With the holiday season upon us, many working parents find themselves scrambling to find childcare during daycare holiday closures. If you send your child to daycare, it’s important that you have back up care lined up for any care situations that may arise.
In addition to holiday closures you may find yourself needing care for any of the following situations:
- Sick home daycare provider: There are many reasons that a parent might choose to send their child to a home daycare provider. These may include being in a more home-like environment, smaller groups and mixed-age groups. However, a disadvantage of a home daycare is the possibility of your daycare provider falling ill. You would then be required to find another care option while your provider is sick.
- Snow days: We all loved those snow days as a child but they are a very different story for the working parent. Often schools and daycares close well before businesses close, requiring the parent to go into work. So it’s important that you have a back up care provider for these days.
- Work emergencies: With busy work schedules and important projects you never know when a late night will come up or an emergency meeting may be called. You should always have someone in line to pick up your child from daycare and care for them at home.
- Sick child: Unfortunately it’s bound to happen some time. Your baby is bound to get sick, especially when in a daycare environment with many other children. But you may not always be able to stay home to take care of them. You should have someone in line to take care of your child for the duration of the illness. Make sure you understand your daycare’s illness policies but most require a fever to be gone for at least 24 hours before returning to the daycare.
No matter what situation you find yourself in, you’ll always want to have plenty of back up care options in line. Below you will find multiple ideas to help you build your emergency care list:
- On-call babysitter: It is a great idea to have a few babysitters on your emergency care list. A few ways to find quality babysitters are: 1. Childcare websites like care.com 2. Recommendations from friends 3. Facebook groups in your area
It is best to interview your babysitter options well before an emergency arises. You should also set up a time for the babysitter to watch your child so that both the child and the babysitter are comfortable with each other when the need arises.
- Babysitting trade: With the rising costs of childcare many friends decide to trade babysitting hours with each other for free. See if you have a friend who stays at home that may be willing to watch your child during the daytime hours. You could offer to trade evening and weekend hours. This would be a great way for both families to save childcare money!
- Family: If you’re blessed with family that live nearby ask if you can call on them in case of emergency care needs. Most likely they will be happy to have the chance to care for your child.
- Drop-in care: Check around your area for a drop-in care facility. Many of these types of facilities have holiday hours and snow day hours. Visit your drop-in care options before the need for them arises. That way you, your child and the caregivers feel comfortable.
- Care options at work: Many companies have started to facilitate back up care for employees. Companies are finding that it improves their bottom line if they provide access to nannies and back up care so that their employees can log more working hours during emergencies. Check with your HR department regarding any childcare programs they may provide.
- Holiday day camps: Many extracurricular activity facilities offer day camps during holidays that stretch through daycare hours to make getting to work easier. Once you get your daycare’s holiday schedule check day camp options and reserve a spot well in advance before they book up.
How to prepare for emergency care options
- Make an easily accessible list of backup care options. Make sure to put the hours each option is available and all contact information.
- Visit any drop-in daycares and interview/meet up with back up babysitters and nannies. For any drop-in facilities make sure you have filled out and submitted any required paperwork before an emergency need arises.
- Put together a binder of all your child’s important information like vaccinations, allergies, feeding, sleeping and diaper schedules. Also include important parent/guardian contact information. If you are hiring a nanny or babysitter you can share your child’s schedule with them via the BlueSmart app and they can update it while your baby is under their care.
The best time to prepare for unexpected childcare needs is now! This holiday season is the perfect time to get prepared.