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Finding Reliable Childcare in San Francisco

It’s that time of year again. Well, for a mom, it’s always that time of year, isn’t it? We’re all struggling to find childcare as the kids continue to get older (despite our best efforts to keep them little). We often find ourselves juggling way too many things at once. Making meals, playing chauffeur, mediating disagreements, going to games and school functions, soothing fevers, buying gifts and going to all the birthday parties... a mother’s work is (truly) never done!

The pressure of trying to do it all for everyone around us can feel suffocating at times. Adding in the responsibility of finding reliable, trustworthy childcare complicates things even further! Here are some options for finding reliable childcare in the San Francisco area:

Otter

We might be a little partial, but we think Otter is pretty amazing. Otter matches parents who need childcare with caregivers in their community. Here’s why we love it:

Safety

Is there anything more important than our kids’ safety? Every caregiver and careseeker go through a thorough background check that includes county, state, and national records, as well as child abuse and sex offender registries. Any caregiver providing transportation must also pass a Motor Vehicle Record screening confirming a valid driver’s license and safe driving record. We’re pretty passionate about keeping kids and families safe!

Flexibility

Otter is an online marketplace that connects compassionate and capable caregivers with careseekers. Careseekers often have different needs - one mom might need someone responsible and reliable to watch her kids 40 hours a week so she can work. Another family might need a few hours every two or three days to shop for groceries in peace. We work to connect caregivers and careseekers based on location, hours needed, and even parenting styles. We’re a small company, but we’re scrappy, and determined to help every parent in San Francisco find a reliable caregiver that will work with their schedule and needs!

We’ve Been There

Otter is a small team of moms, aunts, uncles and former caregivers who are passionate about solving the childcare crisis in our community. One employee has had to leave a full-time job in a field they were passionate about because they couldn’t find reliable childcare. Another became a stay-at-home mom (unexpectedly) overnight during the pandemic. We’ve all watched a generation of parents be pushed out of the workforce. This is our passion now - this is why we work so hard behind the scenes to make this a reality for parents and caregivers.

Private Daycares

There are several great daycare providers in the San Francisco area. The key to getting into a daycare is to get on a waitlist ASAP (like, as soon as you see that + on a pregnancy test)! San Francisco has some wonderful daycares with caring and compassionate providers. The tricky part is getting into a daycare when there are already wait lists in place. Sometimes networking and talking with other parents can be helpful in finding an opening when looking for the perfect daycare fit!

Professional Nanny

If you’re looking to hire a professional nanny in the San Francisco area, you may very likely need to connect with a private nanny agency. They are typically well-equipped to find a full-time care placement for families. This may be a great fit for someone who needs a nanny to work consistent hours versus flexible, part-time, or spot childcare.

Most agencies require that the parents pay to begin the process of finding a nanny and signing a contract. Unlike Otter, it may be more difficult to find an agency that supports caregivers that might bring their kids along to care with them, an option some parents prefer because of the socialization opportunities for their child. While some parents do also use social media groups to connect with potential nannies, they lack the ability to validate their personal information or perform background checks.

No matter what avenue you take to finding reliable childcare, we’re cheering for you! We know the work that goes into juggling all the things for everyone around you. We hope this list helps a little as you tackle the challenge of finding safe, trustworthy care for your kids!

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