Help! Childcare Alternatives



As careful as you try to keep your little one away from ill people, germs spread and kids get sick.  Unfortunately, not every family is fortunate to have relatives who can come to the rescue.  And let’s face it, a sick child causes havoc with your little one’s daycare and your work schedule.   Although parents arrange time off work to care for their very sick child, how do parents handle the daycare situation for minor illnesses. 

Work on an alternative plan before it happens.

  • Inquire at current childcare facility. Some facilities have a system in place for sick children.  This includes a quarantined section in the building to a referral with a nanny service.  Inquire at your daycare center to see if they offer available help for clients. 
  • Arrange “team tag” with spouse.  Possibly you and your spouse can work out an arrangement by taking turns staying home with the little one. This time its mom’s turn to stay home from work, next time its dad’s turn. Or maybe dad can go to work early and leave early. When he comes home, mom can go to work.  This is great for parents who have flex time.   Discuss this option with your employer ahead of time to see if this idea could work for you.
  • Obtain options from ot her working parents.  With over five million working moms in the United States, ask other mothers what they do when their child is sick. Strike up a conversation with other moms you know and those you don’t. Whether you’re in the grocery store, at the mall or at the hairdresser, someone might have a connection or solution for you. 
  • Ask an at-home neighbor, mom or college student for help.  Are there any neighbors or moms who are at home during the day?  Or is there a college student on break?   Although most moms wouldn’t want to expose their children to a sick child, possibly in a pinch, the mom could come to your house after her youngsters leave for school.  Offer to compensate.  It can be  monetary or possibly by watching her children some weekend evening in return.  Make sure you work out details regarding how early in the morning you can call and what time the person would be available.
  • Seek help from religious members.  Ask your minister, priest or rabbi if he knows of anyone looking for casual work.  Many times, retirees are available to help out and could possibly be looking to make a little bit of extra money.  Retired nurses and teachers make great substitutions. If your minister doesn’t know of anyone at that time, ask him to keep you in mind.  

By making a plan for alternative childcare before you need it, you’ll save yourself some of the stress that comes with being a working parent.