March 20, 2018

Finding Emergency Childcare

As a working parent, you are well aware of the multiple demands placed on you each day. There’s pressure from work, responsibilities for your children and the rest of your family, and your own needs. In coordinating your busy life, you have probably worked hard to establish good and reliable childcare for your children, whether that be after school care for older kids, or all day care for the little ones. What happens, however, when there is an unexpected illness or issue that impacts the care you have? What happens if you have a sick child who can’t go to school or daycare, but you still have to go to work? What happens when the day care center closes because they have a water leak or your babysitter is home sick herself? We get calls from parents all the time with these very real dilemmas. I complied a list of tips which I offer parents and hope that they are helpful to you as well.

  • Establish a list of family members or friends who may be able to help out in a pinch. If you work Monday – Friday but have a friend or relative who works weekends, consider being available to each other in case of an emergency.
  • Research after school programs in your area that may offer care. Many communities have after school programs that can be used regularly or as needed. Keep that information handy in case you need to access it quickly.
  • Compile a list of resources which offer emergency childcare options. Usually these resources are not cheap, but may be your only choice for the short term.
  • If, for some reason, your daycare center is closed, other parents will be in the same position as you. Talk with the parents of these other children and see if there is a way to collectively care for the children. You may each be able to cover a few hours allowing you to get to work for part of the day.
  • Speak with neighbors and friends with children to find out what resources they use in your community. The more options you have, the more likely it will be that you can find coverage quickly.
  • Recognize that you may need to piece together coverage throughout the day. For example, a friend may be able to help in the morning and a family member in the afternoon. It is ok to have multiple providers if that is what it takes.

Laura Jacobson, LICSW, CEAP