With the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers deemed essential are scrambling to find childcare amidst school and childcare closures throughout the U.S. But while these shelter in place orders have led to the closure of many existing daycares, they've also opened up some alternative options that may be workable for many parents. Learn more about your childcare choices during this pandemic.
Some home-based daycare networks are hard at work helping families navigate this crisis, whether this means opening up caregiving apps to match essential workers with providers or offering more flexible payment arrangements. If your current provider has closed its doors and you're in a position classified as "essential," it can be a good idea to browse a few different childcare apps for providers in your area just to see what's out there.
Private Babysitting Circles
With many daycare centers closed, affected parents have created private babysitting circles to exchange child care for other services and items. Depending on the circle's needs, you may be able to volunteer one day a week caring for other members of the circle's children or instead exchange food, crafting and school supplies, or other items for childcare. The flexibility afforded by these circles can be a tremendous benefit to families struggling to find reliable childcare in these turbulent times.
Even if you're unable to get a permanent slot at a local daycare or private childcare circle, you may be able to benefit from real-time scheduling that immediately alerts you to any daily openings at daycares in your area. This can allow you to take advantage of drop-in care so that you can work from home without interruptions or even go into your office a few days a week. Although this type of care doesn't allow you the liberty to do much pre-planning, it can be an ideal backup for times you find yourself overscheduled or in need of a break.
Online and On-Demand Services
Some daycare providers have gone online, providing lesson plans, singalongs, and other kid-friendly entertainment on a regular basis. Although working from home with children can be hectic, taking advantage of online or on-demand daycare can provide your child with a welcome (and educational) diversion, freeing up your time to focus on work for a few hours. These on-demand services can also include downloadable coloring books and workbooks to keep your child entertained even when screen time isn't an option.
For more information, reach out to a company like Lighthouse Academy.