Author Topic: How to get experience with babies and young kids (0-6)  (Read 1835 times)

Novik

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How to get experience with babies and young kids (0-6)
« on: January 29, 2018, 10:35:43 AM »
Hi all -

I'm looking for suggestions on cheap/free/side hustle ways to meet babies and little kids (age 0-6), and get experience with them.

Background: My partner and I like kids, have worked a lot with kids 7+, and are planning to have kids in the future. What we don't have is much/any experience with the 0-6 crowd. I'd like to start working on fixing that in the coming years. Unfortunately, we current have no local friends or relatives with little kids. (I do have coworkers with kids that age but am not comfortable crossing professional boundaries there).

Current ideas:
  • offer mother's helper/babysitting in local buy nothing or neighbourhood facebook groups  (not optimistic due to age/strangers)
  • volunteering at our local community centre's 0-6 programs (not optimistic on scheduling given 9-5 jobs)
  • volunteering to supervise/coach a sports team (this could help with 4-6... not sure how much exists under that)
I'm wondering what other ideas the MMM crowd has, or which of the ideas above you think it best/most likely to work? I would really appreciate anyone who chimes in from a parent's perspective.

Thanks!

BrandNewPapa

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Re: How to get experience with babies and young kids (0-6)
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2018, 10:45:03 AM »
If you're a member of a church or community group, ask the leader about members with young kids.

I have a friend with triplets - they are always looking for help. They have a few "community helpers" from their church that gives them support a few hours a week.

Novik

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Re: How to get experience with babies and young kids (0-6)
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2018, 11:20:26 AM »
No church group, but but definitely joining a community group is something I could look into - especially since we'd like to meet more local people anyways. There's tons of young families in our neighbourhood, so if we join a group the odds look good. Thanks for the idea!

reeshau

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Re: How to get experience with babies and young kids (0-6)
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2018, 11:44:20 AM »
I would also look to your community recreation & education dept.  While you mentioned helping with sports teams, there are a lot of other activities for younger kids, too:  crafts, summer day camp, halloween events, swimming lessons, etc.  And they always need help beyond the teacher / skilled leader.

Also, your local library probably has some reading or open kids times that need assistance.

I have a 2 year old, and he goes to a number of programs sponsored by our local school district.  We felt that besides opportunities to be social, it would also help him be comfortable with the elementary school building itself, and associate it with positive things before he ever faced going there daily.

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Re: How to get experience with babies and young kids (0-6)
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2018, 12:08:35 PM »
I'd recommend a community center and see if you can volunteer with programs- I taught toddlers (age 2-5) ice skating for about 10 years, that was fun.
 
Or maybe a library and volunteer to do a story or craft time?

jambongris

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Re: How to get experience with babies and young kids (0-6)
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2018, 12:23:27 PM »


Current ideas:
  • offer mother's helper/babysitting in local buy nothing or neighbourhood facebook groups  (not optimistic due to age/strangers)

What’s this about free child care in Ottawa? I’ve got two under 6 and I like saving money.



I don’t really have any helpful suggestions unfortunately. When I think through our kids’ activities none of them seem amenable to your situation (although I’m probably not thinking hard enough).

Soccer was coached by parents.

Gymnastics was coached by teen gymnasts from that gym.

Formal play groups are generally run by an early childhood educator or the like.

Summer camps wouldn’t really work with your 9-5 schedule.

Maybe check out the museums and rec centres with regards to birthday parties? I think a lot of them rent out space for birthdays and they probably need someone to help setup everything up, explain the rules to kids, meet the parents and kids when they arrive, etc. A lot of the parties will probably be older kids though so maybe that won’t work.

If you do advertise your child minding services on the local parenting Facebook groups I would suggest maybe including a price, even if it’s on the lower end. Online ads for free babysitting probably set off all kids of red flags.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: How to get experience with babies and young kids (0-6)
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2018, 01:13:11 PM »
I don't think you need to stress this one very much.

I had almost zero experience with babies and toddlers when I became a parent, to the point that my mother tattled to the nurse that I had never changed a diaper in my life.  The nurse immediately brought me baby and a diaper and showed me how to do it.

When you are ready to begin a family, many hospitals offer classes in how to care for newborns and what to expect (beyond the given of no sleep).

Once you have kids of your own, it will be easier to meet other parents with kids.  You'll learn from each other.  Your kid will teach you, too. 

Novik

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Re: How to get experience with babies and young kids (0-6)
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2018, 07:57:23 PM »
Thank you everyone for the suggestions!

