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Recommendations for evening childcare

I’m lost in the sea of confusion trying to find the best outlet for potential childcare for my kiddos. We’ve got the best daytime preschool for the younger, the elder attends a lovely local elementary right down the road, and a coworker’s daughter is incredibly motivated but not willing to cover nights when needed — but being relatively new to the area I’ve hit nothing but snags looking for reliable care in that gray area between about 5:30 and 11 p.m.

Sittercity.com was good last summer — we found several great sitters who we fell in love with (also had several other links from co-workers) but alas, fall semester came and we bid them goodbye. Since then we let the site lapse as it has seemed much less useful — maybe due as well to the school sessions.

(I’m okay with changing of the guard — I don’t mean this to sound as if I’m expecting to find a domestic, child-rearing goddess for me at $10/hr. Really, just a safe guardian for my kiddos occasionally, a healthy role model a day or so a week, on-call the occasional weekend.)

Does anyone have suggestions on where to search for someone like this? We’re slowly emerging into the neighborhood as far as spiritual scene, other families, etc., but not there as far as (obviously by this post) getting the connections yet. In the university towns where I’ve lived before, there were physical and virtual “job boards” to link students with prospective employers (whether in a future field of study or just for spare cash) — does anyone know of anything like this?

Any thoughts, comments, critique, even heckling could be useful.

(About us/possibly pertinent — two new Duluthian’s, health care backgrounds, west side, two active-but-not-wild school-agers, and a loving cat.)

Be well PDDers!

7 Comments

jessige

about 6 years ago

The UMD student employment website accepts off-campus postings.  Might be a good place to start.

davids

about 6 years ago

+1 to Jessige's suggestion. 

My family has posted many times for childcare help on the UMD site and had very good luck finding responsible sitters. You'll likely get multiple queries, and you can ask for references and interview several people to find someone you feel you can trust.

tomasbury

about 6 years ago

You may want to check in with some local congregations. I know at my church we currently have a nursery staff that is generally a college-aged student. Many times they are looking for some extra work on the side and they already have some childcare experience at churches. The plus is that (at least at most) if they work at a congregation they have an accurate background check on file. 

My church is Eastridge, but many congregations may be able to help. 

Thanks!
Tom

wildgoose

about 6 years ago

We had something similar when I worked at Scholastica.  Try calling them and maybe ask about "the list."  218.723.6000.  

My heckling would be that people expect their kids to be well cared for by a trained, skilled professional who is well-versed in child development but then they can only pay $10 an hour.  Which is, sadly, high for what most people could expect.  I think that our childcare system is broken. I work in the early childhood education field and I know that there are a lot of phenomenal people who work with kids for peanuts because they feel it is their calling, but really, they are providing an important (critical, the OP would probably say) service to our communities and it is an insult to pay them $10 or $15,000 a year for their efforts.  So I don't even think that is heckling.  It might be more like "feeling your pain" so to speak.

wildgoose

about 6 years ago

Point of information:  UMD has an early childhood program and you might narrow things down considerably if you can target your request there.  

Also, I want to clarify that $10/hr for two kids is probably generous considering the market conditions.  I just think there should be another solution ... especially for parents who lack the means to pay even that much but too much to qualify for childcare assistance from the state.  Go ahead now everyone, call me a communist.  I know I'm probably being unrealistic.

hebamme

about 6 years ago

Thank you all for your excellent advice --- the UMD job board (and "the list" at St. S) is exactly what I was thinking of - just had no clue how to locate this short of navigating through the respective schools. You guys rock! 

@tomasbury - thank you! We're joining a relatively small congregation without a nursery and haven't met anyone yet, but hadn't thought to check with other associated congregations.

@wildgoose - thanks for the critique. We've honestly no clue the going rate in this area, but have not been turned down nor had our rate negotiated much in the past --- when we've asked for feedback past sitters have told us (maybe trying to spare our feelings, who knows!) it was fair. The most recent sitters we've had - the last 2 or 3 - have been education majors/newly graduated teachers. 

I honestly don't care if the person caring for my kids is an early childhood major, rocket scientist, or grandmother with a high school certificate -- caring, honesty, fairness, etc, are the most important qualities. (When it comes down to it, I'm the one responsible - as well as my husband and their respective schools - for my girls being stimulated and growing intellectually. If we're so blessed to connect with a sitter who offers these things and can afford to care for them a few hours here and there, yay! If not -- no worries!)

(Also wildgoose - I'm all too happy too agree with you that the system is broken. I don't know nearly enough of the background --- especially in MN --- but know you bring up very, very valid points. It IS sometimes difficult for us to offer this rather meager rate, which is sad considering the amount of schooling, etc, we have... But my husband & I work in another flawed system, depending on your point-of-view. Anyway - we try to be as fair/generous/whatever as we can with it anyway... It's a flat rate, one kid or both, asleep or awake, regardless of what's going on, no diapers, potty training, "weird" stuff, for maybe a few hours a week, not a full time job...)

Annnnnyway --- thanks again to you all for the tips and constructive criticism!

kerc

about 6 years ago

I think $10 is on the high side of normal -- I've never had a college student flinch when I offered $8/hr, but I know lots of people who pay $10 an hour for regular sitters. You want to pay enough that your sitter thinks it is a priority to get there. 

I feel your pain. I think I just found a sitter (I work at one of the universities, you'd think I'd have access to all kinds of college-aged students). 

Be super explicit in your posting at UMD or you'll get 100s of replies.

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