10 minute emergency planning

Wills, emergency plans, life insurance. Most of us suck at them all. I know I do. I’ve procrastinated to the point of irresponsibility. Because I don’t want to think about who gets my kids if I’m not there or worry about Ms M having to hand my 3-year-old the hastily written note in her earthquake bag. I hate the thought of a reality that remotely needs my having thought through these questions.

So I don’t.

But if there is one thing that this past year has shown us with all of the devastating floods and fires, mudslides and errant missile alerts, it’s that we all need to have these conversations. And we need to plan.

It’s because it’s hard, that it’s necessary.

At Poppy we try to make the hard, delightful. So we thought of finding a way to make this as pain-free and straightforward for families.

So here’s a wonderfully simple and non-overwhelming approach to emergency planning. A quick little quiz that spits out a handy-dandy emergency plan for you, put together by Sharon Pope, a marketer and a mama that loses sleep like we do over this stuff.

Let’s do this.

1) Make a Plan.
Take 10 minutes and fill out the Emergency Plan form now: 
FAM DISASTER PREP Home

This plan is West Coast-centric and focused on earthquakes but plan for the emergencies that are most relevant for where you live: Family Disaster Plan

2) Gather Supplies.
Then, buy whatever supplies your home might be missing: 
Disaster Supply List FAM DISASTER PREP

  • Don’t forget that water, fire extinguishers and flashlights
  • Also photocopies of personal documents

3) Share and Practice. 
Finally, tell the people that will need to know about your plan: family, nannies, teachers, neighbors. And practice the plan.

It’s not fun to think about or plan for. But if you’re like me, you’ll definitely sleep easier once you have.


Other Resources:
1) Government emergency info: Plan Ahead for Disasters | Ready.gov

2) American Red Cross: Make a Plan

3) Build your own kit list: Build a Kit

4) Emergency Planning with your kids: WIRED article 

5) Ready-made Earthquake Kit: Earthquake Bag

Introducing Poppy Sitter!

Childcare professionals can come in many shapes and sizes. They are particularly varied when it comes to their experience. Some have nannied for 8 years while others were camp counselors. Some have graduate degrees related to children and others just informal know-how.

At Poppy we pride ourselves in working to understand each caregiver’s experience, qualifications, and strengths. For the past couple years as we developed that expertise, we chose to work with the most experienced caregivers.

That has meant not only highly experienced caregivers that can deal with the most complex of situations but higher rates to fairly compensate these professionals.

We are committed to finding different options that work for families’ many different needs. Which is why we are introducing a new Poppy Sitter tier, to supplement the existing tier, which will now be called Poppy Pro.

What’s the difference?

Poppy Sitters are vetted the same rigorous way we vet all caregivers, but their childcare experience has been in more informal settings like occasional babysitting for a handful of families. Their experience tends to match well with caring for kiddos 2 years and up.

Poppy Sitters are $17/hr for one child, $18/hr for two kids and $19/hr for 3 kids.
Our original tier will now be called Poppy Pros and these will continue to be those caregivers that have extensive experience in more formal childcare roles (i.e full-time nanny or working in a professional setting) and they’re able to work with a more diverse range of ages and needs. Poppy Pros start at $20/hr and include Infant Specialists that start at $24/hr.

Meet a couple of our Poppy Sitters!

Are Poppy Sitters a good fit for my family?

Every family is different so we suggest asking these questions and assessing what Tier is the best for my needs.
  • Are my kids over 2 years old? Generally Poppy Sitters have experience with kids over 2 years old, so if you have younger kids or are looking for someone experienced with diapers, naps etc, Poppy Sitter won’t be a fit for you.
  • Do we have simple routines and needs? Things like consistent bedtimes, simple meals and no discipline concerns? Then consider a Poppy Sitter. Otherwise having a Poppy Pro will help put you at ease if there are tricky bedtimes or special needs involved.
  • Do I want more of a responsible playmate than a professional that should be an authority figure? Poppy Sitters are typically younger college students less experienced in different discipline philosophies while Poppy Pros have some type of professional experience whether it’s as a nanny, teacher, therapist etc.
  • Do you need caregivers that have experience with specific skillsets (eg. Infants or special needs)? If so, Poppy Pros will be a better fit.


How do I request a Poppy Sitter?