I would also look to your community recreation & education dept.  While you mentioned helping with sports teams, there are a lot of other activities for younger kids, too:  crafts, summer day camp, halloween events, swimming lessons, etc.  And they always need help beyond the teacher / skilled leader.

Also, your local library probably has some reading or open kids times that need assistance.

Thanks for the suggestion of other activities to help out with - especially the library. Do you have a sense of how often these fall outside a 9-5 schedule?

I'd recommend a community center and see if you can volunteer with programs- I taught toddlers (age 2-5) ice skating for about 10 years, that was fun.

Ice skating would be so much fun! I'd need some qualifications to do that here (Canada, eh?), but maybe an on ice helper for something would be a lower bar.

Whatís this about free child care in Ottawa? Iíve got two under 6 and I like saving money.
...
If you do advertise your child minding services on the local parenting Facebook groups I would suggest maybe including a price, even if itís on the lower end. Online ads for free babysitting probably set off all kids of red flags.

Whereabouts in the city are you? If it turns out we're neighbours then maybe we can connect :)  (either way hopefully we can meet at one of the ottawa meetups eventually) Agree that a lot of activities have built in adults already. Thanks for the tip about price.

I don't think you need to stress this one very much.

I had almost zero experience with babies and toddlers when I became a parent, to the point that my mother tattled to the nurse that I had never changed a diaper in my life.  The nurse immediately brought me baby and a diaper and showed me how to do it. 

I appreciate your thoughts on this - I wouldn't say I'm stressed about this, merely aware that unlike most humans throughout history, I could easily have my baby be the first baby I cared for. If there's a reasonably easy/cheap way to avert that, I'd like to - I'm asking now so I have years to solve the problem. And of course I plan on taking a prenatal class when the time comes.

The other reason I'm interested in this, is that my partner and I have spent a lot of time on summer jobs working with kids and really enjoyed it - but there's no easy way to stay involved with kids when you're childless adults moving into office jobs, and we (he more than I but also myself) miss that. Kids are fun! (and annoying, and frustrating and a lot of work... I know).



Again, thank you everyone for the suggestions - I'm going to look into what kind of evening/weekend programs the local community centre and pool has, as well as the library, schools, sports leagues and misc clubs... a friend of mine is a brownie leader so there might be an in there. Between all of those, given that I'm not in a rush and can wait for the right season of programs, I'm hopeful I can find something!

Freedomin5

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Re: How to get experience with babies and young kids (0-6)
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2018, 08:01:05 PM »
Hospitals - volunteer in the NICU to hold newborns or the pediatric departments.

Orphanages - there are tons of them in China who are always looking for volunteers to play with the children. For some reason, I can't think of any in Canada.

reeshau

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Re: How to get experience with babies and young kids (0-6)
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2018, 06:31:16 AM »

I would also look to your community recreation & education dept.  While you mentioned helping with sports teams, there are a lot of other activities for younger kids, too:  crafts, summer day camp, halloween events, swimming lessons, etc.  And they always need help beyond the teacher / skilled leader.

Also, your local library probably has some reading or open kids times that need assistance.

Thanks for the suggestion of other activities to help out with - especially the library. Do you have a sense of how often these fall outside a 9-5 schedule?

Depending on how bold you want to be, I don't think it would matter.  If they don't have any programs in a timeframe that works for you, then suggest / lead / lobby for it.

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Re: How to get experience with babies and young kids (0-6)
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2018, 07:03:40 AM »

Ice skating would be so much fun! I'd need some qualifications to do that here (Canada, eh?), but maybe an on ice helper for something would be a lower bar.
I started as on-ice helper, did it for about 5 years before I got a learn to skate class, did not have credentials to do private lessons; though I did help at birthday parties.  The rink paid my insurance for me since I wasn't a full coach.  Whatever you do, make sure you have insurance!


I also saw you mention girl guides. I volunteer regularly with our local girl scout council, despite not having kids in that age range, and have for 15 years!  I've lead a troop (big commitment) and now I'm just an event helper when they need me (small commitment).  This would be at the higher end of your range, though, as the youngest are 5-6 year olds.  Our council is always looking for people to help with programs- people in STEM careers, artists, craftspeople, outdoorsy people, financial literacy information, people with fun hobbies- anything they can share with the girls through engaging programming.

I agree with the person who said it doesn't matter if library programming is outside of the 9-5: if you build it, they will come!  (But our libraries have toddler story time on saturday too.)

jambongris

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Re: How to get experience with babies and young kids (0-6)
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2018, 09:33:00 AM »
Whatís this about free child care in Ottawa? Iíve got two under 6 and I like saving money.
...
If you do advertise your child minding services on the local parenting Facebook groups I would suggest maybe including a price, even if itís on the lower end. Online ads for free babysitting probably set off all kids of red flags.

