What Is Your Child Care Backup Plan?

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Weather-related cancellations can create major havoc in your work schedule—IF you are not prepared. Put your mind at ease with a child care backup plan.

Do you have a child care backup plan?

It’s been more than a year since I ditched the commute and set up my home office. It’s very rare that I come across any downfalls to being a remote employee. In the midst of the winter storm earlier this month, my work from home status created a problem, though. When everyone else, including our child care, had a snow day, I still had to work.

The problem was, I had never bothered to come up with a child care back up plan. I know better, but because it’s rare that a child care center closes, I had never taken the time to put a plan in place.

The first day was not too bad. My husband was able to take time off to keep our boys entertained. He had one call scheduled for the afternoon but we made it work by turning on the TV for the 3-year-old (not my proudest parenting moment but what option did we have?) and I held our baby while listening to a conference call. Then we got the news that the child care center was going to be closed a second day. My husband had to work, although he would also be working from home that day. I planned to take time off but that did not work out how I planned. As soon as I logged onto my computer, I was bombarded with emails and meeting requests.

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We survived but it certainly was not an ideal arrangement. We will be better prepared in the future.

Whether you use center-based child care, home-based care, a nanny or friends and family, you should have a plan in case they experience illness, a natural disaster or any other reason for not being available. Make sure your back up care is also safe and will provide quality care.

Check out our affiliate Care.com for backup child care options—it might come in handy if you don’t have friends or family who can help at a moment’s notice.

While you are thinking about it, you might want to check with your child care provider to find out how emergencies and natural disasters are handled while children are present. Do you know where children will be moved to in the event of a fire? What will happen if staff become ill?

Hopefully you won’t need a child care backup plan, but it’s much easier to deal with last-minute weather emergencies if you have a plan in place before you need it.

Let's face it: There will be times when the babysitter can't make it or your daycare is closed. Do you have a child care backup plan at the ready?

More thoughts on a child care backup plan

  • Backup Sitters: Even when you have a flexible job, it might not be realistic to expect you can watch your child and get your work done if your daycare is closed.
  • Working on Snow Days: What’s a working mom to do if school’s closed? When backup care’s not available, here’s how to keep the kids entertained when you’re working on snow days.
  • The Inconvenience of School Closings: You might love snow, but when it snows during the work week and school is closed multiple days in a row? Not so much.

Jillian Ritter

Jillian is the mother to two sweet and busy boys, born in 2010 and 2013. She works full time from a home office while her sons attend center based child care. Her work is in the child care field, working to increase child care quality. Jillian started blogging after the birth of her second son as a way to share the joys and frustrations of parenting. Her personal experiences as a working mother and her professional background led her to write about working parents. Her degrees in child and youth development lend themselves to her writing as well. When not working or blogging, she enjoys spending time being active with her family. They particularly enjoy being outside exploring nature. She takes advantage of rare alone time by going for a run.

5 Comments

  1. Very timely post! In Cincinnati, schools are closing this week due to extreme wind chills. Who’da thunk it? So yeah, lots of working parents around here are scrambling to find childcare.

    I’ve had a couple of things work for us — including my parents who are retired and live nearby, and a neighbor who’s a stay-at-home mom and always willing to help in a pinch. I realize not everyone has such luxuries. But if you have the opportunity to get family and neighbors involved, take it! Also, there are agencies who can help you find backup services like that when you need it.

    • How nice that your parents are able to help. We have no family in the state with us so that would be a luxury! We are fortunate enough to have very helpful neighbors, though!

  2. Over the course of our daughter’s first year, we learned that back-up care is a must. It has saved our behinds many times! Very important topic- thanks for sharing, Jillian!

    • The first year in child care is the worst! It seems like they’re constantly sick until they build a tolerance to the germs. It is also a struggle when they’re sick and you want to be the one taking care of them.

  3. […] so, I wonder: how do parents plan for unexpected events like a snow day? Do you make sure to have a back-up sitter on hand? Do you take personal or sick days? Are your employers helpful, or have you experienced negative […]

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