Back Up Care is something that many times does not come to mind until you find yourself needing it for the first time. Likely you have a professional, punctual, and dependable nanny that you have come to rely on. For the working parents the custom in home care that a private nanny provides creates convenience and stability that you may not have with other forms of childcare. Even the most wonderful of nannies will require time off. If it is their vacation time, then of course this has been discussed and planned out ahead of time so that you are not scrambling at the last minute for childcare. Regular doctor and dentist appointments can also be scheduled with more notice in most cases. Keep in mind however that your nanny is human just like everyone else and sickness and emergencies will inevitably happen. The best option for handling these times is to have thought ahead and put a backup childcare plan in place. Nannies often try very hard to not call in as they know that it affects you and your job, yet there are sometimes when it is in everyone’s best interest to not have her come in. Let’s take a look at some of the situations that may arise requiring backup care.
If your nanny has a fever, flu, stomach bug, bronchitis, strep throat, sinus infection, or other such illnesses, these are reasons to let her stay home and get well. These types of sicknesses are not only highly contagious, but your nanny will be feeling too under the weather to be able to perform at her best. It is in her best interest to let her rest up as this helps her heal and avoids having the illness make the rounds through your family. It may seem like an inconvenience, but it is far better in the long run then everyone getting sick and you missing time from work for your own illness.
Other times to be understanding and willing to find back up care to cover for you nanny is in the event of an emergency. If she just lost a loved one, she likely will need some bereavement time and time to attend a funeral. A family crisis, accident or other type of unforeseen emergency that requires her immediate attention, and in the event that your nanny herself is in an accident. These are all situations that come up unplanned. It is important to be understanding the same way you would want your employers to treat you.
So how do you find back up care? It is a good idea to make up a list of people to call. Family members that live close by, trusted neighbors and friends. Let these people know that you are making a list and if they would be ok being on it as someone to reach out to when needed. Having a solid list will make it easier to find someone who is available. Perhaps you do not have local family and your list is short or very limited, what then? This is when it is a good idea to have a list of backup resources that you have already looked into.
www.nanny.org and www.theapna.org are both trusted resources that maintain member lists that you can search by state. There are also some online caregiver recruiting sites that offer backup care. www.eNannySource.com andwww.NannyPro.com are some of the these. One of the absolute best options is your local nanny agency, especially if you used them to secure your regular nanny. Many of them have nannies on standby that simply pick up work as needed and can come to your home while your nanny is out. If you work for a major cooperation speak to them about backup childcare resources. Many companies these days have backup childcare providers available and ready to send to you last minute often at a lower rate since it is part of the company’s package.
The Key is to be prepared by having a plan in place! It will make times like this much less stressful for both you and your nanny!