Tips for Starting a New Caregiving Arrangement

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Consider these best practices for starting a relationship with a new child caregiver, particularly one providing in-home care.

Agree on Compensation

Confirm compensation before you schedule any care. Discuss both hourly rates and expenses like meals, transportation, and activities for your children. Consider these pay rates as starting points:

  • One child: $15-20/hour
  • Two for three children: $20-25/hour
  • Four children: $30/hour

Exchange Contact Info

Trade phone numbers, emails, and home addresses with your new caregiver. Provide contact info for everyone in your family. Get your caregiver’s license and/or taxpayer ID number in case you need it for your paperwork.

Discuss Communication

Establish the best way to contact each other—e.g., phone calls or texts—during the day or in event of emergency. Tell your caregiver if you’d like updates or pictures during the day (though don’t make requests that detract from caregiving responsibilities).

Provide Additional Emergency Contacts

Write down phone numbers and any additional contact info for the following and make sure the list is easy to find:

  • Pediatrician
  • Schools
  • Close friend, family member, or neighbor

Create a Basic Caregiver Agreement

Write down what you’ve agreed upon regarding pay, days and hours of work, and any additional items. Give your caregiver a copy and keep another copy for yourself.

Tell Friends and Neighbors

Let them know you have a new caregiver so they can expect to see someone new with your children.

Provide Easy Access to Your Home

Give your caregiver a set of house keys, lock/garage codes, and any instructions on how to use them.

Explain House Operations

Tell your caregiver how to:

  • Operate heating/air conditioning
  • Operate TV, cable, game systems, etc.
  • Access wi-fi
  • Run dishwasher, laundry, or any other appliances
  • Use toddler safety gates or other safety equipment

Set Expectations for Food

Tell caregiver if they’re welcome to food and beverages on hand, need to bring their own meals, etc.

Notify Caregiver About Any Visitors

Tell them if they should expect maintenance calls, etc. Confirm that other visitors—including caregiver’s friends and relatives—are not permitted.

Review Pet Care

Let your caregiver know if they need to let out, walk, or feed pets. Provide any other special instructions.

Talk about COVID-19 Safety

Make sure your caregiver understands your expectations for hand washing, social distancing, cleaning toys and surfaces, and what to do if someone starts feeling sick.

Discuss Allergies and Intolerances

Tell your caregiver about any allergies or food issues your children have and establish any foods that are off limits. If your children have serious allergies, put away any food that would harm them.

Keep Medicine Accessible

Review your children’s medication routines—dosages, times of day, etc.—if applicable. Keep regular or emergency medications (EpiPens, allergy or asthma meds) in a safe but accessible location. Write down guidelines and keep with contact info and other available documentation.

Review Bathing, Diaper, and Potty Routines

Establish when children need to be bathed, what soaps or shampoos to use, and safety routines (e.g., not leaving children under age 6 unattended in the tub). If your caregiver is changing diapers, show them where supplies are located and how to use them. Explain potty-training routines if applicable.

Set Rules for Play, Naps, and Special Needs

Let your caregiver know where children can safely play outdoors and whether they can go outside unattended. Explain rules for equipment like bikes or trampolines. Review rules for video games or screen time. Share nap or quiet time schedules if applicable and review any other special attention your children may need.

Provide a Schedule or Calendar

Especially for your first week with a new caregiver, write down schedules for school/online learning, naps, meals, homework, etc., to help establish a routine. Each day, point out any special events or changes to the routine. Consider creating a collaborative calendar you both can reference.

Set Social Media Guidelines

Discuss how you’d like your caregiver to manage their own social media use when they’re with your children. Let them know if you’d prefer that they not create posts, photos, or videos, that reference your children.

Adapted from tips developed by the University of Washington.

Contact Information

Family Services

Phone
Campus Address
121-50 USB
Mailing Address

121 University Services Building, Suite 50
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States