Now, when you submit a request, you’ll be able to select which tiers you’d like us to match you with. If you’re flexible, choose both. (Just a note that as we get up and going, the availability of Poppy Sitters will be more limited than Poppy Pros but we’ll let you know and ask if you’re okay with getting a Pro instead.)

tiers.png
Poppy Sitters are a wonderful addition to the Poppy family. Caregivers that bring a great energy and passion for childcare and who are perfect for many of the families in our community.

Feel free to text us if you have any questions or if you wonder if a Poppy Sitter will be a good fit for your family.

Or, try it out and request a Poppy Sitter now: Request a Poppy

As always, we’re committed to building the modern village with the options that work best for today’s families. 

PS Anytime we mention Sitter it’ll mean the Poppy Sitter tier. Our general term will always be Poppies” or caregivers”.

Are you discussing these 5 questions with your caregiver before you leave?

The sitter is supposed to be here in 3 minutes, I’m still not ready and I haven’t had a chance to write down all of the “instructions”. The girls know we’re headed out, tipped off by the frenzy of our last minute preparations and are now super clingy.
The door bell rings. 
Great. 
Somehow I never get the chance to present the calm, “got-my-s@*#-together” front I always dream about in my head.
“Come on in! It’s a bit crazy right now…” I trail off with that little crazy laugh that says “when is it sane, but please go along”.
And as I realize I’m going to have to wing the walk-through, I wish I had a handy checklist that I could just cover off.
I’ve lived through this scene countless times and never got around to actually creating that checklist. It wasn’t until I started seeing how every parent suffers from the same problem that I could see exactly what points are most helpful to cover off to make sure everyone is happy at the end of the day or night.
At Poppy, after helping with thousands of bookings, we have seen how important clear communication and expectations are at the beginning of both every relationship but also every handoff. We’ve used those learnings to come up with different ways to communicate household rules and routines and help facilitate that conversation.
But there are still some important questions that is helpful for every household to make sure everyone has the same clear expectations. After all, great caregivers are experienced and can handle a range of situations but I’ve learned that sometimes as parents we can forget that they’re not mind readers.
So to help, here are 5 questions to make sure you cover:
1. How do you want to communicate, and how often? Some parents like myself, like to check in every so often and I love getting pictures of what the kids are up to. Doesn’t matter if it’s date night or a regular work day. Others prefer the “no news is good news” policy. Whatever your preference, just let your caregiver know.
2. Is there any thing specifically off limits? Screentime, snacks/food, outdoor play, areas in the house. This is a biggie but probably the most overlooked in most walkthroughs. We parents are so focused on what should be done that we forget to communicate things that are off limits. Kids are wily and will try to get away with all sorts of things if the caregiver doesn’t know they’re not allowed. So things like screentime or snacks or if you’re okay with kids going outside (and what are approved outdoor spaces) or areas that are off limits in the house. Again, the objective is to highlight some of the house rules and expectations that are super important to your family so the caregiver can seamlessly enforce them as well.
3. What things are really important to you today to get done? This is something similar but a bit less critical. These are the specific schedule things you need to be done while you’re away. Like dinner around 6pm or lights off at 8:30pm or bath and homework. These expectations help the caregiver plan out the time using these as the milestone markers. Try to pick only the few most important ones and trust an experienced caregiver to be able to fill in the rest.
4. Where can you be reached if the caregiver can’t get through on your phone? While you likely will and should exchange phone numbers, we’ve seen all too often phones that run out of battery or no answer if the parent is in a meeting. If a caregiver needs to reach someone, give them one or two other options – ideally a neighbor nearby and a spouse/ other family member.
5. When do you want the caregiver to reach out or consult you? 
This is a tricky one but is really important if the caregiver doesn’t yet really know your family. Like communication, some parents trust the judgement of an experienced caregiver to make the right call – whether it’s getting a child to eat or going outside for a walk. Other parents prefer to be consulted if there are any questions at all. For example – say a caregiver is changing a diaper and the notes say to use diaper cream but the caregiver can’t find it. Some parents are okay if the caregiver uses the vaseline that’s there and others would prefer you text/call and ask where the cream is. No judgement on which way is right – it’s the preference of every family. But communicating that expectation upfront makes it easier for everyone so that you’re not irritated by questions asked that you find trivial or you’re not frustrated when you find your detailed instructions weren’t followed to the T.
Bonus: many parents these days may be sticking around the house to work or do errands. In this case, an important question to cover is: How do you want to handle being in the same space?I’ve learned this one the hard way because I used to work from home. And as much as I wanted to pop in and say hi whenever I wanted, I quickly saw how this undermined the authority of my nanny and how inevitably when I would need to leave again, I would be handing a crying mess back to her. That wasn’t fair to her and it confused the kids. So now I set clear expectations that I’ll be working in my office and if I need to come down I’ll text to give her warning to move the kids somewhere else. The point is, the more you discuss how you’d like that to work, the more the caregiver is able to effectively do their job.
It’s no surprise – all of these questions are rooted in basic expectation setting through clear, honest communication. I’ve personally found that while it felt a bit awkward in the beginning, now it’s second nature to discuss these things and everyone is happier.
What questions have you found helpful to discuss?

