Parents, carers and disabled parents
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Childcare, Babysitter - who do you have to cover for you if you need it, and how did you find them?

UdosdottirUdosdottir Member Posts: 34 Connected
Hello everyone,
I am Mum to twins who both have disabilities. In my view they are fairly mild: both can speak and are bright, one of them can walk unaided, but they are less independent than their peers and have personal care needs, and maybe a heightened sensibility as to what they might need.
They are 8 years now, and until now we relied on general babysitters who we found through babysitting networks to get a few hours off. We don't have parents or other family close by who we could rely on. I find it harder now that they are getting older. I see their classmates and their mums covering for each other. Some just take more than just their own child home after school, and they cover for each other like that.
Neither of my children can just go with someone, and I am not sure whether they even have any friends. No-one has ever invited them for a playdate.

Me and my husband we are both working, but generally we manage between the two of us to cover childcare outside school - although there's not much time left for us to spend together. But when appointments are clashing, it's really hard.

And although we do have a babysitter who plays with them for a few hours here or there, and stays with them when they are sleeping for us to slip out for a beer in a pup every now and then, she is working during the day herself, and can neither make time, nor dies she really have the ability to cover for a full day.

Do you have someone who can fully look after your children? How did you find them?

Replies

  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 8,008

    Scope community team

    Hello @Udosdottir.
    It can be really difficult when you don't have family support, I'm in a similar situation so can really empathise with how difficult it can be. 

    Do you know many of the other parents at your children's school? I've found they can be a good resource when you're in a pinch. I have been surprised at the people who have kindly stepped up when we've been stuck for childcare. It might help to start with finding out who your children are friends with and inviting them round to yours to build relationships with different parents. 

    I'm aware there's also professional networks such as www.childcare.co.uk. I've not used it myself but know other people really rate it. When my older children were young I also discovered that some of the staff at their pre-school offered babysitting services so it can be worth asking around.

    I hope some other parents can help with more suggestions for you too. :)
    Community Manager
    Scope
  • UdosdottirUdosdottir Member Posts: 34 Connected
    Yes, childcare.co.uk is really a good source and where we found all our babysitters so far. The problem that I see is that it's hard to find someone who can spontaneously cover during the day. Those who do offer daytime sessions are usually professionals who want to fill their schedules.

    Getting the twin with the milder disabilities to visit a friend can be easier, thought difficult, too. They both struggle to find friends; but I am friends with some of the other Mums, and some of them would take him for an afternoon, I suppose. He's got one friend he sometimes visits, but usually I drive him there because it's hard for the Mum to take him (doesn't walk far distances), and I am 100% sure she wouldn't take the other twin, too.
    Generally, for the other twin I am not sure that she has any close enough friends. I don't think she's very difficult, but she couldn't just easily go home with someone: she's not walking unaided, most homes won't be accessible... She needs help with personal hygiene... She's not ever been on a playdate. And finding something for just one of the twins doesn't help much when in a pinch.

     They both do well in creche... I am wondering whether others might be using professional services like these, and where they found one that caters to their children's needs well. Here it seems that a) the good places are quickly fully booked with regulars and it's hard to find something occasionally and b) not much seems to be offered for children of school age. Which I find really weird also for non-disabled children, because whether or not mine have disabilities, - you wouldn't leave two eight year olds home alone for hours, would you.
  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,869 Member
    Hello @Udosdottir

    It was hard at first. Try asking around for recommendations. When I needed a childcare provider, I asked my son’s therapists for advice. How old is your child? I drafted a job advertisement detailing my requirements.
    After a few days, I selected a small number of people for a quick further interview at my flat and tests as well. I had a lot of applicants. My hiring decision was based upon personal observation, their responses to my questions, gut feeling etc. I also insisted on a full DBS check and references. Each respondent to my advert had to provide me with at least one trustworthy reference who I or my husband would then contact.
    I drew up a contract of employment. The hired candidate had to read it and sign. But I was more concerned with the background check than references.  
  • UdosdottirUdosdottir Member Posts: 34 Connected
    Hi @April2018mom, thanks for sharing your experience! Well, I suppose I'll have to keep looking. My problem really is that I don't want to hire anyone (when I did hire a nanny for the twins when they were 2, I did exactly as you described). They are 8 now, and go to school, and usually I am with them outside school and enjoy my time with them. But being a working mum (with a working other parent), we just sometimes and unpredictably need someone to help. And people who are suited to look after them are professionals who want to fill their schedule, rather than wait for me to maybe need them. - Understandably so. I suppose there's no solution really.
  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,869 Member
    Hi @April2018mom, thanks for sharing your experience! Well, I suppose I'll have to keep looking. My problem really is that I don't want to hire anyone (when I did hire a nanny for the twins when they were 2, I did exactly as you described). They are 8 now, and go to school, and usually I am with them outside school and enjoy my time with them. But being a working mum (with a working other parent), we just sometimes and unpredictably need someone to help. And people who are suited to look after them are professionals who want to fill their schedule, rather than wait for me to maybe need them. - Understandably so. I suppose there's no solution really.
    I understand. I was reluctant to hire someone when I had to go back to work six months later. My husband and I agreed to take it in turns to do childcare when I was on my extended maternity leave. He did the early mornings and late nights while I slept and I relieved him during the day for a set number of hours each day. It worked for me. Do what works for your family. What is the best option? Can you afford to send them to a club or not? I am also a working mom. I currently work outside the home five days a week as a freelance childcare provider. But I am leaving in December when I go on maternity leave again. 
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