Super Sitters CV19 FAQ

All Questions are Good Questions

This is new for everyone and we’re here to help. 

New rules, new schedules, new ways of doing things, and new normals – how could there NOT be questions?! We have shifted our services and adapted to meet the needs of the moment so we know that there will be questions. We have compiled a list of the ones we have gotten so far, but will continue to add to this list as new things come up.  

Have a question that you don’t see listed here? Please check the list again to be SURE you didn’t see it (it’s a big list y’all), but if it’s really not there, shoot us an email at hello@chicagosupersitters.com.

 

Become a Super Family!

What is the difference between pre-CV19 CSSitters, and now?

Chicago Super Sitters has always been a part-time placement agency, with our sitters working numerous jobs, both in and outside of childcare. Our sitters are accustomed to working placements mornings, afternoons, and nights with multiple families each week- sometimes each day. CV19 has changed everything for everyone – including us!

It is no longer safe for our sitters to be hopping from place to place and home to home, which is why we have changed our placement structure during this time. We are no longer placing one-time or short term multiple days or evenings, and will only be placing recurring sitters on either part or full time schedules. Our sitters are working in no more than 2 homes during this period, and that is only if they are practicing social distancing and self-isolation when they are not at work. We want to take as much of the uncertainty as we can out of your family’s life by providing structure and support to you and your children in the safest way possible.

What are you doing to ensure the safety of sitters/families?

Childcare has been deemed an essential business during the ‘Shelter in Place’ status. However, while we are continuing to place sitters, keeping everyone safe and containing exposure is our top priority.

  1. We are limiting the number of sitters going into homes, and the number of homes sitters are visiting.
  2. Placements will be made using our regular Super matching criteria, but with extra emphasis on location, transportation accessibility, as well as everyone’s exposure and comfort level. 
  3. We may need more flexibility than usual to get you covered – picking up/dropping sitters off if it’s doable, or pitching in for a rideshare, etc., to take CTA out of the equation.
  4. All sitters and families must also complete a detailed exposure questionnaire. This will allow us to understand how everyone is living during this time so we can share that information appropriately before confirming a placement.
Are sitters riding the CTA?
We have asked that our sitters NOT take CTA in order to protect themselves and any families they may work with, from undue exposure (during Phases 1-3 – will be optional during P4). Many of our sitters do not have cars, and if we are unable to find the right sitter within walking distance from you, we may ask that you consider picking them up and dropping them off from your home or covering/contributing to an Uber/Lyft for them. We understand that isn’t possible for everyone, but if it is, it might help you get covered! You will know about transportation prior to any gig confirmation.
What if our sitter’s previous job starts again but we still need coverage?
None of us know the timeline for when things are going to open again so we are at the mercy of a lot of other information. We have always asked our sitters and families to advise us of any changes to their schedules as soon as they can, and hope everyone will continue to do so. Things can change quickly these days, and we are asking for everyone’s understanding and cooperation as we continue to figure out how to manage this new normal. That said, we will never leave you in the lurch and will always do our best to keep your coverage consistent as long as it is safe to do so.
What happens to this placement when things “open” again?

Recurring Placements are confirmed for the duration of the closures, so right now we’re operating with an open end date, in two-week increments. You will not get stuck in any kind of ‘contract’. 

What happens if school cancels for the rest of the school year?
Placements are being confirmed for as long as the mandated closures continue, which means an open end date and will include however long the kids are out of school. This ALSO means that if *gasp* schools don’t open Fall 2020, these arrangements can stay in place. Once again – we are working with an open ended schedule and will be as flexible with this as we can.
Will sitters teach and/or do my kid’s school packet with them?
Our sitters can supervise, guide, and assist your child through any provided homeschool assignments, but they can’t be expected to substitute for your child’s classroom teacher and will not be responsible for lesson plans etc. Each one of our sitters have awesome (and different!) special skills though, and will love to be creative with your kids – art projects, cooking, music, messy science, story writing – ask your sitter what ideas they might have!
Parents working from home - how does this work with a sitter around?

This can definitely be tricky, and takes some getting used to, but it’s totally possible. CLEAR communication is the name of the game.

