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How Finding a Great Caregiving Match is Like Dating

FOR PARENTS

You wouldn’t choose your significant other randomly, so why should you do that with your caregiver? Before jumping into a new “relationship” with a caregiver, think about what qualities they would need to make them a great match for your family. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Interests:
    • Have you ever been on a date with someone that you had nothing in common with? That relationship probably did not last too long. Having similar interests gives people things to talk about. Does your caregiver have interests that line up with your kid’s interests? If a caregiver has the same interests as your child, it may be easier for them to build a connection.
  • Communication Style:
    • How much communication would you like between you and the caregiver while they are having a care date with your kid? Would you like regular check-ins or would you only like to be contacted in the case of an emergency?
  • Dating History:
    • First dates are all about getting to know each other. Ask the caregiver about their past experiences with caregiving. How many families has your caregiver (care)dated in the past? How long have they been a caregiver? What worked and didn’t work with other families they cared for? Ask what you need to so you can get a better idea of how the caregiver could be a fit for your family.

Forget about being monogamous in this relationship! It is a good idea to have solid relationships with multiple caregivers.

FOR CAREGIVERS

For each kid that you have a care date with, there will be a parent or guardian that you will have to get to know. They are trusting you with their child so it is important to make a good impression. They most likely have already checked out your Joshin profile so they know a little bit about you, but now it is time to let them get to know you personally. Whether you have a meet and greet before the care date or just introduce yourself for a few minutes before the parents leave, you should follow these preparation tips to start off on the right foot.
First and foremost, keep a few basic rules in mind:

  1. Be punctual: Arrive on time or even a few minutes early.
  2. Be polite: Make sure to shake the parents’ hands and address them as Ms./Mrs. and Mr. unless they tell you to call them something else. It never hurts to be too formal rather than not formal enough.
  3. Be engaged: Make good eye contact while chatting with the parents and keep a smile on your face, a smile can go a long way!

Tips to Make a Good Impression:

  • Dress to Impress: You don’t have to be dressed to the nines, but present yourself nicely when you are meeting the family for the first time. You probably already know that it would not be the best idea to wear something too revealing, but what should you wear? Maybe leave the leggings and college sweatshirt behind and go for a comfortable pair of jeans and a sweater or nice shirt.
  • Study up: Ok you don’t have to study exactly, but think about re-reading your messages with the parents and anything else regarding the care date. Take note of their kid’s name and their favorite activities if given. Try to mention those things while meeting the parents to show that you are prepared. Maybe mention some activities or games that you typically do with kids you work with to ensure the parents that their child will be in good hands.
  • Be ready to answer questions: It can be easy to anticipate what questions the parents may ask when they meet you. Think of your answers beforehand if they are not things that you would know off the top of your head. Some questions the parents may ask include:
    1. What do you like about caring for children?
    2. Tell me about a time that you faced a crisis while caring for a child. What did you do to handle it?
    3. What kinds of activities do you do during a typical care date?
  • Ask your own questions to get to know the parents: This is not a one-way street for getting to know each other. Of course, the parents want to get to know you to see if you will be a good fit with their child, but you can ask questions as well to see if the family is a good fit for you.
    1. Have you had a caregiver that did not work out? Why didn’t they work out for your family?
    2. How much contact do you like to have with the caregiver while you are away during a care date?