Adventuring on with Barefoot Books

I love books. I love the stories they tell, I love the worlds they open up. And now with two littles of my own I’ve so enjoyed sharing that love with them.

Of course there are many wonderful books – ones with tall tales or silly stories, ones with beautiful illustrations or simple doodles. It’s all about the story they weave and the place they transport us to.

So when I first came across Barefoot Books I was intrigued. They told beautifully engaging stories but woven in were these little extras – either a game or activity or learning feature. I loved how they shared ideas on how to extend the story and bring the concepts to life.

That was back when my oldest was maybe a year or two. Now four years later, we’ve only added to our collection.

I was reading one of the books to my younger daughter a couple of weeks ago and I thought our Poppy community would love these books so I reached out to the CEO, Nancy Traversy. She has graciously extended our Poppy family a 25% discount for any of the books they carry – just use the code POPPY on Barefootbooks.com.

Here are some of our favs to get your own collection started…

barefoot-books

  1. I took the moon for a walk – a nighttime staple in our house that also introduces the basics of astronomy.
  2. Yoga Pretzels – we’ve also recently started doing “nighttime” yoga to wind down and these are great way to do that.
  3. World Atlas -I’m the biggest map nerd – I could stare at maps for hours on end and I love this book for how it starts to get kids interesting in this big beautiful world we live in.
  4. I could be, you could be – Such a simple book that encourages big imaginations. I love the suggestions at the back about creating masks and acting out different scenes.
  5. Big and small – a great little staple in a baby library with beautiful illustrations.

And a couple honorable mentions…

  • Spanish World of Words – with our girls getting fluent in Spanish with our nanny this book comes in handy when I don’t know what my toddler is saying and I finally realize she’s saying “ropa” (clothes).
  • Book of Children – in a world where empathy is needed more than ever, this is a beautiful book to start introducing those concepts naturally.

Happy adventuring!

Changing the face of childcare, one text at a time.

We’re called crazy. Regularly. Or delusional. Or native.

I like to call us bold and hopeful and driven.

Because we want to upend everything about this one, utterly fundamental space. About how we think about it, how we approach it, how we rely on it.

I’m talking about childcare. Something so very crucial to families functioning every week that very few of us have stopped to think: “is there a better way?”

I am certain that if you’re a parent you have dealt with an issue already this week. And it’s only Tuesday.

Issues like finding someone that you actually look forward to seeing or finding someone that you know will be available when you need them to be. Somebody that isn’t so expensive that you have to save up all of your pennies to afford them for one glorious date night, or requires 4 phone calls and 3 forms to get booked.

What if the childcare of the future recognized that what worked for families in the past isn’t what works for us now. That now, we need our villages more than ever but more than ever, we don’t have them. We’ve moved away from them and communities aren’t what they used to be.

So we need another model. Because the days of getting that responsible high school kid are over (someone already found her and is hoarding her phone number). And sifting through endless candidates on job sites is worse than listening to your toddler meltdown in the middle of the grocery store.

The fact is, families need access to talented, trustworthy caregivers that can support them when they need them. A team that is there to rely on through birthday parties and soccer practices, playtime and bedtime, homework and schedules and everything in between. Who are so good, that maybe they know what we need before we even do – like I know the very best caregivers do for my family.

So now the question is, how do we find these gems and how do we create a high quality community of trustworthy families and caregivers.

It is certainly a tall order.

So yeah, we may very well be crazy.

But this crazy can change the world if we get it right.

And I’ll willing to take that chance