One of the hardest things for many working parents is worrying about child care. Whether you have family helping out or you've hired a baby-sitter or nanny, chances are they may call out sick once in a while.
It's best to have a backup plan in place in case you can't take the day off from work. Here, Katie Herrick Bugbee, senior managing editor and global parenting expert at Care.com, offers five tips if your nanny or baby-sitter calls out sick:
1. Call your human resources department and find out if your company offers a backup service, suggested Bugbee. "This might mean you can drop your child(ren) off at a day care center or connect with a service that places a well-vetted nanny at your doorstep within an hour or so," she said. "All at very little cost to you."
2. Create a list of trusted baby-sitters and nannies so you'll always have it on-hand. "Can one or two of your favorite date-night sitters fill in the gaps?," Bugbee said. "Start texting or calling them to see who is available -- and for how long. Even if someone can give you five hours of office time, it might help you get through an important meeting or presentation."
3. Log onto a care-finding site such as Care.com which can help you find -- and vet -- last-minute care. "As soon as your nanny lets you know she’s not feeling well, add a free job post explaining your need," Bugbee said. "If you’ve used the site before, some of your past job applicants or sitters you’ve lost touch with can be instantly texted through the site to see if they’re available. If you’re new to the site, you'll need to create a quick profile about your family -- and your urgent situation." Sitters and nannies in and around your ZIP code will get an email alert about your job post -- and start applying. "You can then run various background checks on your favorite applicants, interview them on the phone and call their references," she said. "Considering this might take a few hours of work, it’s a good option if your nanny thinks she could be out for a few days. I would also recommend working from home the first day a new caregiver starts. You want to help her get adjusted, allow your kids to transition comfortably and oversee some of her caregiving techniques."
4. Check with your child's preschool or school, they may have an early and afternoon program in which they offer extended care. "This could get you through 3 p.m.," she said. "Also see if there are any parent-friends you can lean on who might host a playdate with her child and yours for a few hours -- and you can return the favor on the weekend."
5. Take the day off from work. "The last option is unfortunately the most common -- and the hardest on your career," she said. "Talk with your spouse and try to figure out if you can share this burden. Can one of you work from home? Can a grandparent visit for a few days? Can you take turns taking the day off -- or working half-days? Create a patchwork plan and then hope your nanny or baby-sitter gets better soon."