The key to placement success with parents in the home, is open and clear communication from everyone. Make sure that the sitter is extremely clear as to their responsibilities and what is expected from and the kids during the day. Sometimes it can be unclear how a sitter should jump in, especially in a new home, so don’t be afraid to be specific and layout exactly how you think/hope the day will go as soon as you meet your sitter! For example, if your toddler wanders into your workspace, would you like for the sitter to jump in and redirect them, or do you want to pause and say hello any chance you can? If your sitter and kid(s) know the expectations and the rules/goals of the day, things will run much more smoothly.

How detailed do I have to be on my Quarantine/Exposure form?
Really detailed. This is about safety and we aren’t playing around. If your questions feel phoned in, we’ll ask you to complete it again. 
Are all of your sitters CPR certified?

Having CPR and First Aid training is incredibly important to this job, and Chicago Super Sitters believes strongly in the proper training, which means practical, hands-on, in-person training. For the time being, in-person classes have been suspended so there will be sitters on the roster who temporarily do not have their CPR Certification. This will always be noted on their profile. If you are not comfortable having a sitter with a lapsed certification, please do let us know.

Will sitters do “other” tasks - laundry, cooking, etc?

Our sitters are focused on childcare. They are expected to clean up after themselves and the kiddos in their care, but extra chores outside of that like family laundry, non-kid food prep, cleaning, and organizing, etc. do not fall within our sitters’ purview. That said, we are all about everyone pitching in, especially now – after all, it takes a village, and our sitters are team-players. So if you need an extra hand with housework (and it doesn’t involve the children learning how or helping), you are welcome to ask your sitter if they are interested, but it will be at least an additional $2/hour for non-childcare related tasks.

What if I want to change my schedule after a gig has started?
Placement schedules are currently being offered in specific blocks to simplify schedules for everyone. We will do our best to accommodate everyone’s needs, but we are having to be a bit less flexible than usual so we can serve as many people as possible and so we can monitor and keep everyone safe. We appreciate your understanding that we are doing the best we can.
What if a sitter or family gets sick? Like, regular sick?
While we are all hyper-vigilant about CV19, people are going to get sick with regular colds and allergies during this time as well. Please keep the lines of communication open with us and each other, and we will work on a case-by-case basis to be sure everyone is comfortable. Our goal is to get everyone the coverage they need, but safety is our number one priority.
Will you go back to doing CSSitters date nights and one-time gigs?
We can’t WAIT to get you all back on date-nights and in restaurants and supporting the local economy and getting time out of your house. As SOON as we can, we will add date-nights back into our list of services.
What about my pre-CV19 Recurring Placement?
If you had a recurring placement that stopped/paused due to CV19 that you would like to have start again, we’ll give you (sitters and families) dibs on the schedule again when things reopen. We make no guarantees because the sitter’s/family’s circumstances may have changed, but we’d LOVE to reconnect old matches wherever possible.
Do cancellation fees still apply?

Because things are often changing so much and so quickly, we are not requiring the normal cancellation fees during Phases 1-2. Still, if you do need to cancel suddenly and it is in your budget to do so, we would ask that you consider the sitter’s income whenever possible. As always, our cancellation fees always go straight to our sitters for loss of hours.

Can I use my SuperCard credits for these new placements?

One thing remaining the same as pre-CV19 is that recurring placements cannot be paid for with SuperCard credits. We have taken our regular recurring rates, broken them down by amount of hours booked, and are billing in prorated, 2 week cycles. However, if you are in a tough spot right now and want to discuss use of existing credits for new placements, just ask and we’ll make something work.

Want to become a favorite family but aren’t sure how, or even what that means?

This stuff applies during a Quarantine or not. Doing a little prep can go a long way to being a Super Favorite Family with our Super Sitters.

Through sitter feedback, we have discovered that some families just don’t really know what makes or adds to a great sitter experience. We thought we should give you, our families, a heads up on some of these things. Read below for some tips on how to become a favorite family! Remember, these are ideas, not rules!

Be a Super Favorite Family!

