LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: How to maintain a personal child care village.

The rising cost of child care and the lack of availability are big reasons why millions of moms and dads are making drastic decisions in order for their kids to be supervised. Parent advocates are encouraging caregivers to build a personal child care village. This support system can include family members, friends, and even trusted neighbors. The idea is to find a collection of people that you can rely on to watch your children, and in turn, you watch their kids when needed, or find other ways to pay them back.

Grace Bastidas, editor-in-chief of Parents says the first step is being ok with asking for help, figuring out the type of help you need… and then, reaching out and banding together with another family or friend to support each other.

“Let go of the guilt,” says Bastidas. “Guilt has no place in parenting. If you are feeling bad, or imposing on somebody else, well, they need help too. There’s a give and take. Maybe there is something they need that you can help them with, like trading babysitting hours. If it’s a family member, maybe you pay them, they are retired and need some extra cash.”

For maintaining your village, Bastidas offers these tips:

*Communicate – Be clear with your village about the needs of your child and what is expected from you

*Organize – Your village contacts and child care schedule should be harmonious

*Prepare – If plans fall through, be ready to problem solve.

Bastidas says, There isn’t a one-size fits all approach in building your support system, just that, finding and building that network of people you trust, can really help lessen the child care strain many parents are dealing with right now.