Finding and Planning for Childcare in the DMV Area
In-home childcare options
Mother's (parents) helper.
The best way to find a Mother’s Helper will be word of mouth. Asking your neighbors, friends, and co-workers if they know someone will likely yield the best results. If you are new to your city, call your local community center and inquire about babysitter courses and see if you can provide your information for the next class or previous graduates.
Word of mouth will be helpful to find a babysitter, as well as calling your community center about babysitting courses. Joining a city-specific Facebook group can also be beneficial to make connections with people who are looking for babysitting positions. You can even post a flyer at your local grocery store or library. If you are taking a chance on someone who is not a referral from a trusted source, you may want to consider running a background check on your potential care provider.
There are Nanny placement services that you can use to find the right fit for your family. Typically, they operate on a subscription or placement fee model. You would pay a membership fee or an agreed-upon amount of money for the agency to find you a Nanny. Make sure the agency is handling their background check, credential verification and collecting their references.
Au Pairs live with you in your home. Many companies specialize in finding an Au Pair that is right for your family. Usually, there is a placement fee for this service. Setting your expectations up front will be very important to ensure you are getting the right match for you. Ensure the agency has provided you with all the information you will need to make sure you understand all the costs associated with employing an Au Pair in your home.
Independent Child Care Provider.
A service like OndeCare can be used for future planning or even last-minute childcare-emergency. All OndeCare Care Professionals have been background checked and vetted and have profiles with biographies and videos for your review. A long-term job can be posted looking for an in-home provider to come daily or a job can be posted only as you need someone. Having a service like OndeCare that is care on demand can give great peace of mind that you can find backup if you need it or help you find the perfect fit for your family long-term. OndeCare takes care of the taxes for your care provider which can alleviate some of the stress surrounding hiring an in-home care provider.
A Nanny share is when two or more families share the same nanny. The nanny might care for the children in one of the children's homes or rotate through all of them. If the shared care takes place in your home, then consider talking to your insurance agent about your responsibilities regarding having someone else’s children being cared for by a third party under your roof. Sometimes an umbrella insurance policy is recommended just to be on the safe side. It is also important that there is a shared understanding between all parties on how the shared care will be delivered. Some aspects to consider are:
- What hours do you need childcare for?
- What is an appropriate age to discipline and what do you feel is a correct way to administer this?
- How do you feel about screen time?
- If you’re considering a nanny share, discuss the rate of pay, Holidays, time off, etc.
- How do you want to handle sickness? If one child is sick do we skip a day or bring them together anyways?
- How will differing religious and cultural beliefs be handled/respected?
- Who will provide the food for the children when they aren’t at their home?
There are probably dozens of options available to you in your community for daycare centers. Start with a list of them and start making calls! You will want to know who has a waitlist and how long it is. Once you have established your options (likely your list will have dwindled significantly) schedule tours. When you visit it will be important to have a list of questions with you:
- Does the center provide lunch or do we pack?
- Does the center provide diapers and wipes or do we send them?
- What type of training and CEU’s are required of their employees?
- How much outside time do the children get?
- How do they handle discipline and varying ages?
- What are the policies and procedures surrounding sick children?
- How do they track milestones and developmental stages?
You need to do your research first and foremost. Does your state require a license for in-home providers? If there are stipulations make sure you understand them before looking at your options. Sometimes they are allowed a certain number of children in the home before they require a license. Once you understand the rules, word of mouth will be your best friend! Ask everyone you can think of if they know of an in-home provider. You can also check care websites, Facebook groups and even try calling local preschools to see if they know of any. Have your list of questions ready when you tour.
Washington DC, Northern Virginia and Maryland In‑Home Childare from OndeCare
Questions and Considerations when Choosing a Child Care Provider
No matter which in-home childcare option you choose, it will be important to consider the following:
- Has this provider or providers been background checked?
- Has their credentials or education been verified?
- Does this provider have professional references, and can you talk to them or see what they have to say about them or the company?
- Can you use my Dependant Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) to pay for their services?
- What are your responsibilities when it comes to taxes for your care provider?
- What if something happens while your child is in the care of the provider? Do they have an insurance policy? Do I need to take out my own?
- What back-up options do you have/need?
4.9 out of 5 stars.
Maria was absolutely amazing! She instantly bonded with my father and immediately took care of his needs. She engaged him in conversation and made him feel alive and whole. She went above and beyond to care for him. She surpassed my expectations at such short notice. She's God sent and I highly recommend her to care for your loved one.
Leigh is very friendly and conscientious. Our mom enjoys Leigh's company and we appreciate that our mom is getting excellent care.
Ms. T gives great care to my boys. I am so happy that we chose each other
Patricia is very kind and professional. My husband was comfortable with her and so was I. She is experienced and took care of my husband with planning and critical thinking. We will definitely be happy to have her return to us to provide care. Thank you.
