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What to Do when your Daycare isn't Available

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What to Do when your Daycare isn't Available

One of the most frequent problems parents run into when their child attends daycare is what to do if the daycare provider becomes ill or is otherwise unavailable to care for their child. Daycare providers, especially if the facility is home based, often have emergency situations like everyone else. They may become ill, need to take a vacation or attend to a family situation. While that is certainly understandable, it can leave you in a lurch if you’re not well prepared for all eventualities. Read on to discover tips to help you understand how to handle these types of situations.

One of the options available to you if your childcare worker is unavailable or if your child is unable to attend daycare because they are slightly under the weather is to simply choose someone else. Obviously this choice depends on having a backup choice that is readily available. For some families this may mean calling an aunt or grandma. When those choices aren’t available; however, it’s a good idea to make sure you have a backup choice already lined up, even if it’s not a relative. Do be sure to take the time in advance; however, to meet the person and make sure you feel comfortable with them. A good time to do this is when you sign your child up for daycare. Locate an alternate second choice and make sure they accept drop-ins just in case your regular provider is not available one day.

If the problem is that your own child is sick and you simply can’t stay home (or your second choice daycare facility isn’t available for drop-ins that day) your next best choice may be to select a relative. Always be sure to ask ahead of time; however, and make sure the person you ask won’t mind occasionally helping out. Never just make assumptions.

Another option would be what is known as share care. This type of arrangement works by swapping care with another family in your neighborhood. For example, let’s say you buddy up with the Jones family down the street. It would work like this: if your childcare worker is sick or your child can’t go to daycare because she’s ill, they will take care and vice versa.

Other options include utilizing what is known as sick-child care. There are a few childcare centers around that actually specialize in caring for sick children. This basically works much like in-home child care. Due to that, the price tends to be somewhat more costly than regular daycare. You can anticipate paying $65 per day and up, depending on your location. Some employers will cover at least a portion of the cost; however, if it means they won’t lose an employee from a day of work when there’s an important presentation or meeting scheduled.

You might also consider calling a nanny agency. Some agencies keep a listing of caregivers who work on an emergency basis. Once again, the price tends to be somewhat higher than regular care, but it could be worth it if you absolutely have no other choices and can’t miss work yourself to stay home.

Another good idea is to check with the local college or university. You may be able to locate a list of student nurses who are willing to pitch in if your child is sick and can’t go to daycare. Just make sure you plan ahead and meet the person to be sure you feel comfortable leaving your child with them first.

Of course, the final option if you can’t find any other resources, is to stay home yourself. Check with your employer to see if you can make up the time by working extra hours or whether it would be possible for you to work from home that day.