What do you do? Who do you call?
If this sounds far-fetched, it’s not. It happened just the other week to one of the members of the Care.com team. Karen’s future mother-in-law was away on a business trip and left her three boys (and two puppies) in her longtime nanny’s care. While she was away, her nanny suddenly had to be hospitalized. The mom was left to call around and find someone to care for her family while also trying to find a way to get back into town. Luckily, Karen lives close enough to step in and care for the family in the short term. She also let her mother-in-law know about the ways Care.com helps families in a pinch find backup babysitters, last-minute care, and even pet sitters on short notice. This time around, Karen and her fiancé took care of the boys and dogs until Mom came home. But the family plans to use Care.com for backup care in the future!
You should never underestimate the importance of having backup child care plans. Families experience about six care crises each year and need backup care when a babysitter gets sick, school’s cancelled, or there’s a sudden schedule change. Most parents faced with these situations take time off from work to handle them, according to the State of Care Index. But isn’t always a possibility, and that’s where your backup planning comes into play.
You should always have someone you can go to in an emergency. When Ryan and Adam were young, my brother lived nearby with his family. We were always there for each other’s kids in a pinch! Sadly, many parents don’t have the luxuries of relatives nearby, but a trusted neighbor or friend may be willing to step in during an emergency. Whoever you decide to use, make sure your kids know the backup arrangements you’ve made so they’re not surprised when something comes up.
It’s also a good idea to have a list of backup babysitters. You never know when your typical sitter will get sick, move, or be double-booked! If you’re using Care.com, you can save lists of your “favorites.” Just click the little heart icon above the picture on a care providers’ profile to save them in your “My Caregivers” list. Interview backup care providers, request their background checks, and keep their contact info on file for when you need them later on.
If you’re in a pinch and you need child care at the very last minute, you can use Care-on-Call to send last-minute requests out to nearby babysitters who are available to work on short notice.
So tell me, what would you do today if your nanny had an emergency and suddenly went to the hospital? What if you were out of town? What’s your backup child care plan?