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Update on Government Guidance and Babysitting
As the impact of the coronavirus in Japan evolves, the Prime Minister has declared a state of emergency for seven prefectures: Hyogo, Fukuoka, Tokyo, Osaka, Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa. What the state of emergency means can differ from prefecture to prefecture and will also vary from family to family.
In Tokyo, Governor Yuriko Koike has asked that certain businesses temporarily close in addition to (strongly) suggesting people stay at home unless they need to leave for essential work or services until May 6. Elementary and high schools and universities will remain closed, as well. Daycares can stay open but are encouraging only those parents who are essential workers to use their services. This request also applies to the use of babysitters.
At CareFinder, our primary goal is the continued health and safety of all the families and babysitters in our community. We know many families will choose not (or will no longer need) to work with babysitters during this time - and we understand! We have asked sitters not to charge any applicable cancellation fees should you need to cancel existing jobs.
We also recognize that many parents will still need to go to work or otherwise need to use a babysitter. Whatever your specific situation, CareFinder would like to share a few suggestions for safely working with babysitters at this time.
1. Go Virtual
Everything is online these days! While we know that face-to-face interaction is best for kids, especially when learning a new language, consider this an exceptional time (to put it mildly). Make use of Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, What's App or Skype to have your babysitter provide tutoring, story time or to keep your kids occupied while you're getting your own work done. Social connection is a great way to curb anxiety in children; consider using a sitter virtually during this time for something as simple as fun conversation. It can also help to avoid further disruption to your kids' lives if they are used to (and look forward to) seeing their babysitter regularly.
Using a sitter remotely is the best way to ensure your family's health and safety while also providing your children with enrichment (and a distraction).
2. Be Extra Careful
Not every family can or wants to go online. After all, many employees will still need to go into their offices. For families who will have babysitters come to their homes, we recommend behaving as if your sitter were part of your family. What does this mean? That you'll need a deeper-than-usual understanding of their habits. For example, ask your sitter:
- Where they are staying and who they are staying with
- Whether they are working with other families. If possible, we suggest asking (and compensating) for "exclusivity" with your sitter.
- What their general social distancing habits are.
Additionally, consider transportation. Work with sitters who are as close as possible to your home to avoid long rides on public transit. Using taxis instead is also a good option.
Don't forget to be especially vigilant about general hygiene practices, as well!
3. Use Your Best Judgment
We understand this is a confusing and stressful time. Kids have been home from school for several weeks, with at least several more on the horizon. You may have been working from home already, are making the transition now or still need to go into the office. When it comes to whether or not to use a babysitter to help with your children in light of all this, it's a personal decision! Use your best judgment based on your family's situation and needs.
The CareFinder team is always here to help your family in any way we can. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out.