stressful! Give yourself and your family some grace. Start out with a small goal of one or two scheduled plans for the day,” she says. “Here are some of my favorite Instagram accounts that have education-based, developmentally appropriate activities that can be set up quickly with a few supplies:”
—Busy Toddler, @busytoddler
—Days with Grey, @dayswithgrey
—Playing with Chanel, @playingwithchanel
—Cosmic Kids Yoga, @CosmicKidsYoga
No matter which childcare option you choose or activity you select for them, “What matters most, and what your children will remember, is that you were together during this time when they sensed fear and frustration,” Corya says.
Indy Nanny Concierge, an Indy Maven partner, is currently offering a discounted package to help families navigate and adapt to the impact of COVID-19. If you’re interested in learning more, you can reach out to Morgan Corya directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephanie Groves is a freelance writer based in Indianapolis who played a nanny on one episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit in the 2000s, so she feels pretty qualified to write this article.