If you have children, at some point you will need backup care. Perhaps it’s to cover care when your child is too sick to attend daycare or school. Maybe you are a stay-at-home parent who needs to attend a daytime appointment without your little helper, or perhaps you are unable to care for your child due to an illness or injury. Or your regular nanny might be planning to take a well-deserved vacation and you need to find coverage for a couple of days or a week.

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In a perfect world you or your spouse have the flexibility to stay home with your child, or you have a family member who lives nearby and can provide care on short notice (those of use who don’t have these things collectively envy you – just a little 🙂 ). But if you’re like the many Seattle residents who don’t have an established system for backup care, what do you do?

Nanny Parent Connection was created out of my own need for child care resources as a parent. We have continued to add more resources for parents and nannies like background checks and payroll services. We also offer backup child care resources with our Last Minute Care Text Service and our Verified Care Provider Service. These are excellent options for parents to find care in a pinch, and also for care providers to pick up extra hours when they are between nanny positions or have free days in their schedules.

But if you are in need of last minute or back up child care, which system should you use? Read on to find out!

When do I use the Last Minute Care Text Service?

Note: To make it easier for parents that are in a rush, when you send out a request through our Last Minute Care Text Service, all Verified Care Providers that have opted in to receive text messages from us are notified as well.

Our Last Minute Care Text Service is the perfect resource to use when you wake up to a message that your nanny needs to take a sick day and you can’t miss work. Or if you suddenly need short notice child care for the next few days or weeks. Or if you decide to put together an impromptu date night. It is designed to help you fill a child care need immediately or in the next few hours or days.

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Between the Verified Care Provider service and this one, our Last Minute Care Service has the most care providers signed up (over 200 at the time this post was published). Parents can go to the Last Minute Care Text Service page on our website and fill in the details of their request. The request is then immediately sent via text message directly to all subscribed care providers. Expect to hear from interested providers within a few minutes of completing the form on our site. The messages go out between the hours of 6am and 11pm. If a request for care is made at 11pm or after, it won’t go out until 6am the next morning.

We have had this service up and running for over six months now and it works VERY WELL… if parents offer an appropriate pay rate for the situation (continue reading for more on this).

This service is made up mostly of career nannies who are looking to fill free days in their schedules or date night hours, and care providers who have flexible or irregular schedules. If you are a care provider who would like to sign up to receive last minute care requests, click here to learn more.

When do I use the Verified Care Provider Service?

The Verified Care Provider Service is helpful for parents looking for a vetted, pre-screened child care option. This service is limited to care providers who are current with their CPR/First Aid Certification and have had their references and background checked by the Nanny Parent Connection team. Once these steps have been completed, care providers are given a badge (like the example below) they can share with parents to confirm their Verified Provider status, if needed.

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The Verified Care Provider Service is an excellent choice for backup care when you:

  • Have some flexibility on days and/or time that you need child care
  • Are looking for care in the near future
  • Are willing to pay a higher pay rate for the convenience of having most of the due diligence completed for you
  • Don’t have the time to fully vet a care provider

Our Verified Care Service doesn’t have as many providers since this is limited to only stellar care providers who have chosen to set themselves apart by going through the vetting process with our team. These providers are some of the most experienced and comprehensive in our region and as such, are in high demand. Please keep that in mind if you decide to use our Verified Care Provider Service.

To make a request for Verified Care, you can go to nannyparentconnection.com and click on the Verified Care Provider Service link. Requests for care are sent out via text message during the hours of 6am and 11pm. The Verified Care Service is not intended for permanent positions, like finding a summertime nanny for example.

If you are a care provider who would like to set themselves apart, be allowed priority access to Last Minute and Verified Care requests, and offer yourself as a pre-screened provider for families seeking a vetted childcare resource, you can learn more about becoming a Verified Care Provider by clicking here. I personally work with our Verified Providers to help fill their schedules!

A Word About Pay Rates for Last Minute and Verified Care Providers

Most nannies that I know will charge a slightly higher hourly rate for last minute care or care for a sick child. Helping a family out with child care on short notice might mean the care provider has to cancel or reschedule plans for the day. Caring for a sick child carries the risk that the care provider will get sick themselves and potentially miss out on working at their regular job. Nannies have shared that the pay needs to be worth this additional risk for anything beyond a cold.

For last minute care requests for one child, plan to offer a rate in the $20 to $25/hour range. For two children, I suggest offering $23 to $28/hour. If the child (or children) is sick, the likelihood the request will be fulfilled will increase if the rate is on the higher end. I’ve seen rates offered in the $15-18 per hour range for last minute care go unfilled, probably because the rate being offered just wasn’t high enough. Conversely, I have never seen a care request offering $25/hour go unfilled.

If you are interested in hiring a Verified Care Provider, I suggest offering $22 to $26/hour for one child and $24 to $28/hour for two children. Remember, the Verified Care Provider has invested the time and energy to take care of the due diligence/screening process for you – expect to pay a slightly higher rate for a Verified Provider.

Remember, Nanny Parent Connection does not employ care providers and thus does not tack on any additional fees like other child care companies in our region do!

Please note these recommendations are coming from a place of wanting parents to get the help they need! I recently had a parent become upset when I asked the providers in our community for feedback on pay rates. She mistakenly believed I was trying to drive up prices rather than get a sense of nannies’ expectations in order to help parents offer an appropriate hourly rate and successfully find care when they need it.

Finding back up childcare can be stressful. Our Last Minute Care and Verified Care Provider Services are excellent options for finding coverage when the unexpected happens so you can stay on track with with your day. Or perhaps to have that elusive date night or just have some time to get errands or appointments done without your little helpers 🙂

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