Great work! Betty is super thorough and goes above and beyond to do her best. I'll be working with Betty again!
Stefana was awesome. She listened to my instructions I left to a T. She played games with my kids. Took my daughter to and from a play date. When I came in they were watching a nature show and talking about animals.
Very patient and nice. Works well with my son. Will book again in the future if available.
Aukia did a fantastic job! You can tell she has a strong education background because she took time out of the day to do some lessons with my kids, including learning the days of the week! Would absolutely book again.
I’m so glad Zachary had a fun day with Latonya. She was great and it really made my life easier to know he was in great hands this week.
Artrez is wonderful! Punctual, friendly, and my kids loved him. He went above and beyond (cleaning and creating entertaining activities for the kids). Highly recommend!
Toni was a great help, very patient with my Mom. Positive vibe overall. Thank you for the great work.
Really appreciated her willingness to adapt to our last minute changes. Took well to the kids and assisted with care
Anwar was amazing!
Kelsey was super communicative, on time, and asked great questions to make sure she provided good care for our daughter. She definitely had a lot of experience with infants and really kept her cool when the baby was losing it.
Cori is great! She arrived on time, with short notice. She was very kind and patient with my child as well as my nervous pup. Super friendly, professional and helpful. Highly recommended!!
Patricia is kind , caring , fun and responsible with our special needs son . He looks forward to seeing her. So happy to have met :)
OndeCare served its exact purpose for me yesterday. I woke up sick at 5.30 AM, booked Adailia at 7 AM, and she was here at 9 AM to save me (and take care of my twin infants).
Shertarra was great! She is very conscientious and made herself available at very short notice, even on Christmas Day!
Patricia is great! Very knowledgeable, kind/caring, capable, and easy to get along with - it would be hard to find anyone better.
Christina has been an absolute Godsend for us. She is doing a phenomenal job and we're actually going to see if she can help us out even more. We are more than pleased with her help!
Jessica is always the best ,reliable great care and excellent company.
Andrea was booked last minute & we really lucked out! She was warm, attentive and really made my parents feel comfortable immediately.
Jennifer has cared for my Mom and daughter. She is fantastic all around! She has a wonderful attitude and goes above and beyond with everything. I trust her completely to care for our family and I can't recommend her enough.
Overall I had a great experience and I am very pleased with Jaynine and I look forward to a nice working relationship. I have seen a lot of caregivers when I was in a rehab facility for three months and I am now able to judge their character, Jaynine made a great impression on me.
Cherita did a wonderful job taking care of my Mom. She was prompt, professional and quickly learned the morning routine. She related well to my Mom and we look forward to having her come back.
Nicole was wonderful! She was on time and understood the need for PPE. She was willing to enthusiastically do anything I asked her to do, and her medical knowledge was invaluable. Great job Nicole!!
Chereve was fantastic with our son! She showed up early, was fantastic with my four year old when he wasn’t feeling well. My son said he loved her!
Heaven did a phenomenal job keeping my multiple kids well taken care of the entire evening. She played with them, made dinner, and cleaned up leaving everyone and everything better than when I left!
Amber was great. She arrived early and immediately engaged with our girls (19 months & 5 years) and managed bath and bedtime routine. She even took the time to clean our counters and then some. I’d definitely rehire and recommend.
Alice is becoming a fan-favorite here at Fellowship City Church! She is incredibly professional, but also very warm and welcoming. She's great with the kids, and always works well with whatever other childcare worker she is paired with. We can't wait to use her more and more in the future!
Rae was excellent. My son was happy & had fun. She went above and beyond to help me in tasks that are challenging bc of my health when she didn’t have to do that. Very thankful to have had her help. Highly recommend!
Marc is very upbeat and seems to be bonding well with my son. We are lucky to have him to help take care of my son
Shanelle cared for my boys over the summer and consistently went above and beyond what was expected of her! Both boys are very fond of her, and I was able to work and know they were safe and well cared for - an experience we couldn't get from daycare centers. I will absolutely be looking forward to working with her more in the future!
Manny is a great companion for our son. He is very cognizant that primary caregivers get the relief they need while his client gets the attention, independence and community interaction he needs. And just a really great guy!
Tracee has been great with our grandson. She is kind, patient, and very calming for his energy. She is reliable and very good with him. He likes spending time with her
Lee has done everything that I have asked of her and now I can breathe when my son, who has special needs, and requires constant monitoring for his medical condition is in her care. I can trust lee with his life.
Our four girls loved Aukia. She was fantastic and helped us out for portions of 8 days over a 2-week period. Very calm and comforting demeanor and engaging with the kids. Was always early. We would highly recommend Aukia and look forward to seeing her again.