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Childcare in a college town

<p>Anna Lindstrom is a college student by day and a full-time nanny on the weekends.</p>

Anna Lindstrom is a college student by day and a full-time nanny on the weekends.

In a small college town like Oxford, many parents in need of childcare find their options are limited to Miami University students and childcare centers.

On the Oxford Talk and Oxford Childcare Facebook pages, Oxford residents and Miami students frequently post about nannying opportunities.

Tori Shriver, a senior mechanical engineering major at Miami, offered her availability to nanny in an Oxford Talk post recently.

Shriver said nannying in Oxford is a lot different because of the hours families want her to work.

“I find it interesting what hours people need,” Shriver said. “Not everyone in a college town works a 9-5 … One of the families I babysit for manages a bar and restaurant, so the hours are very different.”

Not only do some college students nanny during abnormal hours, but they also have to manage their classes and extracurricular activities.

Shriver has only been nannying for two weeks and has already experienced some stress trying to balance everything.

“You kind of realize you can only commit to so much time,” Shriver said. “I already had to miss a meeting for a babysitting shift I had to pick up.”

Anna Lindstrom, a sophomore psychology, pre-medical studies and kinesiology major, has a part-time nanny job on the weekends.

Lindstrom said her social life has been more difficult to manage than her school work.

“It’s honestly harder to balance my social life with it because that takes out chunks of my Friday night or Saturday night, which is when I’d normally hang out with people,” Lindstrom said. “Schoolwise it’s not too bad because they go to sleep early ... In terms of hanging out with people, I’m not able to as much.”

Lindstrom also nannied in her hometown, but she said nannying in a college town is a different experience.

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“I have other things going on in my life, like a lot of school and some sorority events … so I’ve got a lot of other fun social things that I wouldn’t be doing in my hometown,” Lindstrom said. “It’s interesting to try to balance that out, so that’s something that I’ve never had to juggle previously while nannying.”

Jeff Rundle, the father of the children Lindstrom nannies for, said he and his wife look for a few things when they are in need of a nanny.

“We collectively always look for somebody that is going to set a good example for the kids, that shares the same value system that we do,” Rundle said. “We’re looking for people, at least through their demonstrated student activities, their demonstrated engagement, their leadership on campus, that you can tell what kind of person they are.”

In regards to COVID-19, Rundle said their family didn’t have a nanny for most of the pandemic.

“We went an extended period of time throughout the pandemic without any additional babysitting or nanny assistance,” Rundle said. “I think we certainly valued the health of our family. I would say now vaccination status is very important to us and understanding what that is, and I think we want to be mindful of the environments we are creating.”

Rundle said Lindstrom had a connection with his kids almost immediately and knew she would be a great fit.

“The kids had an immediately positive reaction to her, and they were very interested in talking with her,” Rundle said. “She has been great so far. They had a very good initial reaction. She seemed willing to play, as well as make sure that there was some structure that they were consistent with as well.”

Another option for childcare in Oxford is Mini University, a child development center located on Miami’s Western Campus.

Lauren Kolks, director of Mini University, said the center is focused mainly on educating children.

“It’s different from a nanny because you have the education component with it …We have an infant, toddler and pre-k program,” Kolks said. “Each program is similar, and we use something called a creative curriculum.”

Kolks said Mini University has priority families, professors and other people affiliated with Miami. A full-time or part-time schedule is available for children, and they currently have 97 children, with only 10 in the part-time schedule. 

Anyone can apply to Mini University, including Miami students.

“We currently have seven students working at Mini University,” Kolks said. “Us being on a college campus is so beneficial for people. Anyone’s Miami ID gives them access inside.”

Kolks enjoys the relationships created between the teachers, children and parents. 

"My favorite part is getting to know the children and to watch them grow," Kolks said. "I was attracted to the relationships we create with families. Parents are really involved on campus."