8 ways to find back-up child care in a flash

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  Published on Wednesday, 21 March 2018

8 ways to find back-up child care in a flash

Library Home  >  Parenting & Family Life
  Published on Wednesday, 21 March 2018
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Sometimes the best-laid plans come unstuck. You're getting ready for work and your nanny calls in sick. Or your child wakes up with conjunctivitis and can't go to day care. What's a busy parent to do?

Well, help is at hand, because here are eight ways to organise child care at short notice. Phew.

1. Call your support network

Friends and family are a great place to start when you're looking for last-minute care. So, think about calling your parents or in-laws, knocking on the door of a trusted neighbour or seeing if a stay-at-home mum friend can lend a hand.

It doesn't hurt to ask, and even if they can only help out for a couple of hours, it will give you some breathing space to organise care for the remainder of the day.

A reciprocal arrangement may also work, where you and a friend take turns providing each other with flexible child care.

2. Work from home

Depending on your job, you may be able to provide the back-up care yourself by working from home for a part or full day. So, speak to your boss about how you can fulfil your duties as an employee and parent.

3. Use your leave

Another option is to take a day or two of annual leave, or use your carer's leave. Carer's leave lets you take time off work to care for your ill child, and it's taken out of your sick leave balance.

Full-time employees are entitled to 10 days of paid sick and carer's leave each year, and part-time employees get a pro rata portion of that entitlement. All employees, including casual employees, can take two days of unpaid carer's leave each time their child is sick (although full- and part-time employees must use up all their paid carer's leave first).

So, speak to your HR department about what leave you have available.

4. Split the care with your partner

It's not always feasible to take a whole day off work to care for your child, but a half-day may be do-able. Look into the possibility of one parent working in the morning and the other parent working in the afternoon to share the child care load.

And if you need child care for a few days, you and your partner could take alternate days off to look after your little one.

5. Share a nanny

If your nanny has called in sick, but your child is fit as a fiddle, then you might be able to share a friend's nanny for the day. Just check if they're happy to look after an extra child.

6. Search the CareforKids website

To make things very easy, our online babysitting service offers child care across Australia and caters for emergency care situations. You can book same-day care up to 2pm or four hours prior, so hop online and find a babysitter that suits.

7. Book casual care in a long day care centre

If your care falls through due to something other than a sick child, you might like to try booking a casual spot in a long day care centre in your area. This increasingly popular and very flexible form of care offers parents in a bind the opportunity to book sessional care on an as-needs basis.

For example, Oac Flexi offers currently enrolled and new families the opportunity to book a full day, morning or afternoon session at short notice. While their children with casual bookings have the chance to enjoy all the same advantages and learning experiences offered to permanently enrolled children.

8. And last, but not least, prepare for the unexpected

It's a great idea to devise a back-up child care plan well before you need it. This could involve asking your usual care-giver to recommend someone who can cover for them or asking a friend if they’re happy to provide emergency care.

After all, if you want to take the stress out of sick days, it pays to think ahead.

This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Thursday, 06 February 2020

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