Being offered a car/ride home is always so awesome and appreciated!
Variations of this answer were by FAR the most mentioned. For those sitters that don’t drive, if it is snowing or rainy, or cold, or just late, spending an hour’s worth of what they just made to get home can be a bummer. We get that this isn’t in everyone’s budget, but if you can swing it, your sitter will definitely notice. At the very least, please make sure your sitter is safe when leaving your home.
The money stuff can be awkward…
The hourly rate is sent to both the sitter and family so that everyone knows what it is before the gig starts. Please don’t haggle with your sitter (yes, it happens). Also, please have cash, checkbook, etc., ready to go at the end of the night. If you want to pay electronically please mention this BEFORE you go out so that you know for sure that the sitter is set up to accept it when you get back. Please remember that a lot of our sitters budget tightly and depend heavily on this money they are making while babysitting and guesstimate based on the hours for which they were confirmed.

ALSO, TIPPING? This is not expected (like you might in a restaurant) and you certainly don’t need to be just throwing handfuls of money at them to get them to return, but rounding up, paying for the time you booked even though you came home early, or ordering a rideshare as mentioned above — are all very appreciated. Also, paying your sitter in coins or including a cent amount on a check is highly frowned upon.

It's great when they welcome me into their home.
Seems simple enough but answering the door and actually seeming like you want your sitter to be there is major. They are not expecting a perfect home or perfect children — chaos and kid-life is definitely part of the job — just let them know you are happy they are there. Extra points if you ask them about their life outside of sitting and show an interest in who they are as a person, not just as your babysitter.
I love when families have the little information sheet really handy.
We have created a form that you can download, fill out, and leave for each sitter you book. Lots of basic info, but also some things that might get forgotten in a quick hand off. You can find the form HERE and you can leave the same form (with small updates) for each of your sitters!
Having them set expectations in front of the kids sets a good tone for the night.
Having the kids hear you lay out the rules of the night (bedtime, TV rules, etc.) to your sitter, ensures that everyone is on the same page, and shows the kids that you are officially putting the sitter in charge. Sounds small, but goes a long way.
For night gigs, I love when they show me how to work the TV.
Some of you have crazy remotes and entertainment systems. If you have something that warrants instructions, please leave them the instructions. You can add these instructions on this handy Favorite Family Form too.
Having the Wi-Fi and password handy is great.
This can sometimes be an awkward one for the sitters to ask about as they don’t want to seem like they are asking to be on their phones all night. But, especially for night or napping gigs, having access to your internet is helpful for those needing to work or study.
Showing me around the house is always appreciated.
Showing your sitter around your home seems like an obvious suggestion, but it often gets overlooked. They will be in your home with your kid(s) — make sure they know where they are going and where to find things (kid bathroom vs. guest bathroom, etc.).
I love knowing about the food rules/setup ahead of time.
This is a big one. It’s sort of an unspoken rule that if a sitter is serving a kid meal or is at your house over a general meal time, he/she will probably need to eat too. If you are open to the sitter eating food in your house, great. If not, that’s okay too – just make sure they know! You can let CSS know so that we can tell them to bring their own stuff, or you can let them know yourself in a text or call ahead of time. “Hey ___, we haven’t had a chance to shop in a bit so best to eat before you come or bring something with you.” Or even just a “feel free to help yourself to whatever” once they are in your house, is great — otherwise they might feel awkward going into your cupboard.
I love when I know the special little tricks that help the gig go smoothly.
Do you know your kids need a few time warnings before changing activities? Do they have a very specific order to things before bed? Do you have specific screen-time rules? Do they have a cuddle item that might need to be found before heading to sleep? Nightlights, snack rules, etc? Giving the sitter these extra tips (another great thing for the Favorite Family Form) will really set them up to have most successful exchange with the kids.
Being on time, or letting me know they are running late — that’s huge!
Please be respectful of your sitter’s time. If you are running later than you booked, even if just by a few minutes, let them know. If you want to stay out later than originally booked, ask your sitter before you order that last drink and be sure they hadn’t planned on leaving right at the scheduled time. It’s rarely a problem for them to stay, but don’t assume anything. Also, if they DO stay, make sure they know how much you appreciate it.
It’s always nice to have small chit-chat at the end of the night.
This does not mean you need to hang out with your sitter and solve the world’s problems at midnight — just a quick conversation about how things went, how the kids did, and if there was anything to report. This is just one more small way to let them know you appreciate them.