It’s no surprise that during the COVID-19 pandemic, parents are struggling to find quality child care and education. With unprecedented numbers of employees being mandated to work remotely, parents are wrestling with striking a balance between working while caring for their children. For parents with school-aged children, they are now doing triple duty serving as remote workers, full-time childcare providers, and educators. Enter virtual care and virtual tutoring. On platforms like Sitter.com and MeetATutor.com, educators and tutors can now connect with families looking for “virtual babysitting” and tutoring services. While caregivers can still look through jobs and find something that matches their needs, rather than providing care in the family’s home, the provider spends a few hours online with one child or a group of children doing things like going over their schoolwork and entertaining them remotely with activities ranging from magic shows to singalongs.
For nannies and babysitters considering offering virtual sitting or tutoring services, Sitter.com suggests a few strategies for helping families to get the most out of virtual care and tutoring. These include: Making safety their top priority. Providers should map out a safety plan for communicating with the parents during a session if an issue comes up. Keeping sessions short and going no longer than one to two hours. Anything more than that may not be realistic giving the limitations of virtual care. Offering to do group sessions, keeping the number of children to less than five. Clients can invite the children of their friends to take part in virtual games, dancing, singing, trivia, magic, puppets shows, and more under your watch for a reduced per family fee. Asking parents to attend the first virtual session to make sure the expectations are outlined and that everyone seems to connect. Requiring parents to be close by. Parents should not leave their child unattended during these sessions as providers are not able to physically supervise the child when connected only by video. Reviewing planned activities with the parents and asking what suits the child’s interests. Right now, dual working families are struggling to keep up with work, childcare, and homeschooling. Having even an hour of time to themselves could provide parents with the time they need to practice self-care or catch up on work related duties.