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10 Backup Providers for Single Parents

Backup Child Care Solutions When You Absolutely Cannot Stay Home

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That your children will be sick occasionally is inevitable. And, unfortunately, you won't always be able to take off from work. So when you find yourself having to search for last-minute backup providers, consider the following options:

1. Your Co-Parent

If you parent collaboratively with your ex, he or she should be the first person you think of asking. Sure, taking off from work might be just as difficult for your co-parent as it is for you, but sharing the responsibility and the inconvenience is part of parenting together. Even if history tells you the answer will be no, present the opportunity. You might be pleasantly surprised.

2. Grandparents

If your parents live nearby, ask them to step in for the day. Many grandparents would love to drop what they're doing and spend the day caring for their grandchildren, especially when they're not feeling well and need a little extra TLC.

3. Aunts and Uncles

Even if your siblings work, it's possible that they have more flex-time opportunities or accumulated personal time than you do, and would happy to help out.

4. Friends

Friends are another great resource when you're in need of backup providers. And, again, they may happen to have more "use it or lose it" personal time than you do, and would be more than willing to step in and help. Also, don't make the mistake of disregarding friends who don't have kids, or whose children are grown. If they are people you trust, and you know they care about your kids and are capable, responsible adults, ask them to help you out.

5. Past Babysitters

Run through the list of all the people who have cared for your children in the past, including official daycare providers and babysitters. Might any of them be willing to care for your kids temporarily? The benefit to you is that these would be individuals who already know your children, and with whom you are already comfortable.

6. Neighbors

Count your neighbors among your list of potential backup providers, too. Again, they already know your kids, and even if you aren't close with them, you probably have a pretty good sense of how they relate to your kids, and to their own children, if they have any.

7. Other Parents

Make a list of all the parents you know from your child's school or extracurricular activities. Then, consider which ones you know well enough to include on your list of potential backup providers. For example, maybe there is a parent whose parenting style is pretty similar to yours, or who has had your child over recently for a play date. Asking for their help may be outside of your comfort zone, but it might also spark the beginning of a mutual friendship.

8. Another Single Parent

Is there another single mom or dad you know from your single parent support group, or from your neighborhood or your child's school, who works different hours than you do? Consider whether the two of you might be able to make arrangements to serve as one another's backup providers when the need arises.

9. Day Care for Sick Children

Believe it or not, there are actually child care centers set up just for sick children. To find one in your area, contact the National Association of Sick Child Day Care.

10. A Coworker Whose Kids Are Also Sick

Consider whether there is anyone you work with whose kids are also sick. Perhaps the two of you can take turns taking time off and helping one another out.

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