Finding the Right Caregiver
Before you start the search for a specific caregiver, Working and Parenting – Part Three Articles formulate the qualities you want — keeping in mind the realistic fact that your clone doesn’t exit. As a starter, consider that you want one substitute parent. Consistency of care is the least you can offer your baby. The same caregiver with the same mind-set as you is idealistic, yes; but it’s a place to begin. Next, try the following sources for possible leads.
Baby’s doctor. Pediatricians often have bulletin boards of child-care positions; be sure your doctor knows and recommends the caregiver (although this does not replace your thoroughly checking this person out yourself). The doctor is likely to know mothers who run a mini-day-care center in their own homes, rather than those who will come to yours. Consider putting up you own help-wanted notice on the doctor’s bulletin board.
Resource and referral agencies. Training in how to find quality care is provided by these agencies. They also maintain a referral list of licensed day-care houses and facilities in your community. If no agency is available in your area, contact your local social service agency.
Also consider these sources:
* your church or synagogue
* senior-citizen organizations
* hospital auxiliaries
* your local La Leche League group
* newspaper ads — best to write your own
* nanny, au pair, and baby-sitting agencies
For those of you who have to sift through resumes and conduct interviews trying to decide to whom you will entrust your precious baby, here’s how to make the decision process less overwhelming and the selected caregiver less of a stranger.
Make a list. Before starting the selection process, make a list of questions you need to ask (see list below). Put the most important questions at the top so if the answers aren’t satisfactory you don’t waste time covering your whole list.
Screen first. To save time and fruitless interviewing, ask applicants to send you resumes and references. Select from these whom to telephone interview. Begin at the top of your question list and, as you get a phone feel for the person, either complete the list or gracefully terminate the conversation. If uncertain, by all means get a personal interview. Don’t let a good person get away. Phone interviews, while time saving and helpful, can be misleading. Beware the person reluctant to provide references. The right caregiver expects to be asked for references.
Your first impressions. First by phone, then face-to-face, impress upon the prospective caregiver how you value substitute care and the importance of her nurturing your baby the way you want your baby mothered. But don’t get too specific, since you want to find out her own nurturing values before you reveal yours, lest she simply parrot what you want to hear. Besides the usual name, age, address, phone number, and so on, try these probing questions.