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Readers Respond: Best Emergency Child Care Solutions

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Emergency child care solutions can be hard to come by, especially if you're an only parent with no family nearby. Find out what other parents have done when they've needed emergency child care at the last minute, or share a solution that has worked for you.

Note: If you have a question, please visit the Single Parents' Forum, where you can interact with other single moms and dads.

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Daycare by the Hour

I have never used them myself, but I have a good friend who uses a place near us called "Adventure Kids." It's basically a big playland where kids can play and do activities, and parents pay by the hour. To the kids, it seems more like a treat than daycare. In our case, "Adventure Kids" is in a really nice part of town and has lots of big windows so you can see in and watch what kids are doing if you want. She has taken her kids there several times when she was in a pickle, and her kids are always begging to go back.
—Guest CJmom

Create a Network

You never realize how important it is to have a network of neighborhood moms you can count on until you need help. Get contact information for several other parents you trust and be sure to always have it on hand, just in case.
—Guest SaKat

Find a Surrogate Grandparent

There are a lot of grandmothers around who live far away from their own grandchildren. There are other older women who long for grandchildren but don't have any. Women who fall into these categories are often happy to have surrogate grandchildren. Look for the grandmotherly types in the neighborhood or at church who always seem to be making a fuss over your kids. Get to know them well, and you may be rewarded with willing emergency babysitters. Of course, you should always offer to pay. There may be some grandfathers who would qualify for surrogate grandparent status as well, but the surrogate grandparents I've known have always been women.
—Guest Siouxsie

Get to Know Your Neighbors

My family lives 300+ miles away. I've gotten to know my neighbors just through idle chit-chat. I have three sets of neighbors I trust in a pinch. My favorite family in the neighborhood is a retired husband and wife. They raised 5 kids and treat my kids as their own grandchildren. They buy them birthday and Christmas presents and always tell me to call them if I need anything -- even from the grocery store. You never know who's out there to help you with your kids ... maybe even a few footsteps away from your own front door!
—Guest MomOfBoys

Lean on Your Neighbors

Get to know your neighbors. All single moms should have their neighbors looking out for them (and vice versa) anyway, but there is always a grandmother or stay-at-home parent you can nurture a relationship with. When that emergency comes, neighbors are usually happy to oblige if the privilege is not abused. Also be sure you return the favor. I always cooked a full meal or baked a large carrot cake for my retired next-door neighbor and her husband when they would watch my son. In the summer I offered them first pick of garden goodies in return. They never let me actually pay them with cash, though I always offered. There is another single mom down the street and I watch her daughter when she runs to the store sometimes. I haven't asked her to help in an emergency (yet) but I know I'd be able to when the time comes.
—Guest Stephanie

I Just Call My Mom!

I'm really fortunate to have my mom nearby. She's retired, and she's usually more than happy to take care of my kids if they're sick.
—Guest Sarah H.

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Best Emergency Child Care Solutions

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