Whereabouts in the city are you? If it turns out we're neighbours then maybe we can connect :)  (either way hopefully we can meet at one of the ottawa meetups eventually) Agree that a lot of activities have built in adults already. Thanks for the tip about price.

I follow the Ottawa meet-up thread but it hasn't worked out yet; maybe next time.

We're in the Tunney's Pasture area, near the nearly-demolished Trailhead.

andreamac

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Re: How to get experience with babies and young kids (0-6)
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2018, 04:52:13 PM »
Whatís this about free child care in Ottawa? Iíve got two under 6 and I like saving money.
...
If you do advertise your child minding services on the local parenting Facebook groups I would suggest maybe including a price, even if itís on the lower end. Online ads for free babysitting probably set off all kids of red flags.

Whereabouts in the city are you? If it turns out we're neighbours then maybe we can connect :)  (either way hopefully we can meet at one of the ottawa meetups eventually) Agree that a lot of activities have built in adults already. Thanks for the tip about price.

I follow the Ottawa meet-up thread but it hasn't worked out yet; maybe next time.

We're in the Tunney's Pasture area, near the nearly-demolished Trailhead.

I'm from Ottawa as well, live in Stittsville but work at Tunney's Pasture area. Maybe Dovercourt would have some volunteer positions with kids? FYI you will need a police record check no matter where you volunteer.

I'm off on maternity leave right now with a 9 month old, this age is cute and fun but still a lot of work :) Says mom who couldn't get her to nap today since she is teething :(

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Re: How to get experience with babies and young kids (0-6)
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2018, 10:06:21 PM »
I'd advertise as a babysitter available on the local facebook mom groups.  It's hard to find babysitters that can stay out late (like past 8 or 9 pm) on a school night.  High schoolers can stay up later babysitting on weekends but I still feel bad staying out past 11 pm because I know their parents are likely waiting up for them.  Young, childless adults are ideal for this type of thing but hard to come by, I think.  Believe me, a few good experiences with a couple parents and you'll have all their friends calling you too.  A good, reliable babysitter is hard to find!  (for the record, we pay about $10/hour for 2 super good kids that go to bed at 7 pm).

I think it's totally acceptable to say you love working with older kids and are looking to get more experience with younger kids before you have some of your own in a couple years.  We have a local group with where people post who are looking for childcare (or have childcare available).  You could join one locally if it exists and wait until you see someone looking who would be a good fit for the availability you have.  I often see people who had their sitter cancel last minute and need someone asap so might be a good way to get your foot in the door with younger kid experience (and a good side gig!),

LiveLean

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Re: How to get experience with babies and young kids (0-6)
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2018, 07:39:02 AM »

Until you have kids of your own, it's really hard to simulate the situation. Sure, you can babysit, change diapers, be the greatest aunt/uncle/teacher/coach, etc., but until you're responsible 24/7, it's hard to get the full experience.

The good news is that you'll catch on quickly. When you're working 24/7 at anything, you get up to speed pretty quickly. Which isn't to say parenting isn't the toughest gig in the world -- it is -- but billions have been down this road before. You'll be fine regardless of how much "experience" you get beforehand.

FredVasco

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Re: How to get experience with babies and young kids (0-6)
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2018, 07:37:38 AM »
Thanks a lot for such great tips

Acorns

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Re: How to get experience with babies and young kids (0-6)
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2018, 10:21:09 PM »
The YMCA in my area has some volunteers who help out in the childcare area. Most of the staff are paid positions but they do take volunteers as well (these require a background check). The childcare is open some weekend hours, if you are open to that.

MBot

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Re: How to get experience with babies and young kids (0-6)
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2018, 07:06:34 PM »
I know you said you aren't  part of a church, but often the large sized churches have really well-run kids and nursery programs that could always use volunteers -- and don't require that you be of the faith to be a helper in the program.

So if you're OK volunteering somewhere that's a faith community you can get experience that way. They'll come with training and a police check too.

Novik

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Re: How to get experience with babies and young kids (0-6)
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2018, 04:46:17 PM »
Even more amazing ideas, wow! Thank you everyone. These past few months have been overwhelmingly busy but my partner and I are aiming to change that as activities end and we try very, very hard not to sign up for anything else.

So maybe with some of the free evenings, I will check into the babysitting and volunteering ideas. Will work well as spring activities for kids